Kathleen Mackintosh

Date of Birth

December 12, 1933

Date of Death

December 23, 2010

City of Death

Santa Barbara

December 12, 1933 – December 23, 2010

Kathleen Mackintosh passed away at her home in Santa Barbara on December 23, 2010, after a long battle with cancer. Kathy was notable for her substantial success in this battle: she gained good time, years, in remission along the way, and spent it enjoying time with her family.

Kathy was born to Bernice and Harold Knight in Seattle on December 12, 1933. Her mother unfortunately passed away soon after her birth. She was then lovingly nurtured for her first three years by Genevieve Morris, her maternal grandmother. Kathy’s father, Harold Knight, worked on ships and ports in the Northwest. When he remarried, he moved the family to Juneau, Alaska. Kathy had many fond memories of her years in Alaska. With the advent of World War Two, her father was drafted to the defense of the Aleutian Islands to manage military shipping there. Being close to the action, he saw its potential and feared a Japanese attack on Juneau, where a large fuel depot was located. A few days after her seventh birthday, Kathy departed her home in Juneau with her brother Chatfield and her stepmother, slipping silently down the Inside Passage at night on a blacked-out ship bound for the safety of Seattle.

Kathy attended St. Paul’s School in Washington, and then attended Reed College. At Reed College, she discovered her life long interest in painting and the visual arts. She attended the California School of fine arts in San Francisco, now called the SF Art Institute. In San Francisco, she met friends that she was to love and be with for the rest of her life: Jo Ann Holley, Marianne Dunlop, Sandra Carlson and she met and married Graham Mackintosh; they had a daughter, Caitlin. Kathy took time to raise her daughter, then eventually returned to school and finished her degree at the California College of Arts and Crafts.

During a train trip in the early 1960’s with her daughter Caitlin, Kathy disembarked the train at the Santa Barbara train station to take a walk. It was sunset and the mountains above the city were luminous pink and amazingly beautiful. Kathy said, “We must live here.”

Kathy, Graham and Caitlin moved to Santa Barbara in 1968. Kathy worked at the UC Santa Barbara Library, happily finding that a long time friend was already there: Marilyn Meyer from the SF Bay Area. Kathy enjoyed working at the university. Eventually, she moved to the UCSB Arts Library, where she worked as a supervisor for many years.

During the early years, she and her family lived on the West Side of Santa Barbara, where she and Graham were at the center of pleasant literary society. Her neighbors, Linda Benet and Jerry Haggerty became long-time friends, and they were part of a tradition of literary events, art happenings, and friendships on Gillespie Street.

When first arriving in Santa Barbara, Kathy fell in love with the Mesa area. During a tour, she was introduced to it as a place where tradesmen lived. From that time on, she held as a goal the idea of living on the Mesa, close to Pacific Ocean, which she loved reverently throughout her life. Kathy divorced in 1974, and moved to her home on the Mesa. During this time, she entered into relationship with Jim Brooke, which lasted for the rest of her life. Jim stood steadfastly by her through health and illness and with him, she enjoyed life, entertaining and traveling extensively. Typical of her life wisdom Kathy took an early retirement to allow more time for the things she loved to do: see new places, paint landscapes, and appreciate cultural differences. Kathy had a deep love of movies, and had an incredible memory for actors and movie facts. Evenings without number passed pleasantly as movies obscure or block-busting were analyzed and enjoyed.

Kathy will always be remembered as an outstanding watercolor painter. She left a modest body of extraordinary work. Her works were so accomplished in handling the colors and textures of land, water, landscape, and above all, light, that they compel long contemplation. Her major works, mostly sold to private collectors, are revered by their owners.

Kathy was an extraordinarily charitable person and a touchstone for her friends and family. She was glad to spend time tending the family. She expressed deep regret for not being able to spend more years with her granddaughters, Annelle and Tali, who she helped bring home.

Kathy gave real support to her friends and family at critical times through the years, as she did caring for Ren and Jamie when they were little, and gave support when it made a real difference. She enriched the people’s lives she touched. Her passing saddens Jim Brooke, Linda Benet, Marilyn Meyer, Ellen Ratcliffe, Annelle and Tali, Daniel and Julia Brooke, Ren and Jamie, Claudia Hardy, Sarkis and Brooke, Leslie Ross, Paolo, Acer and Sylvano, as well as Zoila and Greg, Ron Vicki and Graham Mackintosh, Lydia Emard and Deborah McCleister as well as many more people whom she loved and cherished.

Her courage, grit, and toughness cannot be described adequately; she loved this world so much she was loathe to leave it until she must. Those of us who now carry on without her know a terrible loss. Yet, we can be secure in the knowledge that if there is place where the heroes of this life congregate, she will be there. Or, if in passing we evolve into a spirit among us and in our hearts, she shines brightly there, bringing us comfort and kindness as she did all her life.

There will be a gathering Kathleen Mackintosh at Unity House 1626 Santa Barbara St. this Saturday, March 19th. Noon to 6:00pm, 455-5634 for more information.

Please make any memorial gift for Kathleen Marie Mackintosh in her name to the VNHC (Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care), 222 East Canon Perdido St. , Santa Barbara, CA 93101. The angels from this organization worked tirelessly for the comfort and happiness of Kathy. Special thanks for Barbara Pell RN, Susan Saperstein RN, Eva Mata CNA and Cheryl Bench MFT for their extraordinary caring and support.

“When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty, — that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

John Keats. 1795–1821

From Caitlin Mackintosh, Santa Barbara, 2011


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