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Kathryn A. Black ‘81

  When Kathryn Black, born June 15, 1958, crossed the finish line on September 1, 2017, cradled in the arms of her devoteds and beloveds, she was still leaning forward to grasp every last moment, for that was how she lived with incredible fullness during her 59 years. The diagnosis of sarcoma cancer came 22 months ago, and in that time she laughed and teased with her amazing circle of friends and family, fought through three rounds of chemo and open heart surgery, and managed to find the quiet beauty of each day — often on the shady back deck of her Oakland, CA, home. But most of all, Kathryn summoned her energy as mother to Skylar, 16-years old and best daughter in the world. “Mama K” was confidante, co-adventurer, board game wizard, sparkling center of big family dinners, advisor in love, social media toddler, encourager, and the tenderest comforter you could ever find. Kathryn’s life partner is Nancy Henderson, their relationship beginning in 1990 and married in 2013; they shared deep loves of travel, social justice, extended families, and most of all, Skylar.

  How often do we have a world-class athlete in our midst? That was Kathryn to the core. She was a member of the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team that won the World Cup Games in France and Venezuela, and was an alternate on the USA Team for the Paralympic Games in Atlanta 1996. But in typical Kathryn fashion she explained those origins in a down-to-earth and modest way. “I had never been a basketball player in high school. Swimming, biking, and backpacking were the activities I enjoyed then. After I lost my leg, I swam, learned to explore the wilderness in a canoe, and took a few cycling tours. I was, however, confused about where I fit into the world of athletics and disability. I didn’t identify as ‘disabled’ because I could walk, and when I wore pants no one could tell I was an amputee. Then wheelchair basketball came along, or rather someone came along on a day I was using crutches and recruited me before I had time to think.” Kathryn had become a below-the-knee amputee at age 17 when bicycling and hit by a school bus. What followed changed her life and the lives of many many others.

  Kathryn was a stellar member of the Bay Area Meteorites, our local women’s wheelchair basketball team, through the 1990s and lent her considerable athletic skill, enthusiasm and determination, fund-raising, and team-first attitude to bring about the team’s success. In fact, Kathryn met Nancy in those early days. The team was affiliated with Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP), and Kathryn went on to have a lifelong affection and allegiance with the organization — including being inducted into the BORP Hall of Fame in 2016. Last year since Kathryn couldn’t ride herself in the fundraiser, friends and family formed the KB All Stars in her honor, which from now on will be an annual event/party.

  Kathryn’s work was as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist for California Children’s Services for over 20 years. Her main populations were kids with Cerebral Palsy, some with reduced cognitive capacity, some with cognition intact. Kathryn was known to be tirelessly committed to her kids, always encouraging and generous. Families were also fond of Kathryn because she listened to their concerns and went the second mile to make home-life successful. The larger challenge at work was dealing with the big bureaucracies of public health in Sacramento and Washington D.C. Amongst system-weary clinicians, Kathryn managed to build morale through inclusive leadership. One colleague said, “you felt better about yourself and your work if you were on the team with KB. She brought esprit de corps.” Outspoken when necessary, Kathryn was proud to share her political roots from Antioch College and principles of quality OT care from her training at San Jose State. Sometimes Kathryn would branch out and do disability awareness in public classrooms. She loved going incognito with her prosthesis, then “coming out” to kids who’d never interacted with a person with disabilities, encouraging them to ask ANY question.

  For Kathryn nothing was more important than family. She was the youngest of four who grew up in Palo Alto and it was she who had a special relationship with each of her siblings (Marcia, Gordon, and Charlie) and parents — dedicated, whimsical, drama-free, attentive, and always seeking the immediate emotional truth (no BS). As an adult she was the undisputed “Cool Aunt” to Rosalind, Bryan, Whitney, Jonathan, David, Miranda, Riely, and Alex. She “got it” way better than their parents, created fun adventures in the outdoors and overnights at her house, and showed what an adult life with integrity looks like. It was Maya Angelou who said, “I sustain myself with the love of family.” Central to Kathryn’s daily orbit was Dorothy, her mother who lived independently and next door for the past 20 years. They shared care of the dog, neighborhood friendships, transporting Skylar hither and yon, hybrid vehicles, the New York Times, and a fierce conviction we’d seen our best leadership under Barack and Michelle Obama (Michelle in 2020?). Dorothy, who at 94 gets kudos for her longevity and good health, deflects the praise and puts credit on having Kathryn next door and daughter Marcia 10 minutes away. Those sisters, Kathryn and Marcia (7 years older) were like two chambers of the heart of the family. They took their own trips together, helped raise each other’s kids, recovered from staggering injuries in tandem, planned all family gatherings, and made sure no birthday or special event was forgotten. Together in uncanny ways they understood when Angelou said, “We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends, and living our lives.” We can all say we knew someone who actually lived this way — Kathryn Ann Black.

  Kathryn is survived by her wife, Nancy Henderson, her daughter, Skylar Mei Chao Henderson Black (age 16), her mother, Dorothy Booz Black (age 94), and her siblings, Marcia, Gordon, and Charles Black. Kathryn’s father was John Davies Black who died in 1993 (age 74). Kathryn and Jack shared a wry sense of humor when people took themselves a little too seriously.

  Please donate to BORP or the Sarcoma Foundation of America in lieu of flowers in “Kathryn Ann Black Memory.”Kathryn Ann Black

Birth Date: June 15, 1958 Death Date: September 1, 2017

When Kathryn crossed the finish line on September 1, 2017, cradled in the arms of her devoteds and beloveds, she was still leaning forward to grasp every last moment, for that was how she lived with incredible fullness during her 59 years. The diagnosis of sarcoma cancer came 22 months ago, and in that time she laughed and teased with her amazing circle of friends and family, fought through three rounds of chemo and open heart surgery, and managed to find the quiet beauty of each day — often on the shady back deck of her Oakland home. But most of all, Kathryn summoned her energy as mother to Skylar, 16-years old and best daughter in the world. “Mama K” was confidante, co-adventurer, board game wizard, sparkling center of big family dinners, advisor in love, social media toddler, encourager, and the tenderest comforter you could ever find. Kathryn’s life partner is Nancy Henderson, their relationship beginning in 1990 and married in 2013; they shared deep loves of travel, social justice, extended families, and most of all, Skylar.

How often do we have a world-class athlete in our midst? That was Kathryn to the core. She was a member of the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team that won the World Cup Games in France and Venezuela, and was an alternate on the USA Team for the Paralympic Games in Atlanta 1996. But in typical Kathryn fashion she explained those origins in a down-to-earth and modest way. “I had never been a basketball player in high school. Swimming, biking, and backpacking were the activities I enjoyed then. After I lost my leg, I swam, learned to explore the wilderness in a canoe, and took a few cycling tours. I was, however, confused about where I fit into the world of athletics and disability. I didn’t identify as ‘disabled’ because I could walk, and when I wore pants no one could tell I was an amputee. Then wheelchair basketball came along, or rather someone came along on a day I was using crutches and recruited me before I had time to think.” Kathryn had become a below-the-knee amputee at age 17 when bicycling and hit by a a school bus. What followed changed her life and the lives of many many others.

Kathryn was a stellar member of the Bay Area Meteorites, our local women’s wheelchair basketball team, through the 1990s and lent her considerable athletic skill, enthusiasm and determination, fund-raising, and team-first attitude to bring about the team’s success. In fact, Kathryn met Nancy in those early days. The team was affiliated with Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP), and Kathryn went on to have a lifelong affection and allegiance with the organization — including being inducted into the BORP Hall of Fame in 2016. Last year since Kathryn couldn’t ride herself in the fundraiser, friends and family formed the KB All Stars in her honor, which from now on will be an annual event/party.

Kathryn’s work was as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist for California Children’s Services for over 20 years. Her main populations were kids with Cerebral Palsy, some with reduced cognitive capacity, some with cognition intact. Kathryn was known to be tirelessly committed to her kids, always encouraging and generous. Families were also fond of Kathryn because she listened to their concerns and went the second mile to make home-life successful. The larger challenge at work was dealing with the big bureaucracies of public health in Sacramento and Washington D.C. Amongst systemweary clinicians, Kathryn managed to build morale through inclusive leadership. One colleague said, “you felt better about yourself and your work if you were on the team with KB. She brought esprit de corps.” Outspoken when necessary, Kathryn was proud to share her political roots from Antioch College and principles of quality OT care from her training at San Jose State. Sometimes Kathryn would branch out and do disability awareness in public classrooms. She loved going incognito with her prosthesis, then “coming out” to kids who’d never interacted with a person with disabilities, encouraging them to ask ANY question.

For Kathryn nothing was more important than family. She was the youngest of four who grew up in Palo Alto and it was she who had a special relationship with each of her siblings (Marcia, Gordon, and Charlie) and parents — dedicated, whimsical, dramafree, attentive, and always seeking the immediate emotional truth (no BS). As an adult she was the undisputed “Cool Aunt” to Rosalind, Bryan, Whitney, Jonathan, David, Miranda, Riely, and Alex. She “got it” way better than their parents, created fun adventures in the outdoors and overnights at her house, and showed what an adult life with integrity looks like. It was Maya Angelou who said, “I sustain myself with the love of family.” Central to Kathryn’s daily orbit was Dorothy, her mother who lived independently and next door for the past 20 years. They shared care of the dog, neighborhood friendships, transporting Skylar hither and yon, hybrid vehicles, the New York Times, and a fierce conviction we’d seen our best leadership under Barack and Michelle Obama (Michelle in 2020?). Dorothy, who at 94 gets kudos for her longevity and good health, deflects the praise and puts credit on having Kathryn next door and daughter Marcia 10 minutes away. Those sisters, Kathryn and Marcia (7 years older) were like two chambers of the heart of the family. They took their own trips together, helped raise each other’s kids, recovered from staggering injuries in tandem, planned all family gatherings, and made sure no birthday or special event was forgotten. Together in uncanny ways they understood when Angelou said, “We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends, and living our lives.” We can all say we knew someone who actually lived this way — Kathryn Ann Black.

Kathryn is survived by her wife, Nancy Henderson, her daughter, Skylar Mei Chao Henderson Black (age 16), her mother, Dorothy Booz Black (age 94), and her siblings, Marcia, Gordon, and Charles Black. Kathryn’s father was John Davies Black who died in 1993 (age 74). Kathryn and Jack shared a wry senseof humor when people took themselves a little too seriously.

Please donate to BORP or the Sarcoma Foundation of America in lieu of flowers in “Kathryn Ann Black Memory.”.

Kathryn Ann Black

Birth Date: June 15, 1958 Death Date: September 1, 2017

When Kathryn crossed the finish line on September 1, 2017, cradled in the arms of her devoteds and beloveds, she was still leaning forward to grasp every last moment, for that was how she lived with incredible fullness during her 59 years. The diagnosis of sarcoma cancer came 22 months ago, and in that time she laughed and teased with her amazing circle of friends and family, fought through three rounds of chemo and open heart surgery, and managed to find the quiet beauty of each day — often on the shady back deck of her Oakland home. But most of all, Kathryn summoned her energy as mother to Skylar, 16-years old and best daughter in the world. “Mama K” was confidante, co-adventurer, board game wizard, sparkling center of big family dinners, advisor in love, social media toddler, encourager, and the tenderest comforter you could ever find. Kathryn’s life partner is Nancy Henderson, their relationship beginning in 1990 and married in 2013; they shared deep loves of travel, social justice, extended families, and most of all, Skylar.

How often do we have a world-class athlete in our midst? That was Kathryn to the core. She was a member of the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team that won the World Cup Games in France and Venezuela, and was an alternate on the USA Team for the Paralympic Games in Atlanta 1996. But in typical Kathryn fashion she explained those origins in a down-to-earth and modest way. “I had never been a basketball player in high school. Swimming, biking, and backpacking were the activities I enjoyed then. After I lost my leg, I swam, learned to explore the wilderness in a canoe, and took a few cycling tours. I was, however, confused about where I fit into the world of athletics and disability. I didn’t identify as ‘disabled’ because I could walk, and when I wore pants no one could tell I was an amputee. Then wheelchair basketball came along, or rather someone came along on a day I was using crutches and recruited me before I had time to think.” Kathryn had become a below-the-knee amputee at age 17 when bicycling and hit by a a school bus. What followed changed her life and the lives of many many others.

Kathryn was a stellar member of the Bay Area Meteorites, our local women’s wheelchair basketball team, through the 1990s and lent her considerable athletic skill, enthusiasm and determination, fund-raising, and team-first attitude to bring about the team’s success. In fact, Kathryn met Nancy in those early days. The team was affiliated with Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP), and Kathryn went on to have a lifelong affection and allegiance with the organization — including being inducted into the BORP Hall of Fame in 2016. Last year since Kathryn couldn’t ride herself in the fundraiser, friends and family formed the KB All Stars in her honor, which from now on will be an annual event/party.

Kathryn’s work was as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist for California Children’s Services for over 20 years. Her main populations were kids with Cerebral Palsy, some with reduced cognitive capacity, some with cognition intact. Kathryn was known to be tirelessly committed to her kids, always encouraging and generous. Families were also fond of Kathryn because she listened to their concerns and went the second mile to make home-life successful. The larger challenge at work was dealing with the big bureaucracies of public health in Sacramento and Washington D.C. Amongst systemweary clinicians, Kathryn managed to build morale through inclusive leadership. One colleague said, “you felt better about yourself and your work if you were on the team with KB. She brought esprit de corps.” Outspoken when necessary, Kathryn was proud to share her political roots from Antioch College and principles of quality OT care from her training at San Jose State. Sometimes Kathryn would branch out and do disability awareness in public classrooms. She loved going incognito with her prosthesis, then “coming out” to kids who’d never interacted with a person with disabilities, encouraging them to ask ANY question.

For Kathryn nothing was more important than family. She was the youngest of four who grew up in Palo Alto and it was she who had a special relationship with each of her siblings (Marcia, Gordon, and Charlie) and parents — dedicated, whimsical, dramafree, attentive, and always seeking the immediate emotional truth (no BS). As an adult she was the undisputed “Cool Aunt” to Rosalind, Bryan, Whitney, Jonathan, David, Miranda, Riely, and Alex. She “got it” way better than their parents, created fun adventures in the outdoors and overnights at her house, and showed what an adult life with integrity looks like. It was Maya Angelou who said, “I sustain myself with the love of family.” Central to Kathryn’s daily orbit was Dorothy, her mother who lived independently and next door for the past 20 years. They shared care of the dog, neighborhood friendships, transporting Skylar hither and yon, hybrid vehicles, the New York Times, and a fierce conviction we’d seen our best leadership under Barack and Michelle Obama (Michelle in 2020?). Dorothy, who at 94 gets kudos for her longevity and good health, deflects the praise and puts credit on having Kathryn next door and daughter Marcia 10 minutes away. Those sisters, Kathryn and Marcia (7 years older) were like two chambers of the heart of the family. They took their own trips together, helped raise each other’s kids, recovered from staggering injuries in tandem, planned all family gatherings, and made sure no birthday or special event was forgotten. Together in uncanny ways they understood when Angelou said, “We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends, and living our lives.” We can all say we knew someone who actually lived this way — Kathryn Ann Black.

Kathryn is survived by her wife, Nancy Henderson, her daughter, Skylar Mei Chao Henderson Black (age 16), her mother, Dorothy Booz Black (age 94), and her siblings, Marcia, Gordon, and Charles Black. Kathryn’s father was John Davies Black who died in 1993 (age 74). Kathryn and Jack shared a wry senseof humor when people took themselves a little too seriously.

Please donate to BORP or the Sarcoma Foundation of America in lieu of flowers in “Kathryn Ann Black Memory.”.

 

Birth Date: June 15, 1958 Death Date: September 1, 2017

When Kathryn crossed the finish line on September 1, 2017, cradled in the arms of her devoteds and beloveds, she was still leaning forward to grasp every last moment, for that was how she lived with incredible fullness during her 59 years. The diagnosis of sarcoma cancer came 22 months ago, and in that time she laughed and teased with her amazing circle of friends and family, fought through three rounds of chemo and open heart surgery, and managed to find the quiet beauty of each day — often on the shady back deck of her Oakland home. But most of all, Kathryn summoned her energy as mother to Skylar, 16-years old and best daughter in the world. “Mama K” was confidante, co-adventurer, board game wizard, sparkling center of big family dinners, advisor in love, social media toddler, encourager, and the tenderest comforter you could ever find. Kathryn’s life partner is Nancy Henderson, their relationship beginning in 1990 and married in 2013; they shared deep loves of travel, social justice, extended families, and most of all, Skylar.

How often do we have a world-class athlete in our midst? That was Kathryn to the core. She was a member of the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team that won the World Cup Games in France and Venezuela, and was an alternate on the USA Team for the Paralympic Games in Atlanta 1996. But in typical Kathryn fashion she explained those origins in a down-to-earth and modest way. “I had never been a basketball player in high school. Swimming, biking, and backpacking were the activities I enjoyed then. After I lost my leg, I swam, learned to explore the wilderness in a canoe, and took a few cycling tours. I was, however, confused about where I fit into the world of athletics and disability. I didn’t identify as ‘disabled’ because I could walk, and when I wore pants no one could tell I was an amputee. Then wheelchair basketball came along, or rather someone came along on a day I was using crutches and recruited me before I had time to think.” Kathryn had become a below-the-knee amputee at age 17 when bicycling and hit by a a school bus. What followed changed her life and the lives of many many others.

Kathryn was a stellar member of the Bay Area Meteorites, our local women’s wheelchair basketball team, through the 1990s and lent her considerable athletic skill, enthusiasm and determination, fund-raising, and team-first attitude to bring about the team’s success. In fact, Kathryn met Nancy in those early days. The team was affiliated with Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP), and Kathryn went on to have a lifelong affection and allegiance with the organization — including being inducted into the BORP Hall of Fame in 2016. Last year since Kathryn couldn’t ride herself in the fundraiser, friends and family formed the KB All Stars in her honor, which from now on will be an annual event/party.

Kathryn’s work was as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist for California Children’s Services for over 20 years. Her main populations were kids with Cerebral Palsy, some with reduced cognitive capacity, some with cognition intact. Kathryn was known to be tirelessly committed to her kids, always encouraging and generous. Families were also fond of Kathryn because she listened to their concerns and went the second mile to make home-life successful. The larger challenge at work was dealing with the big bureaucracies of public health in Sacramento and Washington D.C. Amongst systemweary clinicians, Kathryn managed to build morale through inclusive leadership. One colleague said, “you felt better about yourself and your work if you were on the team with KB. She brought esprit de corps.” Outspoken when necessary, Kathryn was proud to share her political roots from Antioch College and principles of quality OT care from her training at San Jose State. Sometimes Kathryn would branch out and do disability awareness in public classrooms. She loved going incognito with her prosthesis, then “coming out” to kids who’d never interacted with a person with disabilities, encouraging them to ask ANY question.

For Kathryn nothing was more important than family. She was the youngest of four who grew up in Palo Alto and it was she who had a special relationship with each of her siblings (Marcia, Gordon, and Charlie) and parents — dedicated, whimsical, dramafree, attentive, and always seeking the immediate emotional truth (no BS). As an adult she was the undisputed “Cool Aunt” to Rosalind, Bryan, Whitney, Jonathan, David, Miranda, Riely, and Alex. She “got it” way better than their parents, created fun adventures in the outdoors and overnights at her house, and showed what an adult life with integrity looks like. It was Maya Angelou who said, “I sustain myself with the love of family.” Central to Kathryn’s daily orbit was Dorothy, her mother who lived independently and next door for the past 20 years. They shared care of the dog, neighborhood friendships, transporting Skylar hither and yon, hybrid vehicles, the New York Times, and a fierce conviction we’d seen our best leadership under Barack and Michelle Obama (Michelle in 2020?). Dorothy, who at 94 gets kudos for her longevity and good health, deflects the praise and puts credit on having Kathryn next door and daughter Marcia 10 minutes away. Those sisters, Kathryn and Marcia (7 years older) were like two chambers of the heart of the family. They took their own trips together, helped raise each other’s kids, recovered from staggering injuries in tandem, planned all family gatherings, and made sure no birthday or special event was forgotten. Together in uncanny ways they understood when Angelou said, “We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends, and living our lives.” We can all say we knew someone who actually lived this way — Kathryn Ann Black.

Kathryn is survived by her wife, Nancy Henderson, her daughter, Skylar Mei Chao Henderson Black (age 16), her mother, Dorothy Booz Black (age 94), and her siblings, Marcia, Gordon, and Charles Black. Kathryn’s father was John Davies Black who died in 1993 (age 74). Kathryn and Jack shared a wry senseof humor when people took themselves a little too seriously.

Please donate to BORP or the Sarcoma Foundation of America in lieu of flowers in “Kathryn Ann Black Memory.”.