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Heather Catto Kohout

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“So sorry to hear about Heather's passing. I did not know her well but whenever I bumped into her on the dock I took the opportunity to learn from...Read More »
1 of 24 | Posted by: John B. - Austin, TX - Friend

“I am so very sorry to hear of Heather's passing. I no longer live in Texas, but I remember always searching the dock for Heather when I rowed in the...Read More »
2 of 24 | Posted by: Jennifer Newcomb Marine - Eugene, OR

“I remember Heather from Seminary days there in Austin. She was always a standout to me, above and beyond in compassion and kindness--the marks of...Read More »
3 of 24 | Posted by: Jenny Russell - Boerne, TX

“Several years ago I experienced a serious loss in a relationship; Heather happened to be at TRC. She immediately knew I was extremely upset and said ...Read More »
4 of 24 | Posted by: Maria shelton - College station, TX

“This was devastating news to hear. Heather was a child of nature, and I remember her with her children, smiling , laughing and always being a calm in...Read More »
5 of 24 | Posted by: A friend

“I was honored to share silence and conversation with Heather as part of the Friday morning meditation group at Seton Cove. Even though I knew her for...Read More »
6 of 24 | Posted by: Mona West - Austin, TX - Friend

“Heather was such a dear friend and source of encouragement, challenge and joy during our time together in seminary. She made a difference in my life...Read More »
7 of 24 | Posted by: Robert Woody - San Antonio, TX

“I first met Heather back in 2008 when her and I had a meeting at Swedish Hill Bakery. We had several meetings there as she always told me that was...Read More »
8 of 24 | Posted by: Kara Kokotas Smith - Austin, TX

“Dear Martin and family, Heather was a beautiful woman, inside and out. We were blessed to have known her. May you find peace in her memory and joy...Read More »
9 of 24 | Posted by: Mark & Louise Michaud - Austin, TX

“Meus sentimentos a toda família. ”
10 of 24 | Posted by: Maria Nagel - Friend

“Love you Heather, and all your lovely family. I am still learning from your graciousness. I will think of you often with a full heart and someday I...Read More »
11 of 24 | Posted by: Jennifer Tollefson - Austin, TX

“I was so saddened to here of the Kohout family's loss. My thoughts and prayers pour out to Heather's family and loved ones. Our earth has lost...Read More »
12 of 24 | Posted by: A friend

“Leave a condolence or a memory. ”
13 of 24 | Posted by: Hannah - Austin, TX - Friend

“Leave a condolence or a memory. ”
14 of 24 | Posted by: Hannah - Austin - Friend

“A number of people remember my time as the public services librarian at the Seminary of the Southwest as being marked by Christmas clementines. ...Read More »
15 of 24 | Posted by: Mikail McIntosh-Doty - Austin, TX

“Dear Ones,My heart is broken. Heather was extraordinary in every way I can think of that matters….and now, there is a big hole where she was,...Read More »
16 of 24 | Posted by: sally robb - austin, TX

“So very sorry to hear about your loss. Our prayers and thoughts are with your entire family. ”
17 of 24 | Posted by: Ray and Lucille Milani - Atwater, CA

“I didn't know Heather as well as I would have like to, but I felt I knew her through being at the ranch and her home helping Lo with decorations for...Read More »
18 of 24 | Posted by: Leslie Cash Jobe - Austin, TX

“Dear family of Heather. I had heard she was ill and so saddened to hear of her passing. I met Heather in my store years ago, along with her parents...Read More »
19 of 24 | Posted by: Trey Massengale - Austin, TX

“So sorry to hear about your loss. I didn't know Heather well at college but clearly she was a very special person. I've been thinking about your...Read More »
20 of 24 | Posted by: Ruth Glasser - Oakville, CT

“Heather will be remembered and missed by many. My deepest condolences to all of Heather's friends and family. ”
21 of 24 | Posted by: A friend

“May God bless you and give your family strength and peace in this time of your sorrow. ... Charlie Coward ”
22 of 24 | Posted by: Charlie Coward - Round Rock, TX

“Deepest sympathy and condolences to Heather's family and loved ones. I have beautiful and lasting memories of Heather from long ago at Williams...Read More »
23 of 24 | Posted by: Marc Tayer - Del Mar, CA

“I first met Heather in 1977, our freshman year at Williams. We were both in Lehman Hall, the smallest freshman dorm which was cut off from the rest...Read More »
24 of 24 | Posted by: Arun Swamy - Yona, Guam


Heather Catto Kohout died on October 17, 2014, nearly three years after her initial diagnosis with metastatic cancer. She was a woman of deep faith, kindness, and physical, intellectual, and spiritual beauty; a devoted wife and mother; and a ferocious friend. Her entire life was an ongoing demonstration of how to move through the world with courage, generosity, and gratitude.

Heather was born in San Antonio, Texas, on April 7, 1959, the daughter of Henry Edward Catto Jr. and Jessica Hobby Catto. When she was ten, her father began a long and successful career in government service which took him to Washington, D.C., El Salvador, Switzerland, and London. Heather graduated from the Holton Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland, and, after a year at Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland, entered Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, from which she graduated in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in English literature.

In 1985 she married Martin Kohout, a Williams classmate. The couple spent most of their married life in Austin, with the exception of a brief sojourn in Washington, D.C. Their three children, Elizabeth, Christopher (Tito), and Thea, were Heather's constant delight and pride; her father-in-law once accused her of being an "owl mother" because she spent so much time hooting about her offspring.

Heather always took pleasure in language, literature, and interpretation. She earned master's degrees in English literature from the University of Texas at Austin and in religion from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin. She taught English at American University in Washington, D.C., and as a substitute at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Austin; her poems were accepted for publication in the Anglican Theological Review and Theology Today; and she was for many years on the staff of Seton Cove, an ecumenical center for spiritual formation in Austin.

A longtime parishioner at All Saints' Episcopal Church, Heather for many years led an informal adult-education group, known as "Heather's Heretics," to discuss each Sunday's lectionary readings. She also taught a number of "freelance" classes and workshops at various local churches and served as a trustee of St. Andrew's, Casa Marianella, El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission, and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. In 2013 she received the Durstan R. McDonald Teaching Award from the Seminary of the Southwest and the Charles Alan Wright Excellence Award from St. Andrew's.

She was a gifted and creative cook and a regular customer at Austin's farmers markets and urban farms. She was an excellent athlete: a relentlessly speedy hiker who earned the nickname "Death March" among her family, a fierce yet graceful skier and tennis player, and a dedicated rower who loved the beauty and solitude of an early morning on Lady Bird Lake and forged deep connections with her fellows at the Texas Rowing Center. She was a passionate environmentalist and an enthusiastic birder; she liked to joke that she was the best birder she knew, because every time she went out she invariably discovered a "new" species.

Heather's environmental concerns and her love of literature and the creative arts, which she shared with her husband Martin, inspired them to open a residency program for environmental writers and artists at their ranch near Medina, Texas, beginning in 2011. Madroño Ranch: A Center for Writing, Art, and the Environment has hosted more than forty creative thinkers from around the U.S. and elsewhere, and has been featured in Tribeza magazine.

In addition to her husband and children, she is survived by her siblings John Catto, Will Catto, and Isa Catto Shaw; her sisters-in-law Laurel Catto and Kristina Catto; her brother-in-law Daniel Shaw; her beloved nieces and nephews Sophie Catto, Ian Catto, Jessica Catto, Liam Catto, Mikaela Catto, Gwyneth Catto, Fiona Shaw, and Duncan Shaw; and father- and mother-in-law Franz Kohout and Nancy Otto.

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. at All Saints' Episcopal Church, 209 West 27th Street, Austin, on October 23, 2014. In accordance with her wishes, her family will bury her ashes at her beloved Madroño Ranch.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Hill Country Alliance (http://www.hillcountryalliance.org), the Trail Foundation (http://www.thetrailfoundation.org), or All Saints' Episcopal Church (http://www.allsaints-austin.org).