Obituary: Kathie Reynolds Housden 


Kathie Reynolds Housden (1933 – 2023)

Laguna Beach has lost a beloved and inspiring educator, Kathie Reynolds Housden, who passed on Sept. 1, 2023, at age 90.  

Kathie was born in Washington, D.C., in 1933, and her family moved to California when she was only six months old. During WWII, the family lived in La Jolla, after which they moved north. Kathie became an honor student at Stockton High School and completed her bachelor’s degree in education at Fresno State. After Kathie’s marriage to Ernie Reynolds, she taught kindergarten briefly and then settled into family life as a busy mother of three. When she resumed her teaching career in 1972, it was at our own Top of the World Elementary. Years later, the district awarded her a sabbatical leave for graduate education. Kathie completed her master’s degree at Pacific Oaks with a major in early childhood education and a minor in community college instruction.  

Upon returning to TOW in 1984, Kathie teamed with Ellen Tanney Fisher to develop an innovative program for 1st to 4th graders, the Community Learning Center. As her long-time friend and teaching partner, Ellen, notes, “Kathie was the essence of CLC, beloved by students, parents and colleagues alike. She led with her loving heart and set an example of kindness for all to follow. The watchword at CLC was ‘flexibility.’ That, and a chocolate chip cookie every Friday, kept us excited for each new day.”

After nine years at CLC, Kathie retired early to shift into college teaching. For the next 11 years, she worked with emerging teachers in the Child Development Center at Orange Coast College. While teaching at the CDC, Kathie published “The School with Gentle Eyes,” a book illuminating the affirmational and creative teaching methods developed at CLC. 

Kathie began a new adventure, meeting her soulmate, Jack Housden, whom she married in 1995 at Tivoli Terrace, Laguna Beach. Together, Kathie and Jack followed their passion for hiking and taking nature photography in many national parks. Yosemite was their favorite. 

In 2011, the Housdens moved to a beautiful condominium overlooking Aliso Creek in Laguna Woods Village. They found wonderful fellowship in the Center for Spiritual Living and participated in many other community activities, including Kathie singing in the Village Chorale. The joy Kathie and Jack shared in their 30-plus years together was a true gift for them and everyone fortunate to be in their circle of love.

The Housden family members include Kathie’s loving husband, Jack; sons Dwight Reynolds and Todd Reynolds (Beth); grandsons Cory and Josh (Leanne); brother Victor Gill (Susan); niece Courtney Gill, and her sons’ father, Ernie Reynolds (Arlis).

A celebration of Kathie’s life will be held on Saturday morning, Sept. 23, at Laguna Country United Methodist Church, 24442 Moulton Parkway, in Laguna Woods. The event will be held in Ficklin Hall, commencing at 10 a.m. Light refreshments will be served. Participants are encouraged to wear vibrant colors in Kathie’s honor. In lieu of flowers, donation checks may be made at the gathering or online to the Laguna Canyon Foundation (scroll down to check the box at the bottom of the page to donate in Kathie’s name) or a charity of your choice.

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