Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Roosevelt Elementary School Remembers 35 Year Career of Kitty Donohoe, After Her Sudden Passing

Mary Catherine (Kitty) Donohoe, beloved elementary school teacher and book author, passed away on September 22, 2023, after a brave three-month battle with cancer.

Kitty Donohoe, who was born in Fresno, California, on December 29, 1959, was part of a historic Yosemite pioneer family. She spent her childhood between Fresno during the school year and the welcoming mountain home of her Degnan family in Yosemite Valley during vacations. Her grandparents were still running the family restaurant and bakery that her great grandparents had built. Summers there were the delight of Kitty's childhood. She learned, at her mother's knee, about the little creatures of the meadows, forests and rivers. These animals would soon appear in the many story books she wrote and sketched as a child.

Kitty moved to Los Angeles in 1979 to attend UCLA. She received a bachelor's degree in communications as well as a master's in education. In September of 1988, Kitty was hired at Roosevelt Elementary School in Santa Monica, California (SMMUSD). She was a dedicated educator, spending her entire, remarkable 35-year teaching career at the same school. Kitty's classroom was a magical place full of art, writing and a collective sense of curiosity. She made an indelible impact on her students, families, colleagues and the entire SMMUSD community. She retired in June of this year after 35 years of teaching.

As a lifelong learner, Kitty was always challenging herself. She was an Alumnae of the Cotsen Foundation which afforded her many opportunities for Professional Development. She particularly loved to teach reading and writing, attending more than 22 institutes at Columbia University's Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. She was also a gifted artist who brought a wide range of artistic talents to her classroom. Kitty's love for literacy and art was evident in the many children's books she wrote over the years. It is a testament to her talent and to the passion with which she approached her writing that she was able to achieve one of her most cherished dreams: her debut picture book, How to Ride a Dragonfly, was published by Anne Schwartz Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, in May of this year.

Her absence will be keenly felt by all who had the privilege of knowing her. But Kitty's legacy will continue to grow in the innumerable lives she touched. Kitty, who believed there is no higher calling than being a teacher, embodied the very highest aspirations of the profession.

Kitty is survived by her husband, Homi Hormasji, with whom she shared her love for life. They enjoyed many common interests, including a passion for the arts, an appreciation of nature, and the exchange of ideas with their many friends, here and abroad.

She has left behind: brothers Peter, John, Matthew and Joseph Donohoe; sisters Mary Ellen Stuart and Moira Donohoe; brothers-in-law Patrick Stuart and Ron Hamann; sisters-in-law Loretta Donohoe and Ceri Malein; nephews Rory Stuart, Patrick Donohoe, Tim and Sean Donohoe, Will Hamann, Kyle Keyes and Ehtisham Khan; nieces Molly Khan, Sophie Hamann and Frannie Donohoe.

Kitty is also survived by relatives in England, including sister-in-law Zubin Rustom and her husband Sam, along with their three children: Rashné Everington and her husband Paul, Zal Rustom, and Shiraz Rustom and his wife Vanessa.

There will be a Requiem Mass for Kitty on November 11, 2023, at 11:00 AM at St Monica Catholic Church, 725 California Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403. A reception will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to The Santa Monica Education Foundation, a cause dear to Kitty's heart. Link:


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