William E. "Bill" Litts died Oct. 23, 2017, in Denver, Colo. He was 91.
Bill was born Sept. 8, 1926, the son of Kenneth Kepler Litts and Inez Bebee Litts, in Mount Vernon, Iowa. Through his father's side of the family, Bill was a descendent of Conrad and Peter Kepler, who were among the first pioneer families of Mount Vernon.
He grew up living over the family grocery store on Mount Vernon's Main Street, and graduated from Mount Vernon High School in 1942. Bill had a beautiful singing voice. He entered Cornell College in Mount Vernon to study music. He was encouraged to pursue his voice training in New York City, which he did for some time.
He entered the Navy in 1944 and served on a ship outside of San Diego. After the war, he returned to Cornell College in Mount Vernon and graduated with his business administration degree in 1949. Bill chose to continue with his artistic gifts by giving many local performances. He was particularly known for his singing of the Lord's Prayer at the Methodist Church.
In 1951, Bill married Elna Marie Ostergaard of Mount Vernon. They had one child, Cindy Joy Litts, who was born in 1952. Bill and Elna later divorced, but remained close friends until her death in October 1983.
Bill moved from Mount Vernon in the late 1950s and joined Jockey Menswear International Co. in 1960. He worked at Jockey International as a sales manager for over 30 years. Upon his retirement, Bill was given his company's accolade as "The Quintessential Jockey Man."
Bill spent the majority of his career years in Louisville, Ky. Bill put down his roots there, and he and his partner, George William "Bill" Childers, had many wonderful years. They both had a wonderful circle of friends and were known for their elegant Kentucky Derby parties. Bill Childers passed away in 1990.
Bill had a long, full retirement and continued to live in his beloved townhouse on Cherokee Road in Louisville, Ky., until 2009, when he moved to Denver, Colo., to be near his daughter. He was fondly known to his neighbors and friends as the Mayor of Cherokee Road.
Bill was truly loved by the staff at Cedars Healthcare Center, where he resided for almost eight years. He peacefully passed and was held closely by many who loved him. As per his request, there is no funeral and his remains were cremated. There will be many memorials and great memories. There was no one who loved a party more than Bill Litts.
Survivors are his daughter, Cindy Joy Litts, Denver, Colo.; his sister, Joy Litts Gaarde of Cottage Grove Place in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Paradise Valley, Ariz.; his niece, Sara Gaarde, and her husband, Richard Hileman; and his grandniece, Catherine Schierbrock (Bill), and children, Harrison and Caroline, of Davenport, Iowa.
Posted on Sunday, 5 November 2017