Memorable Manitobans: David Bruce Kitching (1957-2005)
Born at Ottawa, Ontario on 3 February 1957 to Edgar and Nancy Kitching, the military family moved to Petawawa, Ontario in 1960, to Calgary, Alberta in 1961, and then to Shilo, where he attended O’Kelly School. In his youth, he was a goalie with the Shilo Black Hawks Minor Hockey League in the 1969-1970 season. He also participated in Boy Scouts of Canada as a young boy. In 1970, the family moved to Winnipeg, where he attended Sansome Junior High School and graduated from Westwood Collegiate. He was involved in track and field during these years. Attending Red River College following high school, he earned certification in auto body painting and worked for a number of years for Midway Chrysler in Winnipeg.
In 1992, he changed careers to join the City of Winnipeg Fire Department. In his 14 years as a firefighter, he obtained certification within the department for Tech Rescue, Trench Rescue, Water Rescue, Auto Extrication, and as a Fire Medic. He served out of Stations 6, 12, 11, with Station 20 in St. James being his last. He was also an active volunteer with the Firefighters Burn Fund, serving as a Burn Camp counsellor and working with burn survivors at Camp Mamawi for children. In 2003, he was selected to accompany a young burn survivor to the International Burn Camp held that year in Washington, DC. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Firefighters Burn Fund.
He enjoyed cycling and participated in the Firefighters Burn Fund Cycle-a-Thon over the years. He enjoyed performing as “Sparky the Firedog” in parades. He was a member of the Firefighters Historical Society and was often called upon to drive the Historical Society pumper for various functions. His other interests were 1970s music, Winnipeg Jets hockey, restoring his 1971 Barracuda, creating stained-glass art, camping, and canoeing. With his wife Kathy Kowalchuk he had four children.
He died at Winnipeg on 29 May 2005 and was buried in the Brookside Cemetery. The heart condition that led to his death was officially ascribed to the stress of fighting fires. In 2006, he was honoured with an event called “Circling the City: The Bruce Kitching Memorial Cycle A Thon.”
“Manitoba firefighters’ cancer compensation expanded,” CBC News, 12 April 2005.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 1 June 2005.
Photo caption, John Woods, Winnipeg Free Press, 23 September 2006.
This page was prepared by Lois Braun.
Page revised: 31 January 2022