Memories of Deanna Kingston

Deanna Kingston doing work on King Island as part of an NSF grant. (contributed photo)

A number of Deanna Kingston’s long-time friends, students and colleagues have been sharing their memories of Kingston this week. Here are a few samples:

From Allison Davis-White Eyes, coordinator of the Indian Education Office at OSU:

“In remembering Deanna (Dee), I can recall her care for students and her drive to help Native students excel, not simply pass their classes, because they are Native students. She and I shared many conversations about the need for Native students, in fact all students, to have grounding in both western epistemologies as well as indigenous. We both encouraged each other in small ways that helped propel the trajectories of our work, I with my graduate students (which was inspired by Deanna) and she with the publication of her book with the OSU Press.

If there is one thing that can be said for Deanna is that she is courageous, to the point where it was awe-inspiring. I can recall her telling us about what she was going through physically in great detail, as though she, the researcher, were doing a case study on her own condition.

In between her bouts of ill health Deanna exemplified all life had to offer. She was buoyant, always hopeful, engaged with her work, students and colleagues. She was active, and enjoyed the sun and softball on a sunny Oregon day. She travelled extensively and with curiosity and purpose. She had a drive to live life to its fullest potential and to share their drive with others. She did not have patience for silliness, pettiness or egotistical rivalries.

Deanna was, in a sense, a person who sought out life in its purest and fullest form and was never afraid, frightened or deterred from experiencing it. Needless to say, this is more than I can say for most of us.

Deanna also worked with closely with many of us on the OSU Native American Graves and Repatriation project (Horner Museum), assuring that tribes received their sacred and funerary objects that had been held by the University for years. She advocated strongly on behalf of Tribes, raised important questions, and defended Tribal sovereignty in the discussions. If there is one thing Deanna did for all of us here at OSU, she made the word “indigenous” a proud word.

Perhaps the other item that stands out about Deanna is her undying devotion to her son Eddie. Every minute that Dee could muster between her academic life and personal life went to Eddie. In fact, there were times where she simply blocked out the day or half the day and stated, that is my time with Eddie. Eddie is Deanna’s only child, and as such, was not only the grounding and driving force in Deanna’s life, but he is also the love of her life. This young man will have many beautiful memories, and perhaps just as important, the beautiful memories of all of us who remember Deanna to share with him.”

From Renee Roman Nose, former student:

“This is what I would say as someone who worked with her, studied under her, learned from her, was advised by her, served as a GTA for her, was fascinated by her stories and happy to share my own, and was greatly impacted by her while I studied for my degree at OSU.

Deanna touched lives, that’s what she was best at. Once she impacted your life, you knew it, you knew she was someone special and that she was passionate about her family, her research, and her students. We called her Dee, we called her friend, we called her sister. She was more than a professor, more than a mentor, she was family. I celebrate her life, I celebrate the impact she had on my own life, I celebrate what knowledge she gained over her short life and how she lived, really lived, each and every day. I celebrate her courage, her strength, applaud her family for raising such an exceptional person and sharing her with the world.

I will remember her laughter, her kind words, the way she would give a quick nod when you answered her correctly, how she loved hearing jokes. I will remember her well. That’s all I can say without tears.”

4 Responses to “Memories of Deanna Kingston”

  1. John Morris says:

    You’ll be missed Deanna!

  2. Dawn Wright says:

    Deanna was a true point of light on the OSU campus and in my life. Although I was in a different college and did not see her as often as I liked, I treasured the times that we interacted. It is so true that she was courageous, caring, full of good humor, passionate about her work, but always so full of great ideas about how to reach across any barriers that we out there – ethnicity, gender, and even academic discipline. I am devastated by the news of her passing (from here in California) but now will always be strengthened by the great memories and thankful that her paths crossed mine.

  3. Dawn Wright says:

    From a friend of mine at Stanford who did not know Deanna but just read Teresa Hogue’s Life@OSU article: “wow. what a story. it sounds as if we all lost someone important to the world. so sorry [for OSU community].”

  4. John Bliss, College of Forestry says:

    Deanna’s smile lit the room up, and her personal warmth made you feel you’d been best friends forever. She made this a better place, and will be missed.