Headstones at Arlington National Cemetery
Archive photo

Retired Sgt. 1st Class Robert K. Hitt

Retired Sgt. 1st Class Robert K. Hitt, 72, formerly of Topeka, Kansas, passed away Thursday, Sept 24, 2020, at Liberty Hospital, Liberty, Missouri.

Robert Kenneth Hitt was born Oct. 10, 1947, in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Reagan and Marie Jeanette (Smith) Hitt. He lived his early years in Dallas, Texas. He attended Bryan Adams High School, and was active in the R.O.T.C. all four years. Two weeks after graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Army and completed basic training at Fort Polk Louisiana.

After Advanced Individual Training at Fort Ord, California, he deployed to Germany in November 1966.

After a long winter, he decided it was too cold for a Texas Cowboy and requested reassignment to Vietnam. In July of 1967, he arrived at the U.S. Military Assistance Command, where he worked to train support and assist a Vietnamese infantry unit. He returned stateside in 1969, stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, before attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning Georgia.

After assignments to Fort Walters, Texas, and Fort Rucker, Alabama, he was assigned to Fort Riley in July 1971. He remained on active duty status there until a force reduction in October 1973. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve from then until 1974. In September 1975, he went full time with the Kansas Air National Guard at Forbes Field, Topeka. In June of 1986, he transitioned to his full-time role with the Kansas Army National Guard, serving with the 1st Battalion, 127th Field Artillery out of Ottawa before retiring in October 2007. Robert’s total years of service were 39 years, nine months, 22 days. The next day, he returned to his office as a civilian contractor, where he remained until his final retirement in 2012.

Robert was joined in marriage to Julie Jane Vandyke on March 17, 1973, in Wichita. They most recently lived in Topeka before moving this summer to be closer to their work in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Temple in Kansas City.

Robert was an extraordinary husband, father, brother, son, uncle, grandfather and great grandfather. Together with his eternal love Julie, and through his priesthood authority, he presided over his family with love and a generous amount of undeserved patience.

They had four daughters, Crystal Peterson (Randall) of Olathe, Amy Heckman (Cody) of Burlingame, Darlene Moyer (John) of Corning, and Karen Hitt of Lenexa; four sons, Erik Hitt (Cara) of Pasco, Washington; Travis Hitt of Emporia; Jeremy Hitt (Pandora) of Burlingame and Shawn Hitt (Juell) of Burlingame; a sister Joyce Higginbotham of New Port Richey, Florida; two brothers, his identical twin brother Ronald Hitt of Garland, Texas, and Thomas Hitt of Forney, Texas

Robert was preceded in death by his parents.

Proudly embracing the moniker of “Grumpy” bestowed by his 27 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, he leaves an enduring legacy of a life lived with the mindset of work hard, serve well, love freely and never give up. He will be greatly missed by all who were blessed to know him in the 72 years of his earthly life. A true American patriot, a 40-year military veteran and high priest in his church, he lived a life of faithful service to his fellow man and his heavenly father who has now called him home.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 2, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints- Saints Stake Center, 2401 SW Kingsrow Rd, Topeka. Military graveside honors will follow the service at 12 p.m. at Burlingame Community Cemetery, Highway 56, Burlingame.

The family will receive visitors Thursday, Oct. 1, from 6-8 p.m. at the VanArsdale Funeral Chapel, 107 N. Sixth, Osage City, Kansas.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Robert K Hitt Memorial fund and sent in care of VanArsdale Funeral Chapel, 107 N. Sixth, Osage City, KS 66523. Condolences may be expressed at https://www.vanarsdalefs.com/obituaries/Robert-Kenneth-Hitt?obId=18458638#/celebrationWall