Kate Doordan Klavan

Date of Birth

January 1, 1946

Date of Death

October 13, 2018

Kate Doordan Klavan, journalist, author, artist, care giver, passed away at home in Santa Barbara on October 13, 2018, of ALS. Born January 1, 1946, in Wilmington, Delaware, Kate graduated St. Mary’s Academy, South Bend, Indiana, and earned a B.A degree from Barat College in Lake Forest, Illinois. As spokesperson for the Heart Association in Philadelphia, she rode the traffic copter to deliver her public service announcements. Local radio (WPEN) liked the voice, so she entered broadcasting. Invited to New York City she joined WHN and later WINS All-News Radio as on-air reporter and staff announcer. After marriage to Ross Klavan, from whom she was later divorced, she moved to London where she worked in independent radio. Returning to New York, she became a top broadcast journalist at WABC News. She anchored network radio newscasts nationally and covered special events like the Reagan-Gorbachev summits. Kate found time to embrace her love of antiques and miniature furniture, which resulted in a book, “American Period Interiors in Miniature,” still a standard reference in the field.

After 17 years in New York, she was drawn to the American West. Using Park City, Utah, as a base she explored the landscape she loved while staying active in cultural and civic causes in Salt Lake City and Park City, especially the Park City Library Board of Trustees. Kate joined the SLC Olympic Committee, traveling to Budapest to help win the bid for the 2002 Winter Games. Her ‘highway time’ work included traveling as a mystery shopper, posing as a potential bank customer throughout the West (her “bank jobs”). Her mother’s passion for Native American history and art led her to work with the Crosby Collection and helped manage their very successful Indian arts gallery and shop for many years.

After 20 years she relocated to Santa Barbara to care for younger brother Jim, stricken with MS. In 2010 Kate was awarded Advocate of the Year by Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital. (Jim died just earlier this year.) During these years Kate became a docent for Lotusland, a prominent botanical garden filled with exotic flora and unusual history. She also exhibited locally her own collages of antique wall paper, postcards, and found objects in uncanny juxtapositions that exposed her whimsical wit and acute observations of human nature.

Petite in stature, Kate was large of heart, filled with insatiable curiosity, and deep love of family, books, and art. She hated hypocrisy, sugar, and alcohol, and leaves behind many friends.

Kate is survived by brothers John Doordan of Santa Barbara and Dennis Doordan of South Bend, Indiana, their spouses, Tracie Doordan and Marcia Rickard, nephew Ryan Doordan, niece Kelly Doordan of Silver Spring, Maryland, her spouse Luke Jones, and their sons Xayden and Kiran.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests:
– ALSA Golden West Chapter, PO Box 565, Agoura Hills, CA 91376 (ALS Association local chapter supported Kate remarkably for 18 months.)
– KCLU, the local NPR outlet.


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