Kristen Kittrell Obituary

Kristen Ellwanger Kittrell
Kristen Ellwanger Kittrell

November 14, 1946 - June 17, 2022
Born in Sac City, Iowa
Resided in Johnston, Iowa
  • Contat Us
  • Videos
  • Guestbook
  • Photos
  • Services
  • Send Flowers


Kris Kittrell of Johnston, IA, was born in Sac City, IA, on November 14, 1946 to Lawrence ‘Pete’ and Charlene Ellwanger. She passed away June 17, 2022 in memory care at Arbor Springs in West Des Moines, IA after a nine-year journey with Alzheimer’s Disease.

She is survived by husband John of Johnston, daughter Kimberly (Scott) Stewart of Clive, beloved granddaughters Chloe Stewart (George Susral) of Denver, CO, Claudia Stewart of Denver, CO, and Greta Stewart of Clive and Iowa City, brother Alan (Marilyn) Ellwanger of Waverly, IA, sister Jean Ellwanger (Myra Mitchell) of Tallassee, AL, brothers-in-law Jim Kittrell of Meadville, PA and Carter Kittrell of Houston, TX, niece Allyson (Dennis) Uhlenhopp, nephew Bradley Ellwanger, cousins and many friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, grandparents, and infant sister Gail.

Visitation will be Thursday, June 23 at 10:00 am followed by 11:30 am services at Westover Funeral Home, 6337 Hickman Rd in Des Moines.

Her cremains will be placed next to her parents in Sac City’s Oakland Cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to the Alzheimer’s Association ( in Kris’ name. She would like that.

With eternal gratitude we thank those who helped us through the difficult stages of Alzheimer’s: The Alzheimer’s Association support group, the caring staff and fellow residents at Arbor Springs, Suncrest Hospice, her doctors, family and many friends. You all lightened the burden immeasurably.

Kris grew up on two Iowa farms, the first in Sac County, the second when the family moved to Wright County in 1957. She graduated from Eagle Grove HS in 1964 and enrolled at Centerville’s Community College. She moved to the Des Moines area to work for Look magazine, then accepted an administrative position at the CPA firm Kiesling Associates and continued her education at Area XI CC.

In 1972, Kris met John Kittrell on a blind date - it was truly love at first sight, a love affair that lasted 50 years. They married in 1974 and lived in Urbandale then Johnston, their last home a ranch John built for retirement years. Of course, it featured a large ‘quilt room’ with a design wall, walk-in closet for fabric storage, and private bath. No refrigerator though, so she had to walk to the kitchen for her beloved Diet Pepsi.

Kris retired from Kiesling in 2000 and began a part-time career at Creekside Quilting store in Clive for another 10 years. Her interests in life included running, biking, quilting, kick boxing, and traveling. Kris completed 13 marathons and many shorter races including Dam-to-Dams. She began quilting in the early 1990’s, completed many beautiful works of art, most of which she lovingly gave to friends and family, and won numerous ribbons at the State Fair and local quilt shows. Despite advancing Alzheimer’s she continued to quilt until December 2019. She worked out at Farrell’s Bodyshaping for 10 years until COVID shut the gym down in March 2020. She entered memory care in June 2020.

Kris and John enjoyed travelling all across this beautiful country, mostly by car, completing visits to all 50 states and parts of Canada by the fall of 2018. Favorite trips included a small-ship cruise through Alaska’s Inland Passage and to the high country of the American West. They enjoyed many summer vacations on the beach at the home of John’s parents on N Litchfield Beach, SC. Planned travel to Europe was curtailed by her illness.

Daughter Kim is the light of their lives and a rock of support through the heartbreak of Alzheimer’s. She married Scott Stewart in 1993 and together they gave John & Kris three beautiful granddaughters. They loved attending all the girls’ activities, tailgating on fall game days in Iowa City, dining out and playing cards with friends. Kris rarely missed her high school reunions in Eagle Grove. Her greatest joy in life was being a mother and grandmother.

With her generous, kind, gentle, and loving nature, Kris made many life-long friends wherever she went. She belonged to quilt groups, running groups, a book club, and St Timothy’s Episcopal Church. Never asking for anything in return, she gave generously of herself, assisting St Timothy’s altar guild, creating quilts for charity, and donating blood frequently.

That awful disease may have stolen her mind and body, but never her spirit. She knew what she was up against yet never complained—just went about living her life as best she could.

Kris, you never stopped giving. You are gone too soon. We love you deeply and will miss you forever.





Iles Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Thursday, June 23, 2022
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Iles Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Thursday, June 23, 2022
11:30 AM


Alzheimer's Association
919 N Michigan Ave Ste 1000
Chicago, IL 60611
The purpose of the Alzheimer's Association is to provide support for the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association.