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By Guy Martin
owner of Control-Alt-Delete 

Goodbye, my friend

Tech Talk


April 13, 2024

I love the work that I do. I have made many friends here in Tehachapi since I started my business in 2001. That is when I moved up here and met Ted Kitzmiller.

Ted was the owner of Radio Shack in Old Town. Chelley, his wife, was taking a picture editing class from me and said that her husband needed some computer services at his store. When I met Ted, he showed me the trouble he was having and I took care of them for him. We struck up a conversation about my background in the IT field and asked where my shop was. Much like Greg Cunningham, I was actually working out of my house and was mostly a mobile service. Ted said that he had room in his store for me to run my business out of Radio Shack.

I was shocked by the offer he presented. It seemed too good to be true. A place that I could actually run my business, having customers come to me for computer repairs. I could work on multiple computers at once, and not spend so much time on the road, which had limited the amount of people that I could help. It just made so much sense. At the time there was one other computer shop open in town. I had never had my own place, and wondered if it was something that I could actually do. I had been the system administrator at Waste Management in Sun Valley for the previous 11 years. After being laid off, my family moved here to Tehachapi. That was the best move I made! The second, was to accept the amazing offer from Ted, because it started an amazing relationship with an amazing man.

Right after the restrictions for COVID were finally loosened and we were able to re-open the Radio Shack, Ted was battling a life-threatening health issue. But through the pain and discomfort, he opened his store every day, as he had done for the past 33 years. We spent so many days together at that Radio Shack. Had so many laughs, and talks and I learned the legend of the “Acorn Shaman.” I met his amazing daughter, Gina Christopher. She had the bookstore, Books and Crannies, which was adjacent to the Radio Shack in Old Town. When we moved the store to the corner of Tucker Rd. and Valley Blvd., she moved right next door, as well. After some time, she closed the bookstore. Then an amazing thing happened…Have a Heart Humane Society opened in that location. Formed by Ted’s wife Chelley, Have a Heart became one of the local animal rescues in town.

Sadly, we have seen Books and Crannies and Radio Shack closed. Due to Ted’s health, he was finally ready to retire. When that day came, when he had sold the business, I could see the relief in his eyes. Relief that he could finally get the rest that he needed, to focus on his health. And, yet, I could see the sadness in his eyes at the loss of one of his family members. Yes, the Radio Shack was that loss. He had put so much of himself into that store, helping customer after customer, making so many here in Tehachapi. Radio Shack was a big chain store, yet Ted kept it a small-town feel.

We lost Ted Kitzmiller, a couple weeks ago now.

I weep, writing this part…Ted was above all, my friend. I miss him. I miss our talks, our time together. I miss his humor, his laughter, his kindness, I miss Ted. Many of you who knew Ted, will remember his little white dog, Miss Mouse, who was always with him at Radio Shack. He loved that dog, and so did I. He had to say good-bye to Miss Mouse a while back. I know it was hard, because he loved that little pup.

Where is Ted now? I honestly don’t know. I choose to believe he’s in the loving arms of his wife Chelley, whom he lost some years ago. And little Miss Mouse is running around with joy and vigor, giving him kisses and love.

I hope you don’t mind that I’ve written about my friend. In a way, it is computer related, as it is how I started my journey with Tehachapi. After all, Ted deserves more than a few words that I could write. He was an amazing man, with many accomplishments in his life. Ted, was my friend.

Next issue, I will continue my article about the scam issues going on in our digital world. Please, feel free to call, email or come in and visit my shop if you need help or have questions. I sure would love to meet you, even if just to shoot the breeze for a few.

For more information call Guy Martin at (661) 972-0448, email or visit 20424 Brian Way, Unit 4 Tehachapi.


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