Katherine Jane Shander, known as Katy to her loved ones, passed away on October 20, 2023, at the age of 57 in Hudson, MA. She radiated loving joy, unwavering optimism, and a nurturing spirit. Her zest for life was evident in her infectious laughter and dazzling smile. Katy’s memory will forever be cherished by her family and friends.

Katy was born on April 15, 1966, at Bassett Army Hospital in Fort Wainwright, Alaska. Her
educational journey began with four years at the Montessori School and one year at the Steck Public School, both in Denver. She moved with her family to Brookline, MA, and continued happily at the Heath School, where she and her husband, Steve, met for the first time in 3rd grade and immediately fell in love. She then attended Brookline High School, where she cultivated her passion for learning. She pursued higher education at Wesleyan University (B.A., Spanish Language and Literature), and Lesley University (M.Ed.) and went on to pursue her life-long dream of being a teacher.

Throughout her career, Katy made a significant impact as an educator. She dedicated her time and expertise as a Spanish teacher at Pincushion Hill Montessori School in Ashland, MA, and as a bilingual teacher at Barbieri Elementary School in Framingham, MA, where she and the 4th grade two-way bilingual team implemented the first Response to Intervention (RTI) support system at the school. The model became the basis for the development of grade level teacher assistance teams at Barbieri, then was adopted as the district-wide standard.

In addition to her professional pursuits, Katy found joy in various hobbies. She was a voracious (and speedy) reader and regularly participated in book swaps with her mother, grandmother, and close friends. Katy also embraced her athletic side, first as a ballet dancer in her youth and, after her children were born, as a member of the Hot Mamas soccer team in Ashland, MA. In her later years, Katy discovered a love for aerial yoga and became a respected teacher at Earth and Aerial Yoga in Hudson, MA, inspiring others with her grace and strength. Furthermore, Katy’s involvement in the Ashland Community Theater (ACT) allowed her to express her creativity through writing, directing, and acting in numerous plays and films. She and the ACT director won two national awards for their mini-series, “Therapy Sessions”, and Katy is memorialized for her theatrical pursuits on IMDb.

Katy loved animals of all kinds, but particularly donkeys, and found solace in the beauty of nature. She took great pleasure in attending ballet performances, strolling along the beach in search of seashells, and traveling. She was a jigsaw and word puzzle maven and the only person any of her family knew who solved the Rubik’s Cube on her own while in high school.

Family was of utmost importance to Katy, and she leaves behind cherished memories with her beloved husband, Steve Linberg, whose time with her was tragically cut short. They would have celebrated their second wedding anniversary next May. She is also survived by her children, every one of whom made her proud beyond measure: Corey Reynolds, Aidan Shander-Reynolds, Marya Shander-Reynolds, and Liam Shander-Reynolds. She was a loving daughter to her mother Carole Shander, and her stepmother Karen Shander. Katy also leaves behind her brother William Shander and his wife Rebecca Shander, her sister Elizabeth Shander Bawden and her husband Michael Bawden, and her former husband Mark Reynolds, the father of her children.  She was preceded in death by her father, David Shander, whose memory she held dear.

A celebration of Katy’s remarkable life is planned for the spring of 2024 (date TBA) at the New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, one of her favorite places. It will be a time for family and friends to come together, sharing stories and treasured memories, as they honor Katy’s life and legacy.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in memory of Katherine J. Shander to support cancer research and patient care at:

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
P.O. Box 849168
Boston, MA 02284

Or to: The MetroWest Humane Society in Ashland in Katy’s honor at:

MetroWest Humane Society
30 Pond Street, Ashland MA 01721

Katy will forever be remembered as a loving wife, devoted mother, cherished daughter, and dear friend. Her spirit, kindness, and love will continue to inspire all who had the privilege of knowing her. May her memory be a blessing.