Kirsten Anne LaDue Kleinsmith passed away on Sept. 19, 2018, surrounded by family at her home in Hood River, Ore. She was 51 years of age at the time of her passing.
Kirsten, daughter of Harry Jay (“Jay”) LaDue and the late Nancy Lynne LaDue (Hanson), was born in Edina, Minn., on Dec. 18, 1966. Her dad called her “the best Christmas present we ever had.”
Kirsten grew up in Burnsville, Minn., spending her summers in Gordon, Wisc., on Lower Eau Claire Lake. She grew up playing soccer and basketball in Burnsville and played piano, drums and the viola. After high school, she studied at Iowa State and the University of Maryland, where she lived with her Aunt Gerry. She spent a few months bicycling New Zealand prior to moving back to Minnesota. Ultimately, she left Minnesota to take a job for CBS as a ball spotter for the LPGA, as well as a caddie. These jobs eventually brought her to Oregon.
She married Dan Kleinsmith at the lakeside cabin belonging to her Uncle Bill and Aunt Diane on Lower Eau Claire Lake in Wisconsin on June 16, 2001. Following an outdoor ceremony, that was cut short by a thunderstorm, family and friends gathered to celebrate their union at the Buck and Bass Inn.
In 2005, Kirsten graduated from Mt. Hood Community College in their Dental Hygiene program. She worked for Dr. Bruce Burton, DDM, General Dentistry in Hood River until treatment for leukemia forced her to stop. Prior to her career as a dental hygienist, she worked for Dr. James Bickler as an orthodontic assistant and as a certified massage therapist in the Mt. Hood area.
Kirsten was an avid outdoorswoman and athlete her entire life. Together with her husband, Dan, she enjoyed cycling, kayaking, paddle boarding, skiing, hiking and camping, among other outdoor pursuits. She will be remembered by family and friends for her adventurous spirit, choosing to skydive with friend Carol to commemorate Carol’s 50th birthday. She participated in the Portland to Coast Relay as a member of the Phat Bottom Girls, where she was nicknamed “Miss Zero Body Fat.” She loved taking her beloved dogs (Duke, Tonka and Finn) for walks, insuring that they too got the exercise they needed.
Kirsten was a member St. Mary’s Catholic Church. She volunteered for the community meals program and a local hospice organization and regularly donated blood to the Red Cross.
Kirsten was surrounded by the love of family and friends when she passed away at her home in Hood River on Wednesday, Sept. 19. She will be remembered for her strength and determination as she battled leukemia and the side effects of treatment. She exhibited amazing grace through the fight and only lost her sense of humor when it became difficult for her to communicate.
Kirsten is survived by her husband, Dan Kleinsmith, of Hood River; father, Jay LaDue (wife Gaylen), of Minnesota; sister, Deb LaDue McLellan (husband Pat); brothers, Jay Ladue (wife Stephanie) and Corey LaDue; five nephews, Paul LaDue, Benjamin LaDue, Gunnar McLellen, John Peters and David Peters; eight nieces, Marissa McLellan, Callie LaDue, Katie LaDue, Norah LaDue, Katelyn Peters, Mistie Kleinsmith, Hallie Kleinsmith, Skylar Ellett and Kyndra Ellett; in-laws, Dean and Diane Kleinsmith of Hood River and Arizona; sister-in-law, Kristin Peters (husband, Tim); and brothers-in-law, Mike Kleinsmith and Scott Kleinsmith (partner, Carrie Ellett). She was preceded in death by her mother, Nancy Lynne LaDue, November 2000.
The Team Kirsten Facebook community consisted of a network of almost 200 family and friends who followed Kirsten’s journey. She will remain an inspiration, encouraging us to enjoy family, friends and the beautiful outdoors. May we all attempt to emulate Kirsten’s courage, perseverance and grace when faced with enormous challenge.
All are invited to a memorial Mass of the Resurrection Service at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 1501 Belmont Ave., Hood River. A celebration of Kirsten’s life will be in the spring of 2019. Details will be announced later.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River. Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.
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