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Todd Bitts remembered as a persuasive voice for the community

Longtime Seattle radio personality Ichabod Caine knew Todd Bitts well from their airwave days.

“Todd remained a kid at heart his entire life,” Caine said Monday. They became friends while working together at KPLZ, Caine a disc jockey, Bitts the general manager.

“What a sweet man,” Caine said. “You always felt you worked with Todd, not for him.

“Another reason we bonded is because we were fired together,” he added.

Seattle’s loss was South Whidbey’s gain.

Bitts, 63, an energetic participant in a number of Whidbey civic events and organizations, died Sunday, Oct. 3 at Enso House in Freeland of lung cancer.

“He was always around people,” said Diane Reid, who worked for nearly 16 years with Bitts at Coldwell Banker Tara Properties in Freeland. She said Bitts continued to come into the office until shortly before his death.

“I miss him a lot,” she added.

Although Bitts was primarily on the advertising and management side of the radio business, he often filled in on-air and provided a voice for commercials.

“He had the deepest, smoothest voice you could ever want for a radio station,” Reid said. “It would put people at ease and make them feel comfortable.”

Bitts left the Seattle radio industry and moved to Whidbey Island in 1991 to help care for his aging parents, Joye and Max Bitts. He joined Coldwell Banker as a Realtor in 1994.

He was a past president of Whidbey Island Association of Realtors, and served on several local boards for entities that included Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, Greenbank Farm and the Washington State Department of Transportation Ferry Advisory Board.

A resident of the Holmes Harbor Golf Course community, he recently spearheaded efforts to revive the public golf course after it closed earlier this year.

“He was a good friend and good neighbor, and always a very positive and delightful guy to work with,” said Stan Walker, president of the Holmes Harbor Sewer District and another golf-course activist.

“Todd barely played golf,” Walker said Tuesday. “He was more interested in helping the community.”

Bitts is survived by his five siblings, including Gay of Langley and Patrick of Clinton; his three children, Kim, Craig and Shaun; five grandchildren and a great-grandson, Gavin.

His brother Patrick recalled that Todd Bitts was the prime mover behind the visitors kiosk at Ken’s Korner, and was adept at managing projects.

“He could control the situation,” Patrick said. “He had a dry sense of humor.”

His sister Gay remembers that when they were children, Bitts and his siblings would have parties, and Bitts would be the dancing instructor.

“He was very private with his family, but much closer to his friends,” she said Monday. “He had so many friends.”

A celebration of life for Bitts will be held at China City Restaurant from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17.

Remembrances can be sent to Enso House, 6339 Wahl Road, Freeland 98249. Visit www.ensohouse.org.

“I’m sorry to see him go,” Walker said. “He’ll be missed.”

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