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Shaker Heights –Gay Kitson, 67, who died July 22, 2008, was a retired professor of sociology at the University of Akron, and a former Case Western Reserve University teacher and researcher.
Kitson died at Judson Park Retirement Community of complications from multiple myeloma, her family said. She joined the University of Akron faculty in 1989, specializing in Sociology of the Family and Medical Sociology. She retired in 2003.
While at Case from 1968 to 1989, she was the principal investigator in several nationally funded sociology research projects. Some included how women coped with the violent deaths of loved ones, and family life adjustments following divorces.
Her book, “Portrait of Divorce: Adjustment to Marital Breakdown,” won the 1994 American Sociological Association Family Section’s William J. Goode Book Award for the most outstanding book-length contribution to Family Sociology.
In the late 1980s, Kitson received a $620,000 grant from the National Institute on Aging to conduct the study among Greater Cleveland wives and children who were victims of violent crimes. She received grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, where she conducted research on other projects.
She also wrote, or participated, in 26 papers in journals, 12 book chapters, and made more than 50 presentations to various groups around the country.
Kitson is a past president and board member of the National Council on Family Relations, an academic organization that focuses on family studies. She served on the editorial boards of several journals and as the editor of Sociological Focus, a publication of the North Central Sociological Association. Kitson is a past chairman of the Family Section of the American Sociological Association.
Kitson was born in Chicago, and raised in Libertyville, Ill. She received a journalism degree from Northwestern University, and masters and doctorate degrees in sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Kitson had a life-long interest in the British Royal Family. In 2003, she went to London by herself for the 50th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
Kitson enjoyed traveling, and made a point to tour areas when she visited a city for a convention or meeting. She and her husband, James, traveled to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, Africa, as well as most of North America.
She is survived by her husband, James.