Community mourns death of Fair Board vice president

John Marcel Chittenden -
John Marcel Chittenden
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A major void was left on the Kitsap County Fair Board this week with the untimely death of vice president John Chittenden.

Chittenden, who died of a heart attack Sunday in Bremerton, was 60 years old.

Those who worked with Chittenden remember him fondly and recall his many years of community service.

“He loved the Fair,” explained Jim Rye, fellow Fair Board member. “He put in numerous hours out there. He was part of the Fair Board team and a big part. He will be missed.”

Chittenden was on the board for six years, serving as president in 2005 and 2006.

“It’s going to be kind of different walking into the Presidents’ Hall and looking for John and knowing he won’t be there. He will be sadly missed,” Rye said.

Fair Board President Doug Dillon worked with Chittenden on the board for the past six years and became close friends.

“If somebody had a problem he would try to solve it, he would never disagree with anyone,” Dillon explained. “We called him marshmallow. If a vendor wanted to move (places at the Fair) he would cave into them. He was liked by everybody ... He was the best president we’ve ever had. He will be missed deeply. It will be hard to fill that void.”

Dillon couldn’t recall Chittenden having any past heart problems. He talked with Chittenden last Friday and he mentioned he was going to the doctor for a checkup.

“All of a sudden Sunday that was it,” Dillon said. “He was a great man. I miss him so much already it’s unbelievable.”

When Chittenden wasn’t serving on the Fair Board, he was involved with several community organizations including the Kitsap Rodeo Cowpokes, U.S. Navy League, Disabled American Veterans, Bremerton Yacht Club and Washington Athletic Club.

He also was the driving force behind the Dance For a Wish event which raises funds for school scholarships for local youth.

“He made that happen,” Dillon said. “He did so many great things.”

Lauran Erickson, Fair and special events manager, also worked closely with Chittenden.

“He was a very gracious, generous, kind individual who loved the Fair and serving the community,” she said. “He was great to work with.”

Collette Jones, one of Chittenden’s six nieces and nephews, had a close bond with her uncle.

“He was like a father to me,” she said. “He was always looking out for everyone else. He took care of the family. He was the rock in the family.”

Like many who knew him, she recalled his dedication to serving others.

“He was a big part of the community,” she said. “He was a very generous and giving man.”

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