Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Tribute to Dr. Kathryn Coe


Dr. Mary Kathryn Coe Ph.D., aged 78, passed away on September 19, 2021 in Mesa, Arizona. Kathryn was born at home on November 18, 1942, in Boulder City, NV. Her paternal grandfather, C.H. Ellis, MD, delivered her at home with maternal grandmother Lizzie LouKate Wilson Jackson RN, who assisted. Her father Percy Ellis Coe was working as an engineer on the Boulder Dam project, and her mother, Mary Ernest Jackson Coe, supported his efforts by creating a loving home away from home during war time.  Kathryn grew up in Wellton, AZ as well as in Scottsdale, AZ. Attending both Antelope Union, Camelback and Arcadia High Schools. She was the third generation to study at Arizona State University, where she earned her degree in English, with minors in philosophy and history, in 1965.  

 She married shortly after graduating and they lived overseas and traveled the world. She had two children, Blair and Trentham. Kathryn partook of many adventures, she studied at universities in Colombia, Spain, and Ecuador. She studied Roman horseback riding with the Ecuadorean military and traveled the Amazon River by dugout with her children. She was always up for an adventure. After a divorce, Kathryn returned to the United States with her children to be close to family. Kathryn worked for the Heard Museum, The Arizona Republic, COMPASS, The Arizona Health Department, and Arizona State University. Undaunted as a single parent she pursued her Ph.D. in Anthropology and Evolutionary Biology at Arizona State.  Her thesis was on the importance of Ancestors, from her field research in the lowlands of Ecuador. Kathryn was a professor at the Phoenix College, University of Missouri, Colombia, University of Arizona, and Indianapolis University Purdue University Indianapolis where she mentored many students in Anthropology and Public Health. She published extensively, her CV is 24 pages long, and authored two books, (The Ancestress Hypothesis and another one due in March). She felt that teaching was a sacred contract with her students and devoted as much time to them as she could. She was an exceptional listener. Just before she retired, she met the love of her life, Al Waitz, who cared and loved her as she so richly deserved. She and Al spent their time at home in the foothills of Gold Canyon when they were not traveling more of the world together.  

Kathryn was a quiet yet fierce woman – holding fast to her beliefs, defending those she loved, and always seeking to better herself and those around her. She was an amazing listener and had immeasurable patience. She was full of surprises and had a wide variety of talents. She loved her family and enjoyed her close relationship with her sister, Anne Coe. Her children and grandchildren were her greatest love, and they were extremely fortunate to have her as their mother and grandmother.  

She was preceded in death by her parents, Percy and Mary Coe, and her brother Jack Coe. She is survived by her loving husband, Al Waitz, her sister, Anne Coe, her daughter Blair Coe Schweiger, her son, Trentham Coe, her son-in-law Christoph Schweiger and her grandchildren Samuel Coe, Jacob Coe, and Josef Schweiger as well as by her cousins Judi Adams, Bill Adams, Kim Evangelist, and Dakota Adams. She is also survived by the students she so faithfully served over her years of teaching; they were family too. 

- Testimonial written by Blair Coe Schweiger