RIP Kate Yule

Kate Yule (photo by Ellen Datlow)

Kate had an infectious laugh.

She would be sitting, quietly knitting on something, and you might be fooled into thinking that she wasn’t paying attention, but then she would come out with a zinger. Her sense of play expressed itself in words.

The cruelest thing about the cancer she fought was that it stole her words from her. Aphasia. A single word to describe a range of effects — and for Kate, it took her ability to find the right word. She was a polyglot and picked up languages for fun. She read, voraciously, and oh– the conversations.

She has left an enormous hole.

For other people, we talk about having a moment of silence. For Kate… cancer did that already. Let’s have a moment of laughter.

Find something today that delights you and laugh, and describe it in words, and remember Kate.

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19 Responses

  1. Laurie Mann

    Paul, and it would have been a pleasure. I pretty much just knew her through Bento (her longtime fanzine with her husband David) and occasional meetings at Worldcon. She was always fun to be with and I regretted not seeing her more often.

  2. Aaron I. Spielman

    I only met Kate a handful of times, all in the company of her husband David. I like her quite a bit – as you point out, her humor was sharp and talking with her was always fun.

    My condolences and much sympathy to David and Kate’s families.

    Thanks for letting us know, Mary.

  3. Cory Skerry

    Thank you. The way you wrote this made me feel slightly better by reminding me what she would want. I’ll go out today and find something to enjoy in her honor.

  4. Bill Eyler

    Kate’s illness and death are profound. I feel fortunate that I was able to break bread with her and David on September 12 when I was visiting Portland.

    I was introduced to her at least 20 years ago through Michael McMullen, also deceased, through square dancing. Her joy in the activity brought a freshness that was missing–she even convinced David over time to join in. Friendships made through the dance tend to last for a very long time.

    I admired her amazing inquisitiveness and her sometimes edgy, but always loving, humor. We danced together many times through the years. I admired the relationship she had with David, one that was not ‘in the norm’ of most marriages. Being asked to call a square dance at their 20th anniversary/Bento celebration five years ago has lasting memories.

    I’ll miss Kate. I’ve missed her these many months when she was unable to communicate normally, but David was a wonder of keeping us updated in spite of his own amazingly hectic schedule. Losing touch with David would also be a great loss; I hope this doesn’t happen.

  5. Chaz Brenchley

    Thanks, Mary. That’s very much to the point, that there is a silence now where there should still have been Kate. I was lucky enough to spend time with her three months back, when to all appearances she was still getting better – and I hate that I do have to think of that as lucky, given how much she was struggling even then. Still: we bought books, we had lunch, we laughed a lot. That’s something to hold on to.

  6. Alma Alexander

    I knew David far better than I ever knew Kate – but our paths did cross now and then, and there are sufficient friends in common for me to understand that she was a pretty special person. It’s hard to laugh in a moment like this for but for her sake I’ll smile… and my thoughts are with David in this moment of profound loss.

  7. Beth Friedman

    Kate and I only met a handful of times, but I always enjoyed geeking with her about knitting. She was a much better knitter than me, but she was the one who made me realize that knit lace may look like magic, but it’s still just variations on knit and purl stitches.

  8. Vicki Harrison

    I didn’t know Kate well but was fortunate enough to meet her on various occasions.

    I do remember her sweetness and sense of humor. She will be greatly missed.

  9. Berni Phillips Bratman

    Thank you. This was lovely. I’ve known Kate and David for close to 30 years. I will miss her: her enthusiasm for fanzines and knitting and square dancing and life in general. So great a loss, such a great woman.

  10. Rick Simkin

    When Kate found something delightful she could simultaneously enjoy it and enjoy sharing it. I think of David and Kate’s video about Swedish Fish sushi and I still smile, years later.

    Kate also did one of the most adult things I’ve ever witnessed: when a conversation started to veer into bickering, she stepped out of the situation to ask about the bickering, solved the problem, and stepped back into the conversation that resumed a useful direction. I’m still in awe.

    I’m square dancing this weekend. Kate and David will be on my mind.

  11. Barbara Limandri

    I knew Kate and David through the Rosetown Ramblers. Kate and I would often dance together and she was a joy to know. I’ve lost touch with she and David since I stopped dancing but keep up with things from the background. The world will be a quieter place with Kate and that is a tragedy. My thoughts are with you David as you grieve and will all of us who will grieve her passing.
    Barbara

  12. Elsa Chen

    I am sorry Kate is gone. She was a friend of my in-laws in college and beyond. I met her at SF conventions and loved reading about her travels in Bento. I liked her and looked up to her. She was admirable in so many ways. Multilingual, able to self-teach to or beyond fluency in not only languages but many other skills, organized and a good planner, whether nuts-and-bolts day-to-day stuff or travel logistics or bringing light, happiness, and new experiences into her own and other lives. A beautiful person and positive personality, someone who thought about things and made people think. I’m sorry, to David, her partner and best friend and teammate, who fought for her to the last. And to her many close friends, who also get how super she was.