Remembering Kathleen Tolan

It is with immeasurable sadness that I write to tell you that we have lost our beloved Kathleen Tolan. She died in her sleep on December 4, at the age of 53.

There is no loss that our organization could ever suffer that could be so deep, so devastating. Kathleen supported each of us with boundless love and intensity. For all of her Titan strength, she was the gentlest of souls. She kept her eye on the forest and also on each blade of grass. She asked to see photos of our children in their Halloween costumes, she sent texts on the anniversary of a parent’s death, a child’s birthday. She saw who we were and what we needed—not so much for comfort but for reasons to live, for senses of ourselves, for horizons to reach towards.

To know Kathleen was to know how much she loved her family—her sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews, her mom and dad, Pat and Jim. We all became her family. We are her sons and daughters, sisters and brothers.

Kathleen was such an amazing life-changing teacher that each one of us has been forever changed by her. Although the world has lost the most brilliant and beautiful champion for kids and for literacy, we carry her light within us.


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Those wishing to honor Tolan’s memory are encouraged to support the Kathleen Tolan Memorial Fund. Click here to make a gift