Kathleen Mary Oken
Kathleen Mary Oken found peace in the arms of her loving husband, Tom, the evening of Dec. 6 as she died at her home in Snowmass Village. Kathleen’s 15-year-old daughter Caitlin and sisters Colleen and Char were also by her side, and, as she wished, her dogs Little Guy and Janie were nestled in bed with her.Born in Akron, Ohio, on Nov. 17, 1951, to Clete and Katherine Reymann, she grew up in Tiffin, Ohio. She graduated from Calvert High School in 1969 and then Providence School of Nursing in 1972 as a registered nurse. In 1974 she moved to Denver to work on kidney transplant research at the University of Colorado Medical Center, then moved to the Aspen area in 1978, settling first in Redstone.In 1981, she began a 22-year nursing career with Orthopaedic Associates of Aspen and Glenwood Springs, holding positions of office nurse, first assistant in surgery, and clinical supervisor. Kathleen was a continual learner and in 1991 was certified as an orthopedic nurse practitioner. In 1995, she began her own business providing custom-fit knee braces while continuing to work part time at Orthopaedic Associates. She blended traditional and alternative medicine in her practice and helped many residents and visitors with their aching knees.Kathleen was an avid traveler, scuba diver, jewelry maker and gardener. She loved to work in her yard, and her free time was spent creating a living monument in and outside the house with flowers, plants, and trees. Her home is vibrant and beautiful because of her care.Kathleen was a nonsmoker and very health conscious, so her diagnosis of lung cancer 14 months ago came as a shock. She fought her cancer with a strength and courage that no one who knew her will ever forget. Her colleagues, friends and family rallied to her support, and made her realize more than ever before how much she was loved. She continued to travel and plan, and her faith and spirit grew, even as her body weakened. Her relationship with St. Benedict’s Monastery flourished. She strengthened the bonds that connected her family and friends, journeying to help her sister Maureen in Kentucky and drawing great solace from her family’s visits to her. Those she leaves feel terrible grief and enormous loss but will cherish her memory and the inspiration her bravery provided.Kathleen leaves behind her husband of 16 years and daughter; her father, Clete, of Tiffin; her brothers Larry (Cira) of Renton, Wash., and Jim (Gena) of Gig Harbor, Wash.; her sisters Colleen Reymann and Char (Bud) Hering of Bellevue, Wash., and Maureen Laux of Louisville, Ky.; her sister-in-law Nancy (Jim) Sheldon of Apple Valley, Minn.; and her nieces and nephews Brian and Patrick Reymann, Colin and Riley Hering, Carolyn and John Laux, Mike Sheldon and Laura (Chad) Vandertop.A funeral service will be held at the Snowmass Chapel at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 8. Immediately following the service, a dinner celebration of Kathleen’s life will be hosted by the Oken family at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Schermer Meeting Hall. The family asks that any donations be made to the Caitlin Oken Education Fund, c/o Paulette Dangler, Alpine Bank, 600 E. Hopkins Ave., Aspen, CO 81611.