Kay Litke Culinary Arts Scholarship Endowment Established
A seat at Kay Litke’s dinner table was a hot commodity as she and her three children traversed the globe during her husband’s, Major General (ret) Don Litke, thirty year career in the Air Force. Kay embodied grace and hospitality as their family personified the spirit of America on their many overseas tours. No matter what the assignment, Kay could be found hosting airman to diplomats on a monthly basis.
Kay met her future husband, Don, in third grade and they continued through school together including graduating from college. Kay’s college major and subsequent degree was in Foods and Nutrition. Don was a frequent guest at the “Practice House” where, as the name implies, those in her major practiced their culinary ability. Kay’s long term plan was to go to graduate school, get her master’s degree, and become a registered dietician. However, Kay and Don married right after graduating and Don was soon called to active duty in the USAF. Thus began a thirty year career with Kay moving 18 times and living in five countries while raising three children. So her plans for a career in the culinary field never came to fruition. But her passion for cooking and entertaining continued and she became well known in our circles for fabulous food, dinner parties, and especially her Sunday brunches. Never was this more prevalent than a tour in Turkey. Don, as a USAF Major General and the senior US commander in Turkey, had the privilege of hosting dozens of dinner parties for senior US and Turkish Military members and civilians, visiting dignitaries including congressional delegations, ambassadors and others. Kay was the consummate hostess preparing or supervising the preparation of the meals to serve these diverse palates. An invitation to one of Kay’s dinner parties soon became a “hot ticket” in Ankara. This passion for food preparation continued until her final days. When her grandchildren were asked what they remembered most about their grandmother the almost unanimous response was her cooking and the great aromas in her kitchen.
As a way to honor Kay’s tremendous legacy, the Litke family established the Kay Litke Culinary Arts Scholarship Endowment with a $100,000 gift to the Northwest Florida State College Foundation. Kay was very active in a variety of ways at NWFSC. She and her husband endowed The Major General and Mrs. Donald P. Litke Scholarship 20 years ago which continues to be awarded each year and has helped over 25 students realize their educational dreams. The Litkes became a friend and mentor to every student who were recipients of this scholarship. Kay was an active member of the Northwest Florida Symphony Guild and supporter of the NFSO including the Conductor’s Circle and Kids at the Symphony. She was a member of the President’s Circle, a Signature Seat holder at the Arts Center and an active member of the Raider Club and a Raider Athletic fan. It is the family’s hope that this scholarship will allow deserving students to reach their potential in the field of culinary arts, a program that will start in Fall 2018.
Pictured above: Kay Litke
Pictured below: (Left to Right): Dr. Stephenson, President, NWF State College; Cristie Kedroski, Vice President, College Advancement; Don Litke, Major General (ret); and his daughters, Sue Farrell and Lisa Pack