Cover photo for Alita Kiaer's Obituary
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1931 Alita 2020

Alita Kiaer

October 5, 1931 — July 17, 2020

October 5 th 1931 – July 17 th 2020

It is with great sadness the family of Alita Kiaer announce that beloved Wife, Mother, Friend and Teacher quietly passed away in the early morning of July 17 th , 2020. After a 10-year struggle with paralysis caused by strokes, she was finally surrounded by her family and had her Grandson Henrik by her side when she passed.

Alita will be laid to rest in the historic Seabold Cemetery near Port Madison on Bainbridge Island at
11:00am Saturday July 25th , 2020.

Flowers can be sent to Cook Family Funeral Homes at 163 Wyatt Way NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110.

The family also requests that donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Washington Talking & Brail
Books Library for the visually impaired, an extension of the Library of Congress ( In the
“Why are you giving to WTBBL Section”, please note, “In Memory of Alita Kiaer, Volunteer Book
Reader”. The family will be notified of all donations received.

Alita Kiaer was born on October 5 th 1931 in Oak Harbor, WA to Mary Nyhoff Ronhaar and
William “Bill” Ronhaar. After her birth the family moved to various parts of Western Washington
including Marysville, North Bend and finally settling in Woodinville. Later, Alita attended the University
of Washington and received her BA in English along with her Teaching certification. It was while at the
University of Washington, she met her husband Jan Kiaer who returned at last to the country of his birth
from Norway after WWII.

While attending the UW, Jan and Alita were married on June 13 th , 1952. In 1956 the year Alita
Graduated they were blessed with their daughter Erin. Jan took a job in Michigan in 1960 and Alita
started her teaching career in the Hillcrest School district at Bloomfield High School. After Michigan
Alita, her husband and young daughter moved to Oslo Norway so Jan could work with his father. After a
year they moved back to Seattle where Alita continued her career in teaching at the Edmund S. Meany
Middle School for the Seattle School District. A year or so after, she was offered a position with the
Mercer Island School District and began her long journey of teaching thousands of Mercer Islanders
starting at South Mercer Jr. High and then moving to the High School where she taught English, English
Literature, British Literature and was the advisor of the school Newspaper.

In 1966 Alita and Jan adopted their son Sean who was a fulfillment of their dream of having two
children. For several years Alita, her husband and two children lived in American Samoa where she did
not take a break from teaching. She was a teacher at the American Samoa Community College. Now to
say the least, many of the local Samoan young people were not fond of mainlanders’ teaching style. In
most cases the local Samoan students would enroll in the classes and within a week or two the classes
would go from 35-40+ students to just barely a handful, as frustrated students dropped their classes.
Not the case with Alita. All her classes were full to capacity and no students ever dropped her courses.
She was much loved and respected not just as an educator but as a friend of the Samoan People. She
was recognized by many village chiefs and was also honored by the Governor of American Samoa, the
late John Haydon, for her outstanding efforts in education.

After two years in American Samoa the family returned to Mercer Island and Alita continued her
teaching career at the Mercer Island High School. In April of 1983 she led the Mercer High Times School
Newspaper to a First Place award from the American Scholastic Press Association in Journalism. During
her long and distinguished career at MIHS Alita took many other personal awards, Including the National
Gonzaga Best Teacher of the year award. Needless to say, she was loved by her students and made a
profound positive impact on so many of them. Many of her students have said that there is a piece of
her that they carry with them and that if it were not for her efforts, they would not have achieved their
full potential.

After her retirement she volunteered to the Washington Talking & Brail Library an extension of
the Library of Congress by producing books on tape. After the production of several of her readings,
swarms of orders began to overwhelm the organization. Clients were and to this day are still requesting
to have Alita read specific books. Including personal requests not just from all over the US but Canada as
well. She also loved gardening and was recognized by the Somerset HOA for the front yard of their
former residence in Bellevue. Knitting was another loved hobby, and friends and family would always
clamor to get her knitted items for Christmas, birthdays and other special occasions. Another activity
that Alita truly enjoyed was spending weekly outings with her close friends for lunch at various locations
around the Seattle Area.

To Alita the most important aspect of life was her family. She could never and was never able to
get enough of family time. Her love of family was immense. If needed, she always made herself available
no matter the reason. As a grandmother she spoiled her grandkids and great grandkids to no end with
the love that only Alita could give. She would often partake in the outdoors from Cross Country Skiing to
Sailing, which were not her favorite activities, yet enthusiastically joined knowing that those sporting
activities were a favorite of her husband and children.

Alita is survived by:
Her Husband of 68 years, Jan Kiaer
Two Children, Erin and Sean
Five Grandchildren, Christian, Jennifer, Nina, Henrik and Thomas
Three Great Grandchildren, Colton, Finnian and Lily
Her two Brothers, Fred and Paul

On a side note, her love of Shakespeare, Austen, Chaucer, Marlowe and many others, including
poets such as Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Ralph Waldo Emerson and many others brought joy to her
life. She spent many evening hours pouring over her favorite works. We would like to think that she is
up there with all of them and perhaps Alita is sitting at her desk with red pencil in hand correcting their
papers and teaching them the correct way, in the manner that only Alita Kiaer could.

Arrangements entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home on Bainbridge Island, WA

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Alita Kiaer, please visit our flower store.

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Saturday, July 25, 2020

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