Kathleen Klippsten

August 13, 1949 - May 11, 2024

Kathleen Klippsten, wife of Darryl Klippsten, of Edmonds, Washington was born on August 13, 1949 at Mare Island Naval Base to Joseph Carl Ryan and Phyllis E. Leaman. Kathleen passed away at her home in Edmonds, Washington on May 11, 2024 with Darryl and their son, Cory, by her side.


Kathleen’s family relocated multiple times throughout her childhood due to her father’s career. Pulling up stakes and settling into a new home kept the family close, and the children even closer, as each of them faced being the new kid in the neighborhood and at school. As the oldest sibling, Kathleen learned to help her mother with the younger kids—and so began Kathleen’s early training for motherhood.


The Ryan family lived in California, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Ohio, and finally Illinois, where Kathleen graduated from high school in 1967. Kathleen attended Western Illinois University for two years, and eventually completed her bachelor’s degree via remote study. She loved learning and writing, and professors typically returned her papers covered with praise. Over the years, Kathleen continued to write, filling many journals. Whether it was a business letter or a note to one of her granddaughters, her writing was always composed and gracious.


Matthew, Kathleen’s first child, was born in Madison, Wisconsin on August 9, 1970 to Peter and Kathleen Garrity (later Klippsten).


Kathleen and Darryl were married while living in Northern California, and Cory was born on September 23, 1977. They moved to Seattle in 1986, and in 1996 to Edmonds, where they bought their home.


For 25 years, Kathleen worked in the credit department at SSA Marine, negotiating payments from ocean shipping companies. She became an expert in her role, cultivating relationships with counterparts thousands of miles away. She wasn’t shy to admit that she was very good at making sure SSA got paid first. She loved her co-workers and stayed in touch with them years after retirement. She developed a special bond with the head of her department, Sue, who became one of Kathleen’s dearest friends.


After retirement, Kathleen spent more time gardening, one of her passions. She planned and worked for years on their backyard garden, with its rock wall, stone pathways, cedar deck, native plants, flowers, and multiple bird feeders. She loved tending to her outdoor realm, with all of its variety and challenges. Winters took a toll on her plants, but she’d always be out there in early spring, having found just the right huckleberry, heavenly bamboo, or azalea to fill that empty spot. And her hummingbirds! She adored those little creatures, loved feeding them and watching their acrobatics.


Kathleen and Darryl enjoyed walking together along Puget Sound, the Edmonds marina and beaches, parks, and trails around the state. She wrote this about one of their adventures: “We hiked up Mt. Pilchuck yesterday. I’m grateful for the beauty we saw all around us, and the civility and courtesy offered by our fellow hikers. I was able to conquer my fear and clamber up the boulders, climb a ladder surrounded by nothing but air, and make it up to the lookout. The view was spectacular—the Cascade and Olympic mountains, the valleys, Puget Sound, and the islands—all in view. Now my thighs are sore from the climb, but I earned that ache—an emblem of my accomplishment.”


Kathleen was imaginative, funny, smart, and an excellent listener. Always great to visit with, no matter the subject: life, love, politics, books, movies, music, the New York Times crossword puzzle, and any word game. Kathleen was a lifelong reader and always had a book or two close by. She loved the music of her generation, but more than anything she adored the music that Matt and Lily, her granddaughter, recorded and performed over the years. And we cannot forget Taylor Swift. Kathleen loved her lyrics and music, a shared passion with her granddaughters.


Kathleen had an essence about her of love and calm that was felt by everyone. She also had a fantastic sense of humor and a contagious laugh, a dangerous combination that sometimes left loved ones laughing so hard they couldn’t speak.


Family was everything to Kathleen: her husband, her sons Matt and Cory, and their families. Her daughters-in-law Sharon and Ece were special to Kathleen. She felt like she had gained two daughters. Her four granddaughters, Lily, Margot, Ayla, and Aysu, brought her immeasurable joy, and she had a unique and special relationship with each one of them. Because of the age difference between them, she was able to spend time with each one when they were younger, playing games, drawing, running around, reading or making up stories, going on outdoor adventures, and later playing and talking via video chat. In Kathleen’s words, being with them was “pure happiness.”


Kathleen will be dearly missed and always remembered by those who knew and loved her. She was preceded in death by her beloved son, Matthew Garrity, who passed away in March, 2022.


Kathleen is survived by her husband, Darryl, her son, Cory, and his wife, Ece, and their daughters, Ayla and Aysu, her daughter-in-law, Sharon, and her two daughters, Lily and Margot, her sister-in-law, Gay, and her siblings, Carol (husband Steve); Rich (wife Beverly); Paul (wife Kathleen); and Elaine (husband Ron), and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and close friends.


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