Joe was born in Dayton on March 20, 1939. At the age of 6, his parents moved the family to Owensboro, KY, where they lived until 1954. They moved back to Dayton for his sophomore year at Stivers and he immediately made his presence known by lettering in cross country, basketball and track. He excelled in basketball and at 6″4″ was named to the All-City team in 1956 at center.
Widely recruited Joe accepted a full scholarship to the University of Louisville to play basketball for the Cardinals. In 1959 he was a star forward on the Louisville team that defeated Michigan State and Kentucky in the NCAA Regional in Evanston, IL, which earned the cardinals their first of many final four appearances.
Joe graduated from the U. of L. with a B.S. in Biology in 1961 and married his wife Blanche. Later that year he entered the USAF and served on a select B52 crew until 1966 when he resigned his commission as captain to enter the Louisville private business sector.
As was the case with most everything else he tried, Joe was highly successful in the business world until his early retirement and death in 1991.
In 1992 the Joe Kitchen Scholarship was established to honor a U. of L. senior basketball player. The scholarship fund donated $100,000 to the YUM Center practice facility in 2006 and in 2009 sponsored the Billy Minardi Classic Basketball Tourney.
In 1993 Joe was inducted into the U. of L. Hall of Fame and in 1996, the “Joe Kitchen Pavilion” was dedicated.
Joe and his wife Blanche had four children, Michael, David, twins Rebecca and Karen and 12 grandchildren.
Joe Kitchen was a “class act” of superior character and well qualified to be inducted into the Stivers Hall of Fame.