Late senator's grandchild recalls her `great teacher'

September 26, 2004

Haley Kittleman, 12, is one of 10 grandchildren of the late state Sen. Robert H. Kittleman. She lives with her father, Allan, and mother, Robin, her sister, Mary, and brothers, Robby and James, on the family farm in West Friendship. She delivered these remarks at a memorial service Tuesday for Robert Kittleman at Glenelg High School:

Grandpa was an extraordinary man. He did so many things. He taught me how to play the clarinet. Grandpa would come over every day to help me practice. Instead of paying him, he paid us. He even was my piano accompanist for the Solo and Ensemble Festival. He walked into the room with me to get judged. We started to play, but Grandpa made a mistake. He said out loud, "Oh, damn!" I was having so much trouble playing because I was ready to burst out laughing. The judge told us to try the piece again, and so we did. From that point on both Grandpa and I did great. I will always remember that day. He was my first and best clarinet teacher.

Grandpa also took me on rides on his four-wheeler around the farm. He would point out all the different types of plants. He would even quiz me and say, "Haley, what kind of oak is that?" At one point I could walk around the farm and point out almost every single plant.

He also taught me how to make a layup in basketball. Even though he was in his 70s, he could make all of his shots. After practicing the clarinet, we would go outside and shoot some baskets. He made me do layups over and over again until I made every one. Thanks to him, I can make layups while playing during my games.

Grandpa was a great teacher.

A few days after he died, I had to write a short paragraph in school about an individual. I knew exactly who I would write about. I was so proud of it, I read it in front of the class. This is what I wrote.

My grandfather, Bob Kittleman, is an individual. He did some things that were very unpopular. During the times of segregation, he helped the African-Americans. He was even the first white person to join the Howard County NAACP. He helped them even though most people didn't think he should. My grandfather also had many great ties. Everyone loved them because they were so colorful. One tie, which is one of my favorites, has a Pablo Picasso painting on it. He didn't care what his clothes looked like or what people thought of them. My grandfather is definitely an individual.

Thank you.

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