William Rivers Pitt

November 9, 1971September 26, 2022
William Rivers Pitt, of Keene, passed away suddenly on September 26, 2022. He leaves his spirit, love and legacy with his beloved daughter, Lola Jane Pitt of Massachusetts and his mother, Jane Hanify Pitt of Marlborough, New Hampshire. Will was born on November 9, 1971 in Washington, D.C., the first and only son of Redding and Jane Pitt. He grew up in Newton, Massachusetts and graduated from Newton North High School and the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Will taught for several years at the Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Newton, MA before deciding to dedicate himself fully to writing for Truthout. That decision led to the most challenging and fulfilling years of his life. Will was predeceased by his maternal grandparents, Edward B. and Jane E. (Dillon) Hanify of Belmont, MA , his paternal grandparents, Kermit and Dorothy (Slaughter) Pitt of Decatur, AL and his father, Redding Pitt of Decatur, AL. He will be remembered with love by his many friends and colleagues and those who followed his work. Some of his colleagues and friends wrote of him: “How do you eulogize a proclaimer, a person with a singular gift for characterizing a moment, a feeling, a political climate, a global climate in a way that made you feel just a little bit better – because he found the words that echoed the turmoil burning inside you, too, and called you to action? How do you eulogize a wordsmith, someone who coined a new expression in every column, often sending me, his editor, frantically searching through the Oxford English Dictionary for clues as to the adage’s origin…only to realize that it was actually Will’s spontaneous invention? Will was not a commentator for comment’s sake: He wanted his words to spur deeds. He urged readers to go beyond simply reading, no matter how small their actions, and he recognized that even seemingly small actions can save lives. “There is much to be done just within reach of your arm,” he was fond of saying, when speaking of the climate crisis. “Do that, and you’ll have one hell of a story, along with, perhaps, people left to hear the telling.” Maya Schenwar, Truthout “Reading one of his columns was a journey: a powerful and challenging experience. His columns were full of soul and thoughtfulness that was cogent and vibrant. Will was a robust writer, and at times, an oracle.” Mark Karlin, Truthout “Truly one of the most important public intellectuals, writers and commentators of our time, in losing Will, we’ve lost a voice that is irreplaceable, and I’ve lost one of my heroes. Will is now on the road each of us inevitably shall take. He showed us how to live a noble life. He made a living speaking truth to power. He did these things for all of us, and he did them because they were his to do. He did them because he could. Most importantly, he did them because he knew with all his heart they were the right things to do.” Dahr Jamail, Truthout Finally, Will wrote this about himself: “I came into this world a human tuning fork, humming with the tones surrounding me entirely against my will. I cannot stop it, and would not if given the chance. Mine is wonder, and awe, and I am overtaken by it, as if the air itself is transformed into high waves breaking on the beach. I drown daily, hourly, in minutes and in seconds, I drown in moments, and smile as I sink, because it is beautiful beyond words and space and time.” In lieu of flowers, donations in Will’s memory may be made to the Lola Jane Pitt Fund Account, Savings Bank of Walpole, 84 Marlboro Street, Keene, NH 03431. A burial and Celebration of Will’s life will be private at a later date.

Show your support


  • Lola Jane Pitt Fund Account, Savings Bank of Walpole 84 Marlboro Street, Keene, NH 03431


A burial and Celebration of Will’s life will be private at a later date