In memory: Kathleen Ivy

Kathleen Ann Ivy passed away on Oct. 17, after a ~3 year battle with metastatic melanoma.

Kathleen Ivy and Duncan in front of TILT
Kathleen Ivy, with her service dog “Duncan,” August 7, 2018.

Born on Sept 8, 1955, in Alhambra, Calif., to parents David Higens and Mary Wise/Higens/Weiss. They moved to Colorado when she was 5, but Kathleen always spoke very fondly of her years in California. By the time Kathleen was 9, her brother Kenneth was born, and their parents had divorced. Mary’s second husband Charles Weiss eventually adopted both children and they lived in Colorado Springs, running a glass shop. Their neighbor Fran Burke met Kathleen as a young teenager, and became a mentor and lifelong family of choice. Kathleen would openly say Fran saved her life more than once with deep conversations, long walks, emotional support, and a good cup of tea.

Kathleen and Kenneth also have two younger half-brothers, Jim and Michael, from their father David’s second marriage.

Kathleen went on to college at University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, where she met and married Gerald Gates (1975), and had Holly and Laura. Despite their best efforts, that marriage ended in 1982. Kathleen went on to complete her BA and MA in English, and her teaching degree through Project Promise at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, while continuing to work fulltime. During these years Kathleen was married to Saleh Soliman (‘89), followed by Billy Althoff (‘98).

With each relationship Kathleen did her best to be a good partner to her husband, and a loving mother for Holly and Laura. With her children and grandchildren, she would read stories, sing songs, dance around the kitchen, take trips to museums, art shows, parks, eat cookie dough, and remind us to enjoy the innocent playfulness of childhood no matter how old we are. One of the favorite holidays for Kathleen with Holly and Laura was Halloween. Hours were spent on dressing up and staying out late trick-or-treating. Kathleen did her very best to always put her children’s wellbeing first. Kathleen was very proud that both her daughters pursued higher education, motherhood, and shared her values of kindness, resilience, self-reflection, family, helping others, humor, and continued intellectual and spiritual growth…

Over the years Kathleen accepted many different jobs to try to make ends meet, and always worked to learn from her experiences and improve herself. Throughout her schooling Kathleen struggled with learning disabilities including ADD, dyslexia, visual processing disorder, and increasing hearing loss. She used the difficult experiences of her life to inspire compassion and change for the better. She practiced pleasant, persistence, honest reflection, a strong Christian faith, and the academic curiosity to always consider new information. She would fiercely defend other’s rights, while she privately struggled to defend her own, personally and professionally.

Kathleen worked at CSU for nearly 30 years for students with disabilities with tenacity and grace. In the moments we could tear her away from that work, she also enjoyed family and friends, reading extensively, doll collecting, her many pets, traveling, camping (especially in these last few years with John in their new camper as they shared a love of nature and a wonderful sense of humor), painting, gardening, writing, dancing (even while seated if necessary)… She felt her true calling was helping others, and she exhausted herself in service of that cause.

Kathleen was preceded in her passing by her parents, and is survived by her devoted spouse John Moore (2016), children Holly Gates and Laura Benson, Brian and JR Moore; brother Kenneth Weiss and his family in Alaska; grandchildren, and numerous extended family and friends. She will be missed by her friends, family, students, and colleagues.

Kathleen donated her body to further cancer research. At Kathleen’s request, a memorial tree planting ceremony is scheduled on the CSU campus in early summer of 2022, which gives the tree the best chance of thriving, and will be a celebration of Kathleen’s life with an open invitation to all who wish to join us.

The family will also have a smaller private ceremony in Colorado Springs planting additional trees. Many students and university colleagues are asking for closure sooner, so Kathleen’s supervisor Justin and her friend Helen are organizing a vigil in her honor, which will be open to friends and family, as well. Further details on each memorial event  will be posted on, and on Kathleen’s Facebook page, as they are available.

Thank you to all who have donated to the Kathleen Ivy Trust Memorial Tree Fund in lieu of flowers to honor Kathleen’s memory and final wishes:

Any amount received in addition to the initial goal will go to planting additional trees, as promised.

Best wishes and blessings, from our family to yours.