Memorial for Kathy Rand

Kathleen (Kathy) Rand

Our dearest Kathy passed away peacefully on February 25th, 2021, at the age of 66. She worked as our front desk receptionist for 20 years. Kathy loved interacting with the students, staff and faculty and always greeted everyone at the front desk with a smile. She was kind, helpful, empathic, and very generous person that everyone loved to chat with on their way back to lab. She was very proud of the numerous undergraduate student hourlies she mentored over the years, who helped her in the office. Kathy was also prolific baker and decorator and often made treats, especially homemade chocolates, to share on her beautifully decorated front office desk. Lastly, Kathy was very generous with her time often volunteered at Gilda’s Club and the Dane County Salvation Army. Gilda’s Club provides free emotional support and education for children and adults with any kind of cancer. We know that Kathy would be honored if you donated to support Gilda’s Club or the Dane County Salvation Army in her name.


“Meeting Kathy at the office was always one of the highlights of my day. She was always so cheerful and friendly, and she was always helping in any possible way. We could not have had a better front face for the department administration. I feel fortunate to have worked alongside Kathy for so many years and she will remain in our hearts.” -Dr. Francisco Pelegri

“Kathy was perhaps the most optimistic person I have known.  She loved working in the Genetics front office, greeting people (especially students), and providing sweets and holiday decorations to brighten up the area.  I will really miss looking forward to seeing her when I go down to the office, she was a wonderful person.”  -Dr. Audrey Gasch

“I remember that Kathy always seemed to be smiling, always greeted me cheerfully, and always went out of her way to help me. She was generous and kind. I will miss her.” -Dr. Bret Payseur

“I didn’t know Kathy very well given the pandemic, but she was unceasingly cheerful and always wanted to help however she could. I’m sure that she provided the perfect first interaction for visitors to the department with her pleasant demeanor and positive attitude.”  -Nils Irland

“What sad news. Kathy was, despite her health problems, a constitutionally cheerful person, always interested in the well-being of her friends and rarely complaining — or even mentioning — her own problems.  She was a generous, happy person who celebrated life.  I always looked forward to chatting with Kathy when I was in the Genetics Building.  I’ll miss her.” -Dr. Millard Susman

“We all have many fond memories of Kathy as she held a special place within the Laboratory of Genetics (LOG). Kathy was the first person that faculty, staff, students, visitors, and guests saw when they come to the LOG, and she was always very friendly and helpful in a positive manner. Kathy was an excellent employee, and I enjoyed working with her very much.” -Patrick Litza

“Kathy was always so caring for each and every one of us! I started in 2017, while pregnant, and after just a month Kathy helped throw me a wonderful baby shower. This is where I was first introduced to the amazing skill and ability to make the most fancy and wonderful treats. The level of detail and amount of time she put into the treats she made for every holiday/occasion was unbelievable and awesome. She always put so much time into making those events really special for all of us, which was great. She always brightened up the department with her holiday decorations as well. She even let me borrow St. Patrick’s Day hats for me and my little girls to take to our friends in Chicago to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day one year:) She really brought our department together by encouraging holiday gatherings, then decorating and bringing such wonderful treats.

Another way she showed how much she cared was through the relationships she made with our student workers. She managed them but she cared for them too. She was always checking in with them and making them feel a part of our department as well. Her compassion for people was very evident in her daily interactions with anyone coming into our department. Her kindness will be dearly missed.

My children loved to come and see her in the office as well. She always gave them candy and wanted to hear their stories. She listened to people, which is such a great quality.

And I just think she is such a self-less person. Despite knowing that she was always struggling with health issues, which I am sure were quite painful at times she persevered, always showing up to work with a smile on her face, despite struggling to do some things.” -Dr. Katie Vermillion Kalmon

“You know those people at work you just love? Well Kathy is this person! She was kind, generous, creative and I loved her chocolates!  We often spoke about chocolate silicone molds, where we were sourcing our chocolate, and eggless recipes were were trying. Kathy also kept on top of our lab research, science art projects, and awards. She always made sure she mentioned how proud she was of me and my students in the emails she sent and when we chatted in person. She was someone we all loved and she will be truly missed.” -Dr. Ahna Skop

“Kathy was such a great person to work with.  When I first started at Genetics, she made you feel like you were part of the group for years. I will always remember her fancy desserts whenever we had an office party. Always different, never the same.  I will miss Kathy. Rest in Peace.”   -Matt Hahne

“Kathy was always so cheerful and kind. It was such a treat to talk to her, she always had a smile and a kind word for everyone. Chatting with Kathy always brightened my day. I really think she made my graduate school experience better. The Genetics building will not be the same without her.” -Megan Frayer

“Kathy was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met and I’m lucky I had the privilege of calling her a friend. Almost every day around 3 PM I would head down to grab some candy and talk with Kathy about some new restaurant either of us may have tried (we both were big fans of BBQ and Italian food), something happening in the university, or a cool event happening in town. Kathy was also one of my biggest supporters since I moved to Madison, whether it was my science, my outreach or my hobbies. Since the pandemic started, Kathy would email me every so often to check in on me and we’d email back and forth about a current space event or I’d share some pictures I had recently taken; always being met with excitement and support. Kathy’s joy and enthusiasm, and her care for others, always made the day better. I will miss her very much and will always treasure the friendship that we had.” -Jaime Cordova

“Kathy always gave such a warm welcome to all who came to the Genetics front office. She ALWAYS went out of her way to help with any question or issue and to cheer you up. It is hard to imagine going by the front office without having Kathy there. Things will never be the same.” -Dr. David Schwartz

“When I moved to Madison from out of state, Kathy was always a friendly face that was quick to start a conversation and had genuine interest in getting to know someone better. She always had an earnest desire to make UW Genetics a better place and cared deeply for the people she interacted with every day. She played a pivotal role in making Madison feel like home. She was one of the kindest people I’ve ever known and I’ll miss her a lot.” -Dan Wagner