Thomas R. Kitterman

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CMSgt Thomas “Tom” Ray Kitterman, USAF Ret., age 74, died Oct. 4, 2020, with his family by his side.

Tom was born on a farm outside of Volga in northeast Iowa. In 1963, at the age of 17, he joined the Air Force and served until 1989, for a total of 26 years, four months and two days, as he proudly told anyone who asked. During his years of service, Tom had seven permanent duty stations and three short tours, including stations in Germany, Korea and Vietnam.

He married Diana Ivey on Jan. 18, 1969, in Burkburnett, Texas. They loved the military life, being stationed on different bases, meeting new people and going on adventures together. His favorite adventure began in 1974 with the birth of their son Chris. Tom’s family was his number one priority and he loved them dearly. During their 50 years together, Tom and Diana lived in seven different states but explored 34 states. Tom had great stories about his time in the military, about traveling around the United States in an RV for work and about his wife cutting the tail off a rattlesnake.

If you asked Tom what he did in the Air Force and after, he told you he was “just a helicopter mechanic;” the truth is, Tom was so much more. He served his country, keeping his military brothers safe in the air. After retirement from the Air Force, he went on to work for several air medical companies, ensuring the safety of flight teams around the country, and he helped develop the flight programs for one of the largest rural health systems in the U.S. In 2019, Tom was awarded the prestigious Charles Taylor Award for 50 years of safe aircraft maintenance.

After retiring for the second time, he spent his remaining years doing what he did best: loving his wife and family. He loved his reputation of being a grumpy old man and laughed whenever he was called out on it. In truth, he had one of the biggest hearts around and would do anything for anyone. He lost his wife Diana in March of 2019, two months after their 50th wedding anniversary. He loved her more than anything and they are the true definition of “until death do us part.” It is fitting that he passed on her birthday. He is the best present she could have asked for and she is all he ever wanted. As much as we miss them both, there is comfort in knowing they are together and having new adventures.

Tom will be greatly missed by his puppy Ally, his friends in Sioux Falls and around the neighborhood, the many friends he has made during his travels over the years and his coffee gang at Active Generations. He will be missed the most by his family, as he took a part of our hearts with him.

CMSgt Kitterman is survived by his son: Chris Kitterman, daughter-in-law and friend Emily, sisters Lois Gage, Lora (Jeep) Kitterman and Barb Kitterman, nephew David (Carolyn) Gage, grandson Tom and his fluffy, white dog Ally.

Tom was preceded in death by the love of his life, his wife Diana, and his parents, Marjorie and Francis Kitterman. 

The family is planning private services at a later date.

For obituary and online registry, please go to

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