Kayte Nadine Ross

May 6, 1952February 27, 2018
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Kayte Nadine Ross, 65 of Spokane, Washington passed away on Tuesday, February 27 at 9:33am from complications stemming from congestive heart failure. She was surrounded by her loving family at the hospital as she peacefully took her last breath.

Kayte was born to her parents Leroy (Roy) Ross and Gayle Amanda Ross on May 6, 1952. She attended North Central High School before attending Eastern Washington University where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology and her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology.

She worked as a therapist in Spokane at The Spokane Mental Health Center and Greentree Employee Assistance Program for many years and then for APS (a counseling agency) in Spokane before opening a private practice in the Marycliff Center.

She is survived by her spouse Richard V. Dalke of Spokane, her daughter Sarah Jane Brown (Josh) of Spokane and her stepdaughter Sarah Bullock (Aaron) of San Antonio, Texas, her two grandchildren Dylon and Dakota Brown of Spokane, her sisters Gayle Higgins (Kent) of Spokane and Naomi Kimball of Hollywood, Florida, and her brother Bob Ross of Spokane. She was preceded in death by her parents and sister Glee Hollander (Myles) of Tallahassee, Florida and her grandson Parker Nolan Brown of Omak, WA. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Kayte loved to dance, ride horses, read adventure stories, watch movies, write poetry and travel (especially to Cannon Beach, Oregon, the Bar M Guest Ranch in Oregon and Maui, Hawaii). One of her very favorite times was snorkeling in the waters off Maui, Hawaii.

She left a legacy of love to all that knew her. Her family and close friends would describe her as beautiful inside and out, altruistic and kind, a beautiful soul and spirit, compassionate, someone who put people at ease, intelligent, loving, authentic, forgiving, and always thinking of others.

She also loved spending time with her grandsons, Dylon, Dakota and Parker and went to many of their activities. After Parker passed away at the age of 8 from childhood leukemia, a summer camp was started in his name for families who have lost a child to any tragedy called Parker’s Place, which Kayte loved to attend.

As a member of Unity Church of Spokane, she enjoyed attending their Women’s retreats held at Camp N Sid Sen in the spring and fall for many years.

The memorial service celebrating her life will be held at Hazen & Jaeger Funeral Home – 1306 North Monroe in Spokane on Saturday, March 10th at 3pm.

In lieu of flowers, please make your donations to Parker’s Place.


  • Gayle Trainor, Mother
  • Floyd Leroy Ross, Father
  • Richard V. Dalke, Husband
  • Sarah Jane (Josh) Brown, Daughter
  • Sarah (Aaron) Bullock, Stepdaughter
  • Dylon Brown, Grandchild
  • Dakota Brown, Grandchild
  • Parker Brown, Grandchild
  • Gayle Higgins, Sister
  • Naomi Kimball, Sister
  • Bob Ross, Brother
  • Glee Hollander, Sister
  • She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.


  • Celebration of Life Saturday, March 10, 2018

Kayte Nadine Ross

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Ginger Metcalf

March 26, 2018

Kayte was a mentor to me when I started at Spokane Mental Health. We created and shared a women's group, and after group we would talk about our daughters and laugh and cry and laugh some more. Kayte taught me about joy, and light and letting go. I regret also not keeping in touch with Kayte - there's that Buddhist saying, "the problem is, we always think we have time."
Love, Ginger

Muriel Badgley

March 26, 2018

When me and the girls would arrive at Richard and Kayte's to clean the house, Kayte always greeted us with the most radiant and glowing smile. We will miss her.

Sue Koentopp

March 26, 2018

I knew Kayte from Unity's women's retreats. She was a quiet, steady presence. To introduce ourselves at retreat, we sat in a large circle. Each introduced herself & reintroduced those who spoke before her. Kayte made a point to sit at the end so she reintroduced all of us; which she did flawlessly! I was so impressed!

Kathy Ahern

March 26, 2018

Kay was so kind and supportive to me when I was an intern at SMHC. She always believed in me and loved me for who I was. She had the ability to see the best in me and others. I loved her sense of humor. She could find something humorous even in the worst situations. I loved how real, honest and authentic she was. She was my soul sister ~ I miss her so much, but know I will reconnect with her in heaven.

Shannon Ahern

March 26, 2018

Many memories - but in the end it was her strength, bravery, love and sense of joy. She kept interested in her friends and nothing was going to stop her from spending time with Kathy & I. We are so grateful for that time with Kay (Kayte) and Richard.



Kay Nadine Ross was born in Spokane on May 6, 1952 the youngest in a family of one brother and 3 sisters. When she was a young girl she found out that she had 7 older half-siblings from a previous marriage her dad Leroy Ross had. She got to meet most of them and learned to love them as well. Kayte was sometimes called “the caboose” by her family, since she was the last of the 12 children. She was excited in later years to meet nieces & nephews at family reunions who were older than her.

She went to school in Spokane, graduated from North Central High school and later went to Eastern Washington University, where she graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology and years later with her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology.
As a young woman in her late teens, she experienced a traumatic event – a personal assault which affected her for the rest of her life. She would have symptoms of PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – which included anxiety, trouble sleeping, and trouble trusting that people really cared for her and loved her.
Years later, Kay married her high school boyfriend - Ken Side, also from Spokane and they had a wonderful daughter – Sarah Jane Side. They divorced when Sarah was a young girl. Kayte changed her first name from Kay to Kayte and took back her maiden name – Ross after her divorce.

She started her career as a counselor at the Women’s and Children’s department of the YWCA. She later worked at Elder Services; a part of Spokane Mental Health Center as a geriatric counseling specialist. She then worked at the downtown office of the Mental Health Center and at Greentree, an Employee Assistance Program. She made some of her closest friends while working at the Spokane Mental Health Center.

She first met me in a hypnosis class at Eastern Washington University – while finishing her Master’s degree. Since I was also working on my Master’s degree in Counseling, we found ourselves attending many of the same workshops and trainings. She would bring me homemade snickerdoodles and other snacks at college. We started going out and were married in May of 1990. We became a family of 4, Kayte, Richard, her daughter Sarah and my daughter Sarah. We both loved to introduce them to others as our daughter Sarah & our other daughter, Sarah and watch the reaction on people’s faces.

She enjoyed spending time with her grandsons – Dylon, Dakota and Parker. We went to many of their soccer games and other activities. While she was working at Greentree, Parker became ill with ALL – a type of childhood Leukemia. We spent lots of time with Parker in the hospital and The Ronald McDonald House. Kayte became a pretty good poker player, because Parker liked playing it so much and she wanted to join in the games.
Kayte was devastated when Parker was diagnosed with cancer and a within a few months after his diagnosis – she started showing signs of an autoimmune disorder called Myasthenia Gravis, which is a stress related illlness. It is a disorder that affects the way the nerves and muscles communicate with each other, causing her muscles to become very weak. Part of the treatment for Myasthenia Gravis is to take a steroid medication called Prednisone. Prednisone can be very helpful short term, but can damage the body in many ways over the long term. She was on it for over 15 years. She also developed a seizure disorder about this same time, which she started taking medications for.

A few years after she’d contracted the autoimmune disorder, and had stabilized on her medication, she flew by herself all the way to Disneyworld in Florida to meet up with Parker and his family who had taken Parker and his brothers on a Make-a-Wish Foundation trip. She loved that trip – how she found them I still wonder at – as she didn’t have a cell phone back then and she didn’t tell them she was coming. One of the highlights of that trip for her was getting to kiss the dolphins at Sea World. They delighted her.

Kayte loved to dance, and I think she was glad to find me – as I used to be a dance instructor and I taught her how to do the swing. We danced the swing at our wedding and many times after that.
Kayte loved horses – and we went to the Bar M Dude Ranch several times – a place in the Blue Mountains of Oregon that I used to work when I was in my 20’s. We’d ride on trails in the mountains and along the banks of the Umatilla River for hours.
Another place that Kayte loved was Hawaii – we went to Maui on vacation and she loved the daily rainbows from the misty rain. But her favorite activity was snorkeling where she could see the beautifully colored fish under the water.

She became fascinated with Native American culture and started going to the Wild Women of Unity retreats twice a year which included a lot of drumming, dancing, skits and having fun. I think she went to almost 30 of those retreats. They were led by Joyce Tucker – our facilitator for today. You’ll see a few pictures of Kayte on the slideshow that came from some of those retreats.

One thing few people knew about Kayte was that she had a tattoo. It is of a gecko on her right hip. It was a bonding moment for her and her son-in-law Josh who went in together to get tattoos on the same day.

She loved angels and candles and we have probably a dozen or more around our home. One of her favorites has a small solar panel in the back, which we keep on a window sill. On sunny days it charges up the battery and then at night it lights up. Very comforting.

One of her proudest accomplishments was teaching a Women’s Spirituality class as Spokane Falls Community College. She taught a group of about 20 women. When she came home after completing the class – I asked her how it went on a scale of 1-10. She said it was a 12. She felt like it was like a miracle – full of spirit, full of life, very healing for the students as well as herself.

A few years later after she had opened up her private practice in a beautiful office in the Marycliff Center with a close friend, she decided she wanted to teach the class again. She printed out flyers and placed ads. She received responses from a number of women that wanted to join the class, but it was a little short of the number she was looking for. It was one of her regrets she told me years later, that she had cancelled that class rather than pursue it – even though it was short just a few students.
The other great regret for her was not keeping in contact with many of her old friends after she came down with the autoimmune disorder. She gained a lot of weight from the Prednisone and felt embarrassed that she had trouble walking and climbing stairs. We moved out of her apartment which had 3 flights of stairs and moved into a new house with no stairs. She loved our new home.

Kayte liked to hold my hand and I found that one advantage of having a spouse that has difficulty with walking is you get to hold their hand a lot. People sometimes commented that they thought we were newlyweds when they saw us holding hands so much even after we’d been married for many years.

Kayte loved the support group she had joined. It was led by Dr. Dave Erb and she made some long lasting friendships during the 20 or so years that she attended the weekly groups. It was one of the few places where she felt safe enough to explore and heal some of the anxiety and emotional pain that she had carried with her since she was a teenager.

One of her sisters - Glee - passed away a little over 2 years ago, and I think that broke her heart. The night after we flew back from Glee’s memorial service, she started having a sharp pain in her side. They diagnosed her with a pulmonary embolism which is a blood clot in her lungs. Not long after that she was also diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

A little over a year ago she developed a pulmonary embolism again. When she was in the hospital, she contracted pneumonia and almost died. She was in the hospital for about 10 days and then in a skilled nursing facility for 5 more days. She didn’t like it in the nursing facility as they would wake her up in the middle of the night to check her vitals and she would have a lot of trouble getting back to sleep. She hated losing control of what people did to her body.

Kayte was able to miraculously recover some from all of that, she started driving again, and was able to dance a little bit at the Old Folks dance we went to each year. Her face would light up when she could drive her car and dance again. She did use a walker around the house – she called it her “rock & roller.”

And then last November she contracted a cough – we’re still not sure how or where, but it kept on getting worse. She went to her doctor who took x-rays and said it wasn’t pneumonia and that it should go away in a few weeks.
The last month or so she was still coughing, she couldn’t sleep, and her appetite and strength decreased dramatically.

The last week, she felt those side pains again and we went first to Urgent Care, and then to the ER as they were unable to do the CT scan she needed.
The doctors at the ER said she did not have a pulmonary embolism this time, which we were thankful for, but that they did see quite of bit of “gunk” in her lungs. They sent us home with an antibiotic to treat the infection in her lungs. They gave her enough pills for 5 days of treatment. We were feeling hopeful.

On day 4 of the treatment, she started having sharp pains in her chest a little after 8pm. I took her to the ER one more time, they took x-rays and a CT scan and said she had pneumonia. They gave her morphine through an IV and started the antibiotic through another IV. She kept saying how nice all of the hospital ER workers were and how nice if felt to be out of pain.
Another doctor came in who wanted her to have one more CT scan, this time for her heart. She said no. She just didn’t want to have someone find one more thing wrong with her body. She hadn’t slept more than a few hours in several days, she’d eaten very little, and she was worn out and exhausted.
She was frustrated that they wouldn’t allow her to drink any water as they were afraid of her aspirating. She also complained about the sound the IV pump was making - a rhythmic hum every few seconds; over and over again – I think it made her feel like someone was exposing her to some kind of ancient water torture. She wanted it shut off immediately.

The nurse tried to explain that as soon as the IV medicine was complete, it would be shut off – which would be another 15 minutes or so. To Kayte it wasn’t just 15 minutes, it was 15 years of losing control of her life. Shortly after that she started having a seizure. She never regained consciousness.

Soon after, her heart stopped beating and her breathing became very shallow. The ER workers did CPR on her for about 40 minutes and her heart started beating again, but it was very weak. They were worried that during that 40 minutes her brain and other organs had started shutting down. I stayed in the room with her through all of this – I wanted to be as close to her as I could.

They took her up to the ICU, put her on a respirator and I started calling family members. It was a little after 6 in the morning. The respirator kept her breathing, and they were able to keep her heart beating, but it remained weak. They put her on a dialysis machine to help clean out the toxins in her body. A couple hours later they found out she had a collapsed lung and likely broken ribs. We didn’t want her in any more pain, so we decided to have them take out the respirator and stop the dialysis machine.
We all stood around her bedside, the hospital chaplain said a prayer and we played some of her favorite songs that we had on our cell phones. I called my daughter in Texas, so she could whisper loving words into her ear over the phone.
A few minutes later Kayte opened her eyes one last time, closed them and then peacefully stopped breathing. Her heart had stopped. It was 9:33 in the morning.

Now she was gone, I was feeling very sad, but for Kayte thankful there would be no more hospitals, no more nursing homes, no more pills, no more anxiety, no more pain.

After I got home from the hospital, my phone rang. It was the organ donor association. Kayte had checked the box on her driver’s license to donate her organs to help others. After asking me a lot of questions, they said it was the lens in her eyes that they were going to use to help two other people that were blind be able to see again. Even in her death, she was still giving to others, still thinking about how she could help others live a better life.

And we are here now to celebrate and honor the life of Kayte Nadine Ross. A life full of challenges, a life full of love, a life full of meaning, a life full of strength, a life full of purpose. A true heroine’s journey. Through it all, she kept her great smile.

It is one of the things I will miss the most about Kayte – her smile could warm anyone’s heart and it certainly warmed mine. She was very appreciative of anyone who was kind to her.

She has inspired me to become a better person. I hope she inspires you as well.
Kayte you are loved, special and important.

Blessings and Godspeed for the next stage of your journey.