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Kathryn Nilson MacDiarmid

Kathryn “Katie” Nilson MacDiarmid, 31, passed away in an automobile accident near Susanville, Calif., Saturday, December 19, 2015.

She was born October 25, 1984 in Oakland, Calif. and moved with her family to Medford, Ore. as a young child. Katie attended local elementary schools, was a 2003 graduate of St. Mary’s School, and earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Oregon in 2007.

From an early age, Katie had a great love of the outdoors, and carried that passion into all aspects of her life. She was an accomplished climber, runner, kayaker, and backpacker who hiked throughout the West, cycled across the United States, and loved to travel with family and friends.

After college, she spent several years leading at-risk youth on trail crews and on outdoor adventures. She taught at outdoor schools in North Carolina, Oregon and northern California. In 2009, she served for a year as a volunteer teacher in Cofradia, Honduras through BECA Schools (Bilingual Education in Central America.) She returned for two summers to train new teachers and also created a science curriculum for kindergarten through eighth grade students.

In 2011, Katie returned to southern Oregon to earn her master’s degree in environmental education from Southern Oregon University. She received the degree and her teaching credential in 2013, and later that year, joined the staff at Hedrick Middle School in Medford as a seventh grade science teacher. Katie had tremendous dedication and a natural talent for teaching. She could ignite curiosity in her students and she encouraged them to use science to investigate and discover the world around them.

Katie loved gardening, cooking, knitting, writing, music, poetry, and good books. A beloved daughter, granddaughter, sister, and friend, Katie was an authentic, deeply caring, young woman who enriched her world.  Her memory will be cherished by many.

Katie is survived by her parents, John MacLeod MacDiarmid and Julie Nilson MacDiarmid; her brother, Duncan Nilson MacDiarmid; her grandparents, Allan and Carole Nilson; 14 loving aunts and uncles; numerous cousins; and many friends.

A memorial service will be held at noon, Saturday, December 26, 2015 at the Ashland First Congregational United Church of Christ in Ashland. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to BECA Schools (www.becaschools.org) or Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center in Ashland (www.kswild.org).

Kathryn Nilson MacDiarmid