Dick Meckem Chitty

Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2008

Former Juneau resident Dick Meckem Chitty died May 8, 2008, in Anacortes, Wash., after a year's battle with small-cell lung cancer. He was 77.

He was born Nov. 12, 1930, on a farm outside of Crawford, Neb., to Merrill and Katherine (Meckem) Chitty. He started school in Nebraska, but due to the Depression, his family moved to Dubois, Wyo., where his parents found work.

In 1941, before the war started, his father went to Anchorage to work on the construction of Fort Richardson. In the spring 1941, he arrived with his mother and brother in Anchorage, where he attended school and graduated in 1947. He attended the University of Alaksa Fairbanks for one year, then transferred to the University of New Mexico.

He was briefly married in 1951 and had two children.

During a break in his education, he went to work for the Territorial Highway Department. While working on a project in Ketchikan in 1956, he met his future wife at the bowling alley in the Elks Club. They were married in November 1957.

When the Territorial Highway Department became the State Highway Department, he became involved in the Right of Way Division and was transferred to Juneau in 1960.

Oil exploration was expanding at Prudhoe Bay, and equipment needed to get to the state. As chief Right of Way agent, he worked to get approval for the haul road.

When his hobby moved to aviation, he and two others bought a Cessna 210 airplane. But his favorite flying was in a Beaver on floats for the Civil Air Patrol doing search and rescue work.

His job changed to deputy commissioner of the Department of Transportation. In 1983, he retired, settling in Anacortes.

He worked with the Lions Club in Juneau and the Sunriser Kiwanis Club in Anacortes. He also belonged to the Masonic Lodge in Juneau, Pioneers of Alaska, Alaska/Yukon Pioneers, Anacordes Elks Club, Fidalgo Yacht Club, the Sunrisers Golf Club and the Tuesday morning Methodist Mens Club. He was a former member of the Anochords and the Coyote Barbershop Chorus in Tucson, Ariz.

He also loved to read and bowl. He lived the life he loved, they said.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and brothers, Don Chitty, of Anchorage, and George Chitty, of Dubois, Wyo.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Diane Chitty; son, Mike Chitty and wife, Konnie, of Juneau; grandchildren, Casey and Cole Chitty, of Portland, Ore.; daughter, Dawn Kasiah, of Seattle; brother-in-law, Terry Hannum and wife, Nancy, of Denver, Colo.

Services were held on May 12 at the Anacortes Methodist Church.

Memorials in his name may be made to the Anacortes Methodist Church or Skagit County Hospice. The family may be contacted at 1904 Creekside Place, Anacortes, WA 98221.

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