One of Kevin’s greatest joys was giving to others and spending time with family and friends. With her indomitable spirit and natural enthusiasm, she enjoyed every moment of life and enriched the lives of all who knew her. She had the knack of making every person feel special as she cheered them on. After an extended illness that she faced with courage and dignity, she died on Nov. 1, at age 69, with her loving husband Ken at her side.
Born in Denver on August 9, 1949, to Lawrence M. and Mary Jane Henry, Kevin was the second of five children. Growing up in a household that valued leadership, service, and compassion, she exemplified these traits throughout her life. Kevin grew up in Denver’s Park Hill area where she attended Blessed Sacrament Grade School and Machebeuf High School, developing deep life-long friendships.
She attended Colorado State University as a Boettcher Scholar and held many campus leadership positions as a student. At CSU, she earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and a Master’s degree in child development and family relationships. Later Kevin received a Ph.D. in educational and psychological studies from the University of Colorado in Boulder.
During her years at CSU, she was blessed by marrying her best friend, Ken Oltjenbruns, on March 15, 1975. They shared many wonderful years together and always gave each other unconditional love and support in pursuing their passions.
Kevin spent her entire career, spanning more than thirty years, at CSU as a faculty member, an adviser, and an administrator. In her roles as a professor in Human Development and Family Studies, associate dean of Applied Human Sciences, and vice provost of Undergraduate Studies, Kevin always placed integrity and concern for students above all else. Her many former students continue to benefit from the impact she had on their lives and careers.
Due to her exceptional and versatile leadership skills, Kevin was often asked to assume interim department head positions at critical transition periods, including units such as Communication Disorders, Construction Management, Design and Merchandising, and Education. Kevin’s accomplishments were recognized with numerous honors and awards, including the all-university Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Pennock Award for Outstanding Service.
As a lifelong learner herself, Kevin was instrumental in bringing the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute to the CSU campus. After co-writing the grant application, the institute was provided grant monies in 2006 and has been offering classes since.
Kevin’s impactful service extended into the Fort Collins community as well. More than forty years ago, she was involved in launching the organization that is now Pathways Hospice, one of the first hospices in the country. As CSU faculty, she developed the first course on campus with a focus on grief and loss, and taught many students who are now professionals in the field. She also co-authored two editions of a textbook on dying and grieving used at colleges and universities across the United States.
Kevin is survived by the family she loved so dearly: her husband Ken and his parents Milton and Leona Oltjenbruns; siblings Michael Henry, Christine Harlan (Mark), Kelly Henry (Laurel), Mary Williams (David), Cheryl Schutz (Dave), Nolan Oltjenbruns (Don); nieces and nephews Jennifer Henry, Christian Henry, Luke Henry, Ryan Henry (Erin), Graham Henry, Keegan Henry, Suzanne Harlan Heyd (Andrew), Daniel Harlan, Sarah Harlan, David Schutz (Margaret) and great nephew Colten Henry.
Kevin loved Colorado and its mountains, wearing bright colors, enjoying and sharing flowers, bringing people together, letting people know she loved them, and eating chocolate.
You can honor her by thinking of her sometimes when you are doing those things, and by supporting her passions by contributing to any of the following:
Pathways Hospice at www.pathways-care.org or mail check to Pathways Memorial Donations, 305 Carpenter Road, Fort Collins, CO 80525.
To give to a CSU program: Oltjenbruns’ Tuition Assistance for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at CSU (59023) or the Human Development and Family Studies Undergraduate Student Scholarship Endowment (18285). Donations can be made to either of these at www.advancing.colostate.edu/GIVE (and searching by the 5-digit fund number), or by mailing a check to University Advancement, Colorado State University, 202 Administration Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523-7117.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to one of the options listed above.