Katherine (Leitch) Clark

Katherine (Leitch) Clark - Rochester Cremation

ROCHESTER: Katherine (Leitch) Clark passed away April 3rd, 2024, at the age of 59, after a short battle with cancer.

She is survived by her husband, Paul Clark, and daughter Elizabeth Clark; mother, Joan Dupont, and father William (Marsha) Leitch; and brothers Christopher (Kat) Dupont and Mark (Rachel) Goebert. She is also survived by her aunt Wendy (Richard) Verstringhe and cousins Kimberly (Eric) Jones, and Leslie Verstringhe.

Kate graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology and was employed there for over 40 years; at the time of her death she was the Executive Director of Sponsored Research Services. Kate had a major role in developing the major processes, procedures, and support services that allowed RIT to make the transition from a regional undergraduate teaching-focused institution to a national research university.  While technically she did serve as the Executive Director of Sponsored Research Services at RIT, this realistically only captured a small part of what she provided the university.  Her steel trap memory coupled with an unnatural ability to almost instantly understand vast state and federal regulations made her the “go to” person for so many people across the entire university.  No wonder that she was affectionately nicknamed “The Oracle” throughout the RIT community.  While her sound advice and guidance was invaluable to so many people who came to rely upon her, the most amazing impact she had at RIT was on the personal level.  Everyone loved Kate, and this is not hyperbole.  Even those who disagreed with her were won over by her warmth, wit, and wisdom, and by the fact that she was almost always right.  She maintained a bottomless candy bowl for visitors and was a font of helpful advice on just about everything one could imagine.  She had an essence of caring and a remarkable sense of humor which allowed her to connect with people in a way that is too often a rarity in the work place. Of the many great things she did for the institution, that will be missed the most.

Outside of work, she found joy in traveling, gardening, puzzles, knitting, and spending time with her cats. She was a long-time gamer, Lego-builder, and fan of anything Tolkien. She was lucky enough to take a trip with her husband to eight national parks just before her diagnosis. Fittingly, her very last trip was to San Diego; Crystal Pier being her favorite place to be.

A memorial service will be held at the Rochester Institute of Technology Interfaith Center at a later date – for service information, to share a memory or send the family a condolence, please visit:   https://rochestercremation.com

Kate has requested that memorial donations be made to Keller’s Kats Rescue, Inc. P.O. Box 26472, Rochester, NY 14626


9 Condolences

  1. Sharkisha Cummins on April 6, 2024 at 9:46 am

    Kate was amazing women with such generosity of soul. The world is a little more dimmer without the love and light she provided. She will be missed.

  2. Shellee Williams-Allen on April 6, 2024 at 9:47 am

    Kate was a force in the world. Her loss will definitely be noticed. I enjoyed the time I spent working with her and friendship afterwards! Sending peace and strength to Paul and Lizzie. She will be missed.

  3. Gary Maccarone on April 6, 2024 at 11:08 am

    I am still in disbelief. Kate was my trusted colleague, mentor, and beautiful friend. I will forever think fondly of our chats and our Wednesday afternoon lunches at Buffalo Wild Wings. Most importantly I will always be grateful for what she taught me about Sponsored Programs and professionalism in the workplace. She will be forever in my heart.

  4. Cheryl Merrell on April 6, 2024 at 9:48 pm

    Kate was my go to when I has any questions regarding anything grant related. Whenthings were delayed she would push them forward. She will be missed and was well respected

  5. Tammy Sharpstene on April 8, 2024 at 4:13 pm

    Katie was a force of nature, in a beautiful way! I am aghast and saddened – although I know she is now sitting with the angels playing with the gadgets that were always on her desk. She had a unique way of making anyone and everyone feel special. Katie was always there befriending, teaching, guiding, and mentoring. I know so more about sponsored research and am a better person through her guidance. I truly enjoyed the camaraderie we would share when we would grab lunch at the Cantina. My heart will forever feel the void of her absence and love. I with send love through Keller’s Kats Rescue, Inc.

    Sending blessings and my deepest sympathies to Paul and Lizzie, and to Kate’s whole family. May grace and peace walk with you at this imaginable time.

  6. Zhi Tang on April 10, 2024 at 8:17 am

    It was a shock! I had very a fond memory of Kate during my grant application process. She was passionate, empathetic, supportive, and very pleasant to work with. She will be truly missed!

  7. Zoran Ninkov on April 10, 2024 at 8:52 am

    To say that Kate made a profound impact on RIT is no overstatement. She was an incredibly capable professional, was able to explain issues even when the circumstances were difficult, was kind and understanding, and enabled the research work that needed to be done by so many on campus. She is the co-worker that we all dream of working with. She will be very much missed and remembered.

  8. Adriana Capobianco on April 10, 2024 at 11:46 pm

    I am lucky to have known Kate as a colleague and a friend. Her warm heart and her joyous sense of humor made our days brighter. Kate was an institutional treasure, and her career was truly transformative, having played no small role in the advancement of research as a whole. But even more than that, she touched the lives of so many at the university and beyond. She was always there to lend an empathic ear and a neat little fidget toy. Kate was a creative problem solver, a peacemaker, a consensus builder, and just a really fantastic person to collaborate with and be around. She is dearly missed.

  9. Roy E. Pierce on April 13, 2024 at 10:08 am

    I am deeply saddened to learn of Kate’s passing. I had the privilege to work with Kate at RIT. She was the most supportive colleague, always able to solve an issue while being cheerful and so much fun to work with. She will be missed.

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