Ithaca, NY

Kathy Yoselson, 66, of 203 College Avenue, Ithaca, died at home on October 20, 2012. After an intricate and often painful dance with cancer, she now begins the next phase of life.

Kathy is survived by her husband and partner of 46 years, Neil Golder; her brother Barry (married to Marcia Killam) of Montrose, PA. She is pre-deceased by her father Reuben and her mother Emily Goodling.

Kathy developed her life of character to an extraordinary degree. In all her efforts and loves, her life was filled with a passion for sharing, for knowing and for feeling.

Perhaps her love for animals comes from her childhood on a chicken farm in rural Pennsylvania, with not many friends nearby. But Kathy did not only love animals: she wanted to know what motivated them, how they communicated with humans and each other. She always knew what her dogs or cats were needing. In recent years, anyone who visited her could not leave without seeing the You tube videos of “Otters holding hands” and the “Lion reunion.”

Kathy's urge to share means that she would often teach you dance steps. She took dance lessons for years—tap, ballet, jazz—at the Ithaca Academy of Dance, and was often the only adult in the classes. She was proud of taking some flamenco classes in NYC with Neil and wants you to watch her teacher, Victor Korjhan on You tube.

Kathy's loves—which she would always share—would go from the ridiculous to the sublime. So, for example, she might be showing you a video of Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live (e.g. Schweddy Balls) and then a delicate or passion-filled opera selection, often Placido Domingo. She loved the poetry of Mary Oliver and Billy Collins, particularly when she could get Neil to read them to an audience. She would also try to make sure you got addicted to Spicy Thai Chips.

Most people have noticed Kathy's probing lawyer-like mind. She opted not to use it in academia (dropping out before finishing a Ph.D. in Psychology) but in her daily life of work and play. She used her fierce intellect in the most persevering ways to fight injustices at work. She was a major force in organizing small worker unions at Clever Hans and Oasis. Once she took up a cause, there was no stopping her. For instance, Al Davidoff once gave her a Workers' Compensation case to work on. With no legal training, she jumped in, did the research and writing and eventually won the case. Kathy fought for a decent urban environment in Collegetown. One of her as-yet-unrealized goals is for a grocery store in Collegetown (perhaps a Greenstar satellite).

Kathy's sharing came partly through her cooking. Before Greenstar took over Oasis, Kathy cooked all the food for the deli, teaching others how to cook and how to fix cooking mistakes. At the cash register, she always tried to connect with customers, especially people in bad moods.

Kathy also “hosted” people by helping to create and maintain the enduring community of 203 College Avenue (since 1972) in all its transformations. She taught Neil: “Don't just ask people if they want something to eat: put the food in front of them.”

Kathy always wanted to know how people worked, what made them tick. When Neil met her at Brandeis University in 1966, she was at the dining room table asking interesting questions about psychology and linguistics. She never lost her curiosity about people. She was always interested in talking with people and probing them with challenging questions. Kathy leaves behind a wide circle of friends and caregivers who gave her great joy and comfort.

Memorial donations to the Tompkins County SPCA, the Tompkins County Workers Center, 115 E MLK St, and Loaves and Fishes 210 N. Cayuga St., all in Ithaca, NY 14850.

A three day vigil will be concluding Monday with calling hours from noon-3PM and 5-7PM. Funeral services Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at Anabel Taylor Hall, Cornell, followed by burial at Lakeview Cemetery. A celebration of Kathy's Life to follow at 203 College Avenue.

Funeral Arrangements by Lansing Funeral Home.