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Kathryn Allen, immediate past Board Chair of Unity House and passionate volunteer, Passes Away

Kathryn Allen, Unity House’s immediate past Board Chair and so much more, passed away after battling brain cancer. She leaves a legacy of caring that is unmatched.

Kathryn first came to Unity House as a volunteer, primarily working with survivors of domestic violence. She was instrumental in planning some of Unity House’s most memorable events and was, along with her former husband John Baackes, a consistent source of support. She and John were steadfast donors and were instrumental in the building of Unity House’s Front Door, the community resource center where many programs are housed under one roof.

Over the years Kathryn filled various roles at Unity House, sometimes as a volunteer and for a time as an employee when she served as Director of Development. Among Kathryn’s greatest gifts was her writing, which she used to tell stories of those we serve. Her craft put a face to the needs in our community, and educated about the issues facing people living in poverty, adults with mental illness, people living with HIV/AIDS, children with developmental delays, and victims of domestic violence.

After leaving Unity House professionally to pursue her writing career, Kathryn continued to advocate for people in need: she never stopped volunteering for victims of domestic violence, she served on the Unity House board of directors, she wrote editorials about food insecurity, and she lobbied hard at the state and federal level for issues she cared about. In short, she never stopped showing up. In the words of Chris Burke, Unity House CEO, “Kathryn’s passion to make this world a more equitable place was unmatched, as was her caring for her family and many, many friends.”

She will be missed by many. A service celebrating Kathryn’s life is scheduled for Saturday, October 5th at Bush Memorial Hall, Sage College (50 First Street in Troy). The service begins at 3:00 pm.

Kathryn is survived by her daughters Alex and Olivia and her fiancée, Dick Miller, and her former husband John Baackes. We offer her family and friends our sincere condolences. We are sad for her passing and try to take comfort in having been part of a life well lived and inspiration from the gift of self she shared.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure, STRIDE Adaptive Sports, or Unity House.