An Extraordinary Life
Roy Ambrose Kite Jr. passed away on October 23, 2010. He was 89. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Linda Roberts Kite, and his sons, Roy A. Kite III MD, William Blair Kite, Robert Henry Kite and his grandchildren Roy A. Kite IV and Elizabeth Anne Kite. Born February 15, 1921, Roy was a star member of “The Greatest Generation.”
He grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, lived as a teen through the Great Depression, and flew B-17s in harm’s way during WWII. He flew missions in the infamous Ploesti Oil Field raids and was part of the first Allied landing in Tokyo after the Japanese surrender. He became a widely respected structural engineer, building the first of the large high-rise buildings in major Western cities. His work for nearly 30 years as the leader of the Henry C. Beck western division is still visible in Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Lincoln, and other Midwest cities where he helped shape skylines. In Phoenix, he built the Guaranty Bank Building in a record-setting nine months. Upon completion, it was the tallest building west of Dallas at the time. One of his proudest accomplishments in Phoenix was simultaneously building the Valley Bank, the Arizona Bank, and the First National Bank, all then business rivals. He was a visionary in the field and his advice was sought long after his active career. He served on the board of directors of Bankers Life Insurance Company, Chase Bank, and many other local Phoenix boards. Friends and coworkers universally use the word “integrity” to describe Roy. Fair play was his credo. A handshake was a contract. His life was and is an inspiration. A private family service was Roy’s request. A memorial celebration of his life will be announced later.
Roy was always a lot more comfortable with the giving rather than the receiving side of generosity. His family requests his many friends and admirers to express their condolences in the practical manner in which Roy lived his life and consider offering a donation to the Roy A. Kite Jr Foundation that his family has established in his name. These funds will be utilized to support and expand basic humanitarian medical health care initiatives for many good people in the Himalayas of Nepal and north India where members of Roy’s family have traveled, live and work to provide for and protect others in the same unselfish way that Roy did for so many for so long.