By Elaine Anne Watt

The fatal car crash that claimed the life of local veterinarian, Dr. Katy Krista, on January 5, near the intersection of U.S. 50 and St. Louis Road west of Middleburg has resonated deeply throughout our community.

Katy on her beloved Milton

Katy on her beloved Milton

In the words of Holly Rachel Smith: “She was my vet, the most amazing, warmest, kindest person and incredible vet.  You can’t even imagine how wonderful she was.”

The hundreds that gathered at Fox Chase Farm on January 15 to both celebrate her life and to comfort each other in their loss echoed the same sentiment over and over again.  They spoke of her sensitivity, uncanny instincts and ability to connect with the needs of her patients and their owners, often under the most stressful of circumstances.

Nick Greenwell went through losing several of his horses with Katy. “She was measured, practical, talented and compassionate, almost with a sixth sense of knowing just what to convey to a frightened animal and its similarly frightened owner.”

Beth Eichberger spoke of meeting Katy while she was a senior on rotation at Leesburg’s Marion DuPont Scott Equine Medical Center and Katy was an Intern and Surgery resident there.  “She was such a wonderful mentor.  I don’t think she recognized how much effect she had on so many people.”

Goodbyes hurt the most when the story is unfinished will adorn her tombstone.- Here Ben and Katy shared the gardens together at Queen Victoria's house, Osborne, on the Isle of Wight where Ben is from

Goodbyes hurt the most when the story is unfinished will adorn her tombstone.- Here Ben and Katy shared the gardens together at Queen Victoria’s house, Osborne, on the Isle of Wight where Ben is from

Dr. Courtney Bolam represented The Piedmont Equine Practice — where Katy worked — with her comments.  “We’ve lost a daughter, wife, sister, friend, soulmate, vet and colleague…she was beautiful inside and out, genuine, passionate and fun…she brought people together, loved with all her heart and soul. She found her
soulmate in Ben.”

Honoring her with their presence were members of the Little Fork Volunteer Fire & Rescue squad, who had worked with Katy on large animal rescues.  “She was just phenomenal, calm in moments of crisis with the horses and their owners,” said Melissa Mainville.  “She was kind, thoughtful, and we were just blessed to have known her. It is a great loss.”

Sandy Clark and Patty Henry of the Philanthropic Educational Organization  (PEO) worked with Katy in the Leesburg chapter.  Patty said, “she was so busy with her job but wanted to make time to help further the education of women.” “Yes, and she was well-loved,” said Sandy.

Katy’s father, John Morton, thanked everyone for their overwhelming support.  He said, “she loved this place and what she was doing.”

Maureen Hanley of Fox Chase Farm said opening her doors to the community was “the least we could do for Katy.”  The tables were laden with food brought by many in attendance, and the catering was donated as well.

Katy’s husband Ben, himself a farrier, has been deeply affected by the many messages of kindness and support he has received.  “We thought we were here all by ourselves…and just look at this.” ML

A memorial honoring Dr. Katy Morton Krista has been established supporting the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine at the Kansas State University Foundation. Contributions can be sent to KSU Foundation, 1800 Kimball Avenue, Suite 200, Manhattan, Kansas 66502, marked for the fund as MH7180. Donations online may be made at www.ksufoundation.org/give/MortonKrista.