Albany, NY-Kathryn Allen, 64, passed away on October 2nd surrounded by the love of her daughters and her fiancée. Her fierce fourteen-month battle with brain cancer ended peacefully at her home of twenty-five years in Albany, New York.
Kathryn was born and raised in Decatur, Illinois, where, as she loved to remind her children when they complained about chores, her first job was detassling corn in the hot Midwestern sun. She graduated from Southern Illinois University in 1977 and continued her education at the University of North Carolina with a degree in Masters of Science in Public Health in 1982.
Her passion for the health of women and children fueled an ambitious public health career. She was proudest of her achievement as President of the New York Health Plan Association (formerly the New York State HMO Conference), and was acknowledged with a Women of Excellence award from the Capital Region Chamber for excellence in the not-for-profit sector.
In 1998 she shifted her focus to community service and raising a family. She was President of the Board of The Albany Symphony, an active parent and volunteer at the Montessori School of Albany, and launched a pioneering conference on domestic violence at Unity House, where she was a dedicated volunteer and served as the President of the board until the time of her passing.
Above all, she created a warm and loving home and a magical and wonder-filled childhood for her daughters Alexandra and Olivia, maintained countless close friendships, and remained a devoted daughter from afar.
In 2010 she embraced her lifelong love of the written word, earning a Master’s of Fine Arts from Bennington College in Creative Writing. She later began a historical fiction novel about Abraham Lincoln’s stepmother that was being edited at the time of her passing.
In 2011 she met Richard Miller, and a new chapter of happiness began. Together they shared a beautiful life of skiing, biking, facing off in tennis, attending concerts, showing up at the wrong time for movies at The Spectrum, and lovingly renovating their second home on Martha’s Vineyard.
She was an ardent political volunteer and activist; co-founding the political action committee Capital Women in the wake of the 2016 election. She was later honored with the Activating Democracy Award from the Center of Women in Government and Civil Society.
She will be remembered for her passion, intelligence, generosity, commitment to service and social justice, and the mountains she moved on behalf of those in need. Though life put many challenges in her path, she never failed to find something to be thankful for.
Kathryn’s life of beaming gratitude can be summed up in the first thing she said to her doctor upon hearing her terminal diagnosis: “You know, I’ve been so blessed. I always felt I already had more than my fair share.”
She is survived by her daughters: Alexandra and Olivia Baackes; her fiancée, Richard Miller; her mother, Joyce Allen; her brothers: Dave and Mark Allen; her niece, Kirsten Allen; her nephews: Eric and Cody Allen; former spouse and close friend, John Baackes, and countless other loved ones.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, October 5 at the Bush Memorial Hall in Troy. The family will be available to greet guests starting at 2 p.m. with a service beginning at 3 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Unity House, Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure or STRIDE Adaptive Sports. In honor of her love of friendship and fresh air, the family will be dedicating park benches in Albany, Martha’s Vineyard and Decatur. To leave a special message for the family, please visit NewComerAlbany.com
“All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” – Abraham Lincoln