Rest in Peace our brother Pitt Kinsolving.

Tom Hall's Eulogy for Pitt:

Pitt Kinsolving died at 6:30 a.m., Sunday, April 3, 2016, after a multiyear battle with cancer. 

    Pitt was a vibrant, vital presence in many lives.  He remained active well after his 83rd birthday, finally becoming bedridden only after a car collision, while driving one of his beloved MGB-GTs, on his way home from a hospital stay. 

    Cars, particularly sports cars, and particularly British sports cars, were one of Pitt's first loves.  Before developing the musical talent and skills for which so many knew him, he was a sports car mechanic and race driver.  He remained a car lover throughout his life, regularly attending the monthly gathering at Golden Cove, overlooking the Pacific, well into his 82nd year.  

    Perhaps more people knew him for his love of music, particularly folk music.  Pitt's bold baritone graced festivals and music clubs.  But it was just the end result of study, practice and a love of music.  Pitt made some of the instruments he played, and left behind a partially completed hammer dulcimer. 

    The music library he left behind includes classical, opera, pop and a large collection of Spanish and related Latin LPs, in addition to innumerable folk recordings.  Similarly he collected books on music of all sorts.  His musical interests, whether known to others or not, were very broad.

    Pitt was also an accomplished recording and PA engineer, making other people sound good, perhaps better than they otherwise might have.  He continued recording work until just before that final, fateful car collision.  His knowledge of both music theory and the practical issues of performing made him a better engineer. 

    Pitt had strong social and political opinions.  He was an unshakeable acolyte of Ayn Rand.  When I last saw him, on Tuesday evening, March 29, he had recovered enough strength and presence of mind to be back expounding the superiority of Rand's views over my well known, more liberal sentiments.  I took this feistiness as an indication that he was recovering strength and health. 

    His doctors also felt that he was gaining strength - sufficiently to schedule him for a minor surgical procedure last Wednesday.  I'm not a medical person, but I fear that the strain of that surgery may have hastened his passing.  When I saw him, however, he was looking forward to the surgery, and to what he believed would be an improvement in his situation.  People to whom I have spoken, who visited with him after the surgery indicate that he had been doing poorly since the procedure. 

    For the past 15-16 years, Pitt shared an apartment with a disabled, multiple stroke survivor.  When his roommate was struck by a truck, while riding his bicycle, a few years ago, Pitt took over complete management of the roommates finances, then his daily care, grocery shopping, etc.  The roommate was 11 years younger than Pitt, and not suffering from cancer. 

    Pitt's work on behalf of his (very non-musical) roommate might be seen by some as simple pragmatism - keeping the roommate alive to maintain his veteran's and social security income to make the apartment viable.  But anyone familiar with the energy Pitt poured into the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest & Folk Festival, and other musical endeavors, without compensation, or, when there was any compensation, too little compensation for the work done, knows that Pitt's conduct was at least as much a matter of his personal generosity and belief in helping people who needed it. 

     In the past few years, as he battled cancer and had to work less and less, many members of the So. Cal. folk music community returned Pitt's generosity in his hours of need.  It was always a matter of principle for him to acknowledge, with gratitude the help that he received. 

     I expect that Pitt Kinsolving will live for decades to come in the memories and shared stories of the people who knew him.  I was there when his beloved MGB-GTs were taken away by a man, with his young son eagerly there 'helping'.  We may hope that, like folk music, they will be lovingly cared for and passed down to a new generation to enjoy as Pitt enjoyed them. 


Tom Hall