Katie Hendrickson

 

February 29, 2024

Kathryn (Katie) Ann Hendrickson, beloved wife, mother, sister, teacher, and friend, passed away on February 4, 2024, at the age of 69 in Juneau, Alaska. She was born in 1954 in Longview, Washington, the oldest child with four younger brothers and eventually joined by dearly loved step siblings as well. She spent her formative years in the small community of Puget Island surrounded by the beautiful Columbia river. She graduated in 1972 with honors from Wahkiakum High School in Cathlamet, Washington and attended Lower Columbia College in Longview, Washington.

Katie's life was marked by a profound commitment to education and service. She earned her Bachelor's degree from Western Washington University, and later a Master's in Early Childhood Special Education from Portland State University. Her passion for teaching led her to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer in Jamaica.

In pursuit of love and adventure, Katie moved to Juneau, Alaska, to join her soulmate, Jagdish Yellesetty. They married in 1982 and built a life together in Juneau, raising their daughter Leela and creating cherished memories that spanned decades. In addition to Juneau, Katie also taught in public schools in Portland, Oregon and Olympia, Washington. Katie's career as an educator flourished as she dedicated herself to nurturing young minds, specializing in kindergarten, first-grade, and preschool special needs classes.

Beyond the classroom, Katie found solace and strength in her yoga practice, which she shared with others as a teacher for many years. She and Jagdish shared a deep connection to his home country of India, where they visited many times and even lived there with Leela for a year. Katie embraced her family there, immersed herself in the culture and found a spiritual home in Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism). She and Jagdish shared a love of travel that took them across the globe, enriching their lives with diverse experiences and perspectives.

She volunteered, supported and advocated for causes that promote child welfare and peace at home and in the world.

Despite facing the challenges of breast cancer, Katie approached life with unwavering optimism and resilience. Her decision to embrace hospice care in her final days reflected her desire to find peace and joy surrounded by loved ones and taking in Juneau's natural beauty and wildlife from her window. The outpouring of love and support from friends and family is a testament to the profound impact she had on all who knew her.

Katie's light continues to shine brightly in the hearts of those she leaves behind. Her kindness, generosity, and unwavering positivity were a beacon of hope in a sometimes-dark world. In a holiday message sent to loved ones soon before her passing, Katie shared these words from Robin Wall Kimmerer, a fitting encapsulation of her approach to both life and death:

“Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of

wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but

because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.”

Katie is survived by her husband Jagdish, her daughter Leela and son-in-law Nathaniel, and a host of relatives and friends too numerous to list who will carry her memory forward with love and gratitude. Though she may be gone from this world, her spirit lives on in the countless lives she touched and the memories she leaves behind. May her legacy of love and joy inspire us all to live life to the fullest.

Celebrations of Katie's life are being planned in Washington and Alaska:

March 9th, 12:30-3pm at the Norse Hall on Puget Island

Address: 444 WA-409, Cathlamet, WA 98612

June 29th, 4-7 pm at Sandy Beach (Savikko #1 Shelter) in Douglas, Alaska.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the following charities in her memory:

https://lymphaticnetwork.kindful.com/?campaign=1145335

https://www.sewausa.org/Donate {Chapter: Other}

Contacts: Jagdish Yellesetty (jagdishy@gmail.com); Leela Yellesetty (leela23@gmail.com)

 

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