Bay educator Robert Kitzerow recognized by Bay High Class of 1960

Family members and former students of Bay educator Robert Kitzerow gathered July 6 for a walkway dedication in his honor. Pictured are: (first row) Joey Hoelscher, Jackie Kitzerow, Leslie Kitzerow, Josh Hoelscher; (middle row) Jackie White Day, Gerry Reese Juergens, Carol Blakeslee Cole, Marie Skiba Maxwell; (back row) Chuck Downs, Jess Juergens, Al Nelson, Larry Chamberlain, Gaye Rule,
Denny White, Annabel White, Marge Widmar, Doug Day.

On Saturday, July 6, the walkway on the south side of Bay Middle School was dedicated “Robert Kitzerow Way.” The dedication was attended by Mr. Kitzerow’s daughters, Jackie and Leslie, and two grandsons, Joey and Josh Hoelscher. 

Mr. Kitzerow, fondly known as “Kitz,” taught mathematics, sociology, algebra, and trigonometry at Bay High School. He was also a popular varsity track and football coach. When he retired from the Bay Village City School District in 1979, Mr. Kitzerow was the well-respected principal of Bay Middle School.

Bay High graduate Denny White, who led the dedication, was inspired by Buzz Van Almen, his classmate and close friend of Mr. Kitzerow, to solicit his class of 1960 to sponsor the creation of signage for the walkway to commemorate the popular Bay Village educator. He also presented the request for approval of the project to the Bay Village Board of Education.

The walkway traverses on the south side of the school from Cahoon Road sidewalk, goes west and curves south to the West Oakland sidewalk. The walkway will be marked with a “Robert Kitzerow Way” sign at each end, which is fitting in that the walk traverses an area that was once the original Bay High football field and track.

Also attending the dedication were some former students and faculty. Bay graduates who did not attend sent tributes via Facebook. Caroline King Taylor recalled, “We thought he was the greatest, especially when he’d steal our French fries at lunch!” Judy Kelly Krueger said, “He was one of those wonderful educators who touch lives in so many ways. … He was happiest when he was teaching but was a great administrator, too. Glad he is being honored.”

As principal of Bay Middle School, Mr. Kitzerow greeted students each morning at the main entrance and students were well aware that upon entering, they needed to remove their caps. He knew each student by name. Often, teachers would look up across their classroom and see Mr. Kitzerow sitting at one of the desks or tables. He would help install student art shows in the cafeteria, climbing ladders to hang mobiles from the ceiling.

When observed talking with a faculty member in the hallway, most often, the faculty member would be smiling. “Kitz” had a special way with students and faculty. And, we understand, it was similar with other administrators and members of the Board of Education. When asked to accomplish a task, we heard his response was always, “no problem.”

Prior to his career in education, Mr. Kitzerow served in the U.S. Army as a Master Sergeant in World War II under General George Patton’s 3rd Army as tank commander and half-track machine gunner. He also served in the Korean War. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 91.

Marge Widmar

Westlake Resident; President, Westlake-Westshore Arts Council

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Volume 5, Issue 15, Posted 9:53 AM, 07.23.2013