Malcolm Kitchen hangs up his paint brushes

A tenant farmer for 12 years, Malcolm Kitchen said he started at Campbell University’s Physical Plant as a painter for only one reason, security. But over his 15 years at the university, he made some very good friends and developed some deep loyalties. Kitchen retired recently at the age of 75. A native of Pennsylvania, Kitchen migrated south because most of the manufacturing jobs had dried up in his home town of Beech Creek, Pa. He went to work as a tenant farmer raising tobacco for Lillington landowner John Senter and later became a painter in Raleigh for several years. “I came to Campbell because Campbell had the one thing I needed—insurance,” Kitchen said. But it wasn’t long before Kitchen discovered that Campbell was a really good place to work. “They have a bunch of nice people. They never forgot you, and Campbell is going forward all the time,” he said. Kitchen’s brush strokes can be found in every building on campus. “I painted inside buildings, outside buildings, furniture, anything that needed painting,” he said. When he decided to retire this year, it wasn’t because he was tired of working at Campbell, but his wife Carol suffers from Parkinson’s disease and she needed him at home. “I didn’t want to retire. I always said that as long as I can do my work I’ll be here at Campbell,” Kitchen said. “But with my wife’s illness, I couldn’t work consistently and that bothered me.” Randall Johnson, assistant director of the Physical Plant, called Kitchen a man who could always be counted on. “We’re so glad he was here,” Johnson said. “He was reliable and we were always pleased with his work. We wish him the best.” Kitchen and his wife live in Erwin.

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