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Mark W. Kitchin

Uncasville –Mark Wayne Kitchin, 82, on-air radio personality in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Kentucky for over 40 years, died September 29, 2023 at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital.

Mark was a funny, creative, and gentle man. A storyteller possessed of a dry wit, he had an encyclopedic knowledge of country and popular music of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. He could tell you not only who wrote a classic hit, but also who first recorded it, who took it to the Billboard charts, all about their lives, and even what label the song was recorded on. These attributes made him a popular radio host.

A native of South County Rhode Island, where his family worked in the textile mills, Mark grew up in Usquepaug. His first job was at nearby Peter Pot’s Pottery. Mark worked in the mills himself until realizing his childhood dream of being on the radio. He enrolled in the Columbia School of Broadcasting, got his radio license, and landed his first radio job at WURI, the University of Rhode Island station.

During the 1960s, Mark played bass and sang baritone for the Twin River Boys, a New England-based bluegrass band that recorded and toured nationally.

He launched his radio career in Eastern Kentucky coal country when he took an on-air job in 1968 for WPKT in Prestonsburg, later moving to WNVL in Nicholasville. He claimed Kentucky was where he first smelled the aroma of burnt coffee, common in every other radio station where he ever worked.

Mark returned to his home state in 1974, working early mornings for WPRO-FM in Providence. During the 1970s, Mark did primetime air shifts in Providence at WHIM, WJAR, WICE, WEAN, and WGNG.

Mark joined Hall Communications at their Norwich, Connecticut location in 1984. Considered the consummate professional by his radio colleagues, he worked at every local Hall station, starting with WCTY-FM. After over a decade with WCTY, he moved to mornings on WNLC-FM. He was the morning show host for WICH 1310 AM for 15 years before retiring in 2015 after a 31-year career with Hall.

Mark took up stand up comedy during retirement, entertaining at comedy clubs and open mics around Southern New England, and even doing a few sets in New York City and San Francisco. He liked comedy, he said, because you can hear the audience laughter, feedback you can’t enjoy on the radio.

He put together a program, “Old Songs and Stories,” which he performed for senior centers, nursing homes, and assisted living centers pre-COVID. He also enjoyed singing his favorite karaoke tunes around the Norwich-New London area.

Mark was the son of the late Ida Bell Kitchin of Richmond, RI. He leaves four children: Donna Lee Kelly of Yuma, AZ; Mary A. Sampson of Shelton, CT; Mark W. Kitchin, Jr. of North Kingstown, RI, and Brittany O. Kitchin of Vero Beach, Fl. He is survived by four grandchildren; Joshua, Daniel and Timothy Sampson of Shelton, CT and Lauren Kitchin of North Kingstown, RI; and one great grandson, Braydin William Kitchin of North Kingstown, RI. His grandson, William Joseph Kitchin, of North Kingstown, RI predeceased him. He was married to Patricia Senior Kitchin, North Kingstown, RI and subsequently to Colleen O’Brien Kitchin, Sterling, CT. He leaves his companion of recent years, Mary Alice Smith of Newport, RI.

There are no calling hours. A service in his memory will be held at a future date.

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