In Memory

Kathleen Moore

Kathleen Moore

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05/27/21 02:23 PM #1    

Vicki Meece (Knowles)

Thank you, Janet Haynes Lehman and Conni Spiegle, for sharing this sad news about Kathy Moore. The following obituary was posted in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News in Moscow, Idaho, on April 11, 2021.


Kay’s life adventure ended Sunday, April 11, 2021, in her home in Moscow. She will be sorely missed by the many people who were touched by her kindness and wisdom.

Kay was born July 7, 1947, the first child of Robert and Fran Moore, and grew up in a bedroom community of Philadelphia. As a young woman, she left finishing school after one year and embarked on a path of uncommon options. She entered the U.S. Navy and served from 1968-69 as an electrician, often the only woman in her crew. She made her home in California, and worked as a lineman and frameman for Pacific Bell from 1971 until 1980, again the only woman in her work crews. She moved to Moscow in 1980 and had many jobs, most notably as a caregiver for disabled men in her home. She was also a “very nontraditional student” at University of Idaho and graduated in her 40s.


If Kay were to claim any accomplishment in her life, it would be earning the title of “Kay-Mama” to 33 street children in San Diego. This was not a profession, but a calling. She welcomed struggling teenagers into her home without question. She talked to them, fed and housed them, took them to the opera and ballet, and assisted them with an education. She would later admit that, though it appeared she was helping them, they were actually the ones saving her. Though she did not talk about it openly, she was recovering from a rape, the loss of a child she gave up for adoption, and her soul mate’s suicide. Whenever she said to the street kids: “You are loved, wanted, and important,” God was also saying this to her.

In Moscow, Kay housed about 90 people in her home on 1029 Colt St. between 1980 and 2021 — international students, domestic students, several disabled men and people just trying to find their way in life. She listened, accepted unconditionally, and gave without expectation.

She will be greatly missed by her church family in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For years, she shared her wisdom in conversation and from her seat on the back row. Favorite gems are the following:

Life is a rip-roaring adventure of self-education!

The whole trick to being connected to God is gratitude, which opens up your mind and heart to see all the beautiful people in front of you. This state of mind helps you see that it’s not about what you want, but about what you have and how well you can use it.

When you see a problem and can do something about it, why not do it? Everybody has a dysfunctional family, and someone has to give a damn.

Make friends with your difficulties, then they will not have so much negative power.

Kay joins her soul mate, Dennis Orson Despain, in a better place. She leaves pieces of her soul in her siblings: Frank Moore, of Florida, Roberta Moore, of Montana, and Alice Moore, of Maryland. She leaves a legacy of kindness for her children: Scott Taylor (biological son), of California; David Rios Moore (adopted son), of Moscow; and nonbiological children Mike and Joan Allen, of Palouse, John Rios, of San Francisco, and many more.

Kay wishes to thank the many people who helped, visited and phoned during her last few months. For a person who spent so much of her life giving, it was a beautiful time to receive gifts of kindness in return. Though in pain from cancer, she said that those months were some of her happiest.

A celebration of life is scheduled on Kay’s birthday, 6-8 p.m., Wednesday, July 7, 2021, at East City Park, Moscow. A memorial bench will be placed in the Old Arboretum on the University of Idaho campus, and Kay welcomes you to come and rest for a moment during your own life adventure. If you would like to share a story with her multi-faceted family about Kay’s impact on your life, or request some of her ashes to spread at a time of your own choosing, please email:

Arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel of Moscow and condolences may be left at

05/27/21 02:53 PM #2    

Vincent Summers

This one hurts especially much. Kathy Moore. I never called her Kay. I used to dance with her on occasion in dancing school. She was quiet, kind, gentle, never negative. So sad.

05/27/21 03:03 PM #3    

Josh Gitomer

Learning about Kathy's singular, altruistic life, it now fits perfectly with the tall, elegant young lady I knew in High School. Kathy carried herself with grace, maturity, and a slow, measured gait – almost a regal bearing. You could tell she was seeing things differently than most, but I could not explain it until I read this obituary. We only knew one another in English Class and on the Prom Committee, but she graciously invited me to visit her lovely home one Christmas, and I remember the tree was the most beautifully appointed I had ever seen. It had these unique candle-shaped lights that had to stand upright in the branches because there was a glowing, bubbling liquid inside each one that brought it to life. 

And here is yet another classmate whom I now wish I has shared  time and experiences with in the passing years. Her extraordinary life is a joy to discover, and reflects so well on our Haddonfield family. 

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