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Trail Advocate, Kit Valentine Passes Away

Family Photo 8.23.14

Valentine Family – Top Row: Lauren (granddaughter), Becky (wife of 52 years), Keith (son), Kelly and Ruth (daughters) Sitting/kneeling: Nathaniel (grandson) Kit, Matthew (grandson) and Kathy (daughter-in-law). Mark (son) and his family live in Boone, NC and were unable to attend.

On September 15, 2014, Kit Valentine passed away after battling pancreatic cancer.

To view an excellent obituary, check out the article written by Lauren Lorrachio of the Catonsville Time.

Over 175 people turned out on Saturday, August 23, 2014 for a Catonsville Rails To Trails tribute to trail advocate, Kit Valentine.  Representatives  from Mt. Airy, Patapsco Heritage Greenway, Baltimore and Howard County Councils, Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Park Service and the Catonsville community delivered tributes to Kit.

The ceremony started with Catonsville’s Town Crier, Squire Frederick Taylor, announcing the ceremony.  State Senator Ed Kasemeyer ,  Councilman Tom Quirk, and a representative for the Howard County Council read tributes praising Kit’s work in both counties.  Department of Natural Resources rep., Steve Carr delivered a proclamation and Lt. Col. Chris Bushman, Deputy Superintendent of Maryland Park Services, presenting Kit with a plaque making him an Honorary Park Ranger.

John Slater of the Patapsco Heritage Greenway surprised the gathering,  especially Kit, when he announced that the Patapsco Heritage Greenway will fund an internship opportunity  in Kit’s name, “…to encourage the next generation of trail builders”.    John also read a note from Kit’s nephew, Scott Valentine, who was unable to attend and is now living in California.  Scott reminisced about working on the Grist Mill trail. “Shall I come out to put a plaque on that 2 ton boulder we rolled out of the way all those years ago?  It’ll read: “This boulder stood in the way of Kit’s trail.  Many a lesson was learned here.  We learned a few, but the boulder now knows its place.”  

Kit’s grandchildren, Lauren, Nathaniel and Matthew, unveiled the new sign designating this portion of the Short Line trail, the “Kit Valentine Trail”.  The sign was donated by Madison Ave. Inc., a Columbia based sign company who volunteered on the Spring Grove portion of the trail in July.

Kit gave a heart-felt “thank you” to everyone attending and stated he has lived his life by following the Ten Commandments and mostly, the Boy Scout pledge, all good principals to live by.  He encouraged everyone to become involved in their communities and especially in local trails.  He signed off with his trademark phrase “Blessings to you.”

Eric Ebersole, a member of Fiddlin’ Around band, lead the group in a sing-a-long of “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad”.  After the ceremony, Kit’s friends stayed on the trail to take pictures and talk with Kit.

Many thanks to Madison Ave., Inc, Pam & Joe Chilcoat from the 7-Eleven, and Scott Westcoat of C’ville Bikes/Hub for providing refreshment, services and supplies for Kit’s tribute.  Special thanks to Sheldon Smith for constructing the sign frame.

IMG_2850To read CRTT’s trail bio of Kit, keep reading! Kit Valentine loves the outdoors and from the earliest years of his life, he has loved to build trails.  When Kit was 17, he earn his Eagle Scout Award by building a trail in the Patapsco State Park.  He earned a college degree in Forestry Management and has been active in trail development ever since. Kit had very active roles in the Grist Mill Trail, Patapsco Heritage Greenway, #9 Trolley Line, #8 Streetcar Path, the Catonsville Short Line Trail, Mt. Airy Trail and the East Coast Greenway.  Kit has worked with the scouts, schools and hundreds of community volunteers to share his knowledge and vast experience. Kit has been battling cancer for the past year and his time with us is limited and precious. CRTT celebrated his remarkable accomplishments by naming a portion of the Catonsville Short Line Trail, near Maiden Choice Lane, the “Kit Valentine Trail”.

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