Kate Svitek Memorial Foundation
Kate Svitek Memorial Foundation

From Loved Ones & Friends

Letter from Jill Hearty

When I think about Kate and all the great silly – sometimes hysterical times we had together I can’t help but smile…

Our jaunt to Costa Rica particularly makes me smile. Our trip was a perfect example of what a tough, spirited, thrill seeking outdoors woman Kate was and of what a wimp I was. Throughout the trip Kate was constantly making sure that I was OK. Towards the end I nicknamed her counselor Sista (Sista was my nickname, as well as the other 336 ~ ites name for her, which I believe was born on a particularly intoxicated evening freshman year and just stuck). At the end of the trip, when I had eaten enough beans & rice to last a lifetime, I made Sista inspect my rear-end multiple times due to a strange and rather unappealing Costs Rican rash that had developed in that area, had been eaten by ever bug imaginable and had been dreaming about running water and Caesar Salads for days, it was finally time to go home. Kate was not nearly as excited as I was to go home, she wanted to stay and invest in this beach / restaurant in some tiny little surf town.

Now I must tell you that I am a nut case when I fly. When we got on the plane they shut the electricity off on the plane, which made me panic that there was something really wrong with the plane and that Delta was withholding the information from us. While sitting on the runway with no AC in a full plane in a country with an average temp of about 104, the Bucknell choir sitting two rows behind us, begins to vomit due to food poisoning. I naturally was flipping out, I was hot, panicking, hungover and the plane smelled like puke. Sista said she had never seen anyone turn red (I thought I had a fever for about 20 minutes), then I turned green, the Bucknell kids were getting to me, and then a lovely bleak shade of white. During this time Sista sat next to me completely calm, stroking my hair, holding my hand, telling me stories to make me laugh, doing everything in her power to reassure me that we were going to be OK…I never loved her more.

When we returned to UVM, slightly bitter towards Dave Kestenbaum (the super loser in charge of the trip), mainly because he had made us drag these dumb, heavy, cumbersome binders all over the country. Sista and I one night at about 3 maybe 4 in the morning decided to set the binders and other random books on fire in the backyard. Oh, what fun! I can still hear the howl of Kate’s laugh in my mind.

I think about Sista in her car (the same make and model as mine, which is green) yet they were so different in style. We used to joke that mine was the New England grocery grabber and hers was the styling ghetto Philly blaster.

She used to drive around with her Bolle sunglasses on, regardless of the amount of sunshine outside, blasting reggae or some hip-hoppy rap. She would always be on the hunt for the perfect sandwich or some sort of low fat wonder.

Sista was famous for her fam-a-lee (college family) dinners, most notably Thanksgiving, which Kate would start racking up Price Chopper points in early September to ensure our free turkey. She would make this amazing meal, which would all compliment the hell out of and Kate would always find something that could have been better. She never could take a compliment.

Kate was one of the most unique and eccentric people I have ever known. She had a tough hardened exterior, but once she let you inside, which was not always easy she was this amazingly sensitive, caring and understanding person. Sista loved life more than most that live to be a hundred. She loved to laugh, have fun and just be a kid. Kate’s love for nature was truly part of her persona and I feel that she was fortunate to have actively worshipped in God’s great outdoors.

Please know that she was loved and will be dearly missed. Kate will live on forever in my heart and in my mind.

Jill Hearty

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