Amy Elizabeth Kittinger was born September 16th, 1970 in Tacoma, WA. To Buddy and Wendy Strange. Amy grew up in Naselle, WA and graduated from Naselle High School, a small town across the Columbia River from Astoria Oregon. Amy and her younger brother Joel shared a strong bond. They would make up all sorts of “Safe” country games, like trying to hold on to the back of a Trail 90 until you were thrown off. Amy held her friends close and fiercely loved and protected her family. If you were Family or in her circle, Amy would have your back in a way that was special. Of course, Her expectation was that this was a two-way street. Amy was never uncomfortable expressing her disappointment if you hadn’t kept up your end of a deal or didn’t “just do what you said you were going to do”. Amy graduated from WWU in Bellingham with her accounting degree in 1993. She briefly returned to her parent’s home in Naselle to study for her CPA’s exam and did some of her best exam prep work at Hunter’s Inn Tavern, which Amy referred to as the “Office”. She shared a pair of gloves with her friend Angie Wirkkala, Amy Left hand, Angie Right. Hunter’s could get drafty and a girl needs a beer drinking glove. Amy passed her CPA Exam in the Summer of 1994, and took a job as a Cost Accountant at Starbucks Headquarters in Seattle. Amy’s Brother, Joel started His job as a Firefighter for the City of Richland. Amy’s parents rejoiced that Summer of 1994, as both of their children were officially “off their payroll”. Joel’s Firefighting job in Richland set the stage for His Sister to meet the love of her life, Rich. Rich and Amy shared a love some never find. Rich always referred to Amy as “My Girl” and to him the prettiest girl in the room. Rich and Amy were Husband and Wife, but it was obvious to all that knew them they were also best friends. Amy taught Rich to slow down a few miles per hour and take a look around. Rich loved her amazing smile, single dimple, and Amy loved his arm around her.
Rich and Amy moved to Bellingham, WA. in 1997 for both of their jobs. Amy worked as a CPA for a local firm until giving birth to her first boy, Ryan Joseph Kittinger. It was love at first sight, and Amy informed Rich that she was now a mom and tax returns would take a back seat. Three years later Amy gave birth to Adam Edwin Kittinger. Amy’s fierce love and devotion for her family was admired by all. She was most radiant when near her boys. Her warm smile, beautiful cheeks, and single dimple lit up the room. Amy’s friendships were strong and intensely loyal and she expected the same in return, she never did “surface” relationships. If you were counted among her people, she had your back in a way that isn’t common in our world. No one who really knew Amy would ask for her opinion unless they wanted the truth. Somehow, she always delivered the “Truth” with Love. If Amy was frustrated with a friend or family member, chances are they didn’t do what they said they were going to do. Another memorable Amy’ism was ”just get your shit done”.
Amy was a skilled and respected CPA. Like most everyone who spent time with Amy, her employers always wanted more time than she was willing to give away from her Family. Amy’s Boys were always number one and she lived “Family over Everything”. In true Amy fashion, She found a Public Accounting job with a San Francisco Firm that allowed her to do high level accounting work around her boys’ schedule. Because the work came to Bellingham electronically, Rich bantered that only Amy could do technical accounting work in her hoodie.
Amy was a Country girl at heart, but loved spending time in the City with Rich. The family held season tickets for the Seahawks and loved shouting with the 12’s from their seats. Amy always valued experiences over things. Rich, Amy and the boys along with family and numerous close friends shared many amazing experiences as they traveled and gathered together to enjoy new places, food, and experiences. Though far too short for those who remain, Amy’s life was filled with love.
A celebration of Amy’s vibrant, loving life will be held at 5:30-10:00 pm Saturday, April 14th at the Squalicum Boat House at Squalicum Harbor, 2600 N Harbor Loop Dr., Bellingham, WA 98225.
In complete Amy style, there will be a taco truck available for all to enjoy and a few beers on tap. Please come and celebrate the woman we all love. Dress comfortably, Amy would have.
There will be another celebration in Naselle, Washington this August. The specific date will be shared soon.
In lieu of flowers please make memorial contributions in Amy’s name to the Friedrich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA). Online at www.curefa.org. Please do not send flowers or gifts to the family. The family suggests you take the money you would use on flowers or gifts and contribute to the suggested charity.
Friedreich Ataxia Research Alliance
P.O. Box 1537, Springfield VA 22151