Remembering Kathryn ‘Kiki’ Armstrong, 1959-2021

Family and friends are remembering Kathryn M. Armstrong, and sharing this remembrance with her community:

Kathryn “Kiki” Marie Armstrong – October 23, 1959–November 2, 2021

Kathryn “Kiki” Marie Armstrong passed away on November 2nd in Seattle, the same day her oldest sister Janet Ann Armstrong died in Columbus, Ohio. After a long and courageous fight against Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, Kathryn left us at the much-too-early age of 62. She is survived by her husband Vladimeer Oustimovitch of Seattle and sister Carol Armstrong Wilkins of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as well as numerous nieces and nephews

Kathryn was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin as the youngest of three sisters. She was the daughter of John Alexander Armstrong, a respected professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin, and Annette Taylor Armstrong, who was also educated in political science but decided to devote herself to raising her daughters and supporting her husband’s academic efforts.
To her family and close friends she was known as “Kiki,” and as the youngest in the family she acquired an assertive character that served her well throughout her life. After finishing high school, she studied architecture at the University of Minnesota. Upon graduation, she moved to Boston to complete her internship as a professional architect. Forever wanting to expand her horizons, she then completed a graduate degree in finance at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before moving to Washington, DC, where she transitioned to the management of complex real-estate projects.

Athletic and strong, it was on a climb of Mount Rainier in 1994 that she met her future partner and husband Vlad, who at the time was living in Chicago. After a long-distance relationship, they decided to move to the place they had met, the Pacific Northwest. Before settling in Seattle, they first spent a year on an epic backpacking trip around the world. It was an adventure that became the bedrock of their relationship.

After arriving in Seattle, Kathryn enthusiastically immersed herself in the challenging development of high-density urban housing, which was still in a pioneering phase. Her work was part of a downtown renaissance, and she leaves a legacy of many buildings, especially in Belltown. Forever filled with energy, Kathryn spent her time away from work exploring the beautiful area in which she lived. With her husband Vlad, she became a seasoned mountaineer and summitted most of the major peaks of the Pacific Northwest. Her natural curiosity took her traveling on every compass bearing; she was indefatigable. It was only at her beautiful home and garden in West Seattle that she ever allowed herself to relax.

Kathryn’s ashes will be scattered near Mount Rainier, which was her cathedral. Her radiant smile and boundless energy will be missed by all those who were fortunate enough to be graced by it.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries and memorial announcements by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to

13 Replies to "Remembering Kathryn 'Kiki' Armstrong, 1959-2021"

  • miws November 15, 2021 (9:18 am)

    Sending condolences to Vlad and all of Kiki’s loved ones… —Mike

  • Dale November 15, 2021 (9:23 am)

    What a beautiful rememberance.  The world needs more people like Kiki. 

  • John N November 15, 2021 (9:37 am)

    Extremely sad to read this.  Kathryn will be remembered by me as a strong and committed  activist.  A true a ‘neighbor,’  not a West Seattle NIMBY,  who truly believed in positive community through design (and the parks should be available to all!).  My regrets for the numerous times over the last few years that I have seen Vlad and Kathryn hiking West Seattle, but neglected to stop to say hi.  Rest In Peace.

  • Donna, The Whale Trail November 15, 2021 (9:43 am)

    So very sorry to hear this. Kathryn was a bright light and I loved every moment our paths crossed. Deepest condolences to Vlad and all who knew her. 

  • Del November 15, 2021 (9:55 am)

    Kathyrn will be truly missed. Sending condolences to Vlad.

  • Cindi Barker November 15, 2021 (9:56 am)

    My condolences to Vlad and Katheryn’s larger family, for both of their loses.  Kathryn was a dynamo, she was a great problem solver and could really dig in to hear the issues and be thoughtful in her response.  And a killer in-line skater, she could move like the wind.  She will be missed.

  • Jeremiah November 15, 2021 (11:06 am)

    We will really miss Kiki. She was an indispensable part of our our community.

  • peg staeheli November 15, 2021 (11:11 am)

    Kathryn was a spark- you knew that action would happen. It was the deeper sense of kindness and caring that you saw when the greeting smile matched her eyes. I always loved catching her running or walking with Vlad. I am so very sorry for “her” Vlad and her family. 

  • Brian Allen November 15, 2021 (11:58 am)

    So sad.  What a great loss for the community.

  • Tracey November 15, 2021 (1:22 pm)

    I watched Vlad and Kathryn inline skate at Alki.  As a fellow skater, I was always in awe.  Very sorry for your loss Vlad.   Hope to see you at Alki soon. 

  • Sharonn November 16, 2021 (9:10 am)

    Deepest sympathy to Vlad and Kathryn’s family for the loss of two sisters.   A beautiful woman with great talent, softest of soul and commitment to her community.  Beautiful photograph of a special woman.  Sharonn Meeks

  • Michael Dorcy November 17, 2021 (11:10 am)

    I have fond memories of working with Kathryn in the City’s Design Review Program and the insight and enthusiasm she brought to the quest for good design. My sympathies and blessings to you, Vlad, and family.

  • Carol and Mark Schultz November 19, 2021 (6:51 am)

    Vlad, we were very surprised and saddened to hear this news.   Our sympathy to you and Kiki’s family. My you find comfort in your many wonderful memories. 

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