Watch for frequent updates!

Yale 62

Christopher Lee ‘Kit’ Kincade
Kip Kincade14 February 2023

Christopher Lee Kincade, 82, passed away on February 14, 2023, after a brief battle with Covid and a longer fight with dementia. In his professional and volunteer career, Christopher, known as Kit, was the Kentucky bureau chief for the Associated Press, publisher of the Voice newspapers, a financial planner with the Kentucky Financial Group, and the key architect for an 11-acre park system in Louisville’s East End.

Born in Lakeview, OH on October 19, 1940, Kit spent most of his formative years in nearby Hudson, where he graduated from Western Reserve Academy in 1958. Originally in the Yale class of 1962, he took two years to serve in post-war Korea, as a member of the 10th cavalry, taking special pride, as an avid historian, that his unit was the famed Buffalo Soldiers regiment that helped integrate the US Army.

He graduated from Yale in 1964, a year after marrying the love of his life, Joan Frances Patt, a Vassar grad who’d also grown up in the greater Cleveland area. The daughter of a radio and TV entrepreneur, Joan received her MA at Yale as Kit finished his senior year. Once he graduated, the newlyweds moved to New York City, where the fledgling reporter began his career with The New York World Telegram and his daughter Laura was born. After signing on with the Associated Press, he moved to Detroit, where his son Christopher Lee Junior was born, then Dallas, before arriving in Louisville in 1972, as chief of the AP’s Kentucky bureau. A year later, his youngest son Andrew was born.

Next came a stint as the publisher of the Voice newspapers, five local weekly newspapers he and his partner sold to Scripps Howard before he’d turned 40. After he got sober, he was diagnosed with adult onset Type-1 diabetes and he went in a new direction, ultimately becoming a financial planner with Kentucky Financial Group, where he introduced new investment vehicles for teachers.

The latter part of his life was dedicated to service and learning; he volunteered as a lector for Saint Matthews Episcopal Church, sponsored for AA, introduced young Yale students to the Elkhorn River for the Bulldogs in the Bluegrass program, organized and walked door-to-door for the Democratic party, tutored for the Portland school system, supported the NAACP and other Black organizations, marched for peace with Veterans for Progress, joined the church reading group at Saint Matthews Episcopal church, attended continuous education classes in botany, Afro-American studies and women’s history.

He is survived by his wife, Joan, his three children Andrew, Chris and Laura, and six grandchildren, Isabel, Mia, Alex, Penelope, Renny and Theo.

Memories of Kit

When I began at Western Reserve Academy, my sophomore year, the class had already formed its alliances, hostilities (not many) but there was, typical of the 50s, great store on athletic prowess, less on intellectual or artistic interests. Kit was one person who seemed to transcend any boundaries. Although never elected class officer, his boundless energy and enthusiasm and friendliness got him a degree of acceptance which years later I realized and admired. We were in English class together and he seemed to accept me, despite my loud-mouthed arrogance (speaking out in class without raising my hand) and we somehow hit it off. We were both in the glee club and when I sang a chapel solo our first week, my voice still a robust alto, Kit seemed to admire it, and did not take part in the merciless kidding I was subjected to, which triggered my defensiveness. I’d just grown 5 or 6 inches which meant any athletic ambitions were unrealizable. Kit and I played soccer together – he was a great basher, and we began to work on the school newspaper, the Reserve Record. I can still hear his voice calling “Stewart!” The fashion which we were at some pains to overcome when we arrived at Yale was to use surnames. Kit was a day boy whose home bordered the campus, and senior year I was sneak out of Wood House where I was a prefect and visit him and smoke, strictly forbidden! We also double-dated. Kit seemed to be much more sophisticated with girls than I, which was confirmed when he was anointed in the yearbook “most popular with the opposite sex,” although I now suspect he just was more confident about everything. Certainly, in our discussion group Mugwump meetings with girls from the Laurel School he was uninhibited and highly articulate. We alternated weeks as managing editor of the Record and put the yearbook together in a big hurry towards the end of senior year. I just had a look at it – many happy memories. Each classmate had his own formal and informal photograph. Kit’s showed him ripping his shirt open to reveal a giant R with the caption: Shazaam!

First semester in New Haven we roomed together. I was totally lost; having been to boarding school from fifth grade with every day, being told when to rise, to eat, to go to class and study hall, to do sports, suddenly there was no exterior armature and I could not get myself up for breakfast before my six 8 o’clock classes, nor even bother to attend some of them. Kit seemed to have landed on his feet academically, and we did collaborate on a semester project for Geology, squabbling over who would do what part, but somehow getting it submitted for a passing grade. At the end of the first semester, Kit decided to switch roommates – I moved across the hall and Kit finished out the year with Frank Wanning, with whom I roomed the next year. Second year Kit lived right across the street in Silliman when I was in TD. We saw a lot of each other. Kit had three great roommates: Stef Graae, cox on the varsity crew who became a Superior Court judge in Washington, Willy Wheeler, a painter who had 15 minutes of fame for the Wheeler Ranch in northern California, a great counterculture center, and Eddy Freeman, our class poet, killed in a plane crash in South America shortly after graduation. We were entranced by the Beatnik poets, and I remember an evening in New Haven with Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsberg. We joined them sartorially in Levis, boots and lumberjack shirts. Remember this was the fall of ’59 and jeans were not widespread on campus. Eddy was going down to NYC to read poetry and bring back pot, also in those distant times not heard-of on campus. First semester sophomore year I was still lost, cutting class and meals. (Arguably, my singing group activity was what got me eventually grounded enough to graduate.) Kit spend a lot of time with one of my roommates, now lost somehow, and drinking out of those leather Spanish botas ruined many shirts.

Kit left after that year, and I reconnected with him in the spring of ’64 as he was about to graduate, already very happily married with Joan. My work kept me traveling a lot and so Kit and I knew where we were but did not meet again face-to-face until the early ’70s when I sang with the Louisville Symphony. It was a genuine rekindling of our friendship, and we remained in closer touch. Midway between St. Louis and Louisville lies the lovely and historical river town, New Harmony, where we saw Kit and Joan twice. The first visit included Peter Garrett, who in our senior year at WRA had played Hamlet to Kit’s Horatio and my Laertes. Joan had invited us to surprise Kit for the second visit, to celebrate his birthday, perhaps the 65th. I will always remember the pleased look on Kit’s face when we walked into their room. I remember a dinner on the upper West Side of New York, with our daughters on their way to college, my Barbi to Mt. Holyoke and his Laura to Yale. After I retired and moved to the east coast, the Kincade family visited here, and we had a couple of great visits in Louisville. Kit and Joan were wonderful hosts – we went to the theater and talked and talked. Old friends are the best friends and I’m very sad to have lost Kit. But what remains are many stories of somewhat disordered and crazy adventures which I’d rather relate than write about.

— John Harger Stewart