Community Mourns Loss of Librarian, Friend


by Kelsey Knutson

Simpson librarian Kristi Ellingson of Indianola passed away on Thursday, Oct. 28 in her home after a courageous battle with ovarian cancer.

Ellingson, 53, began her employment at Simpson College in December of 1989 as the Circulation Assistant and moved to the interlibrary loan area in 1993.

“Kristi was respected for her excellent sleuthing abilities, her attention to detail and her professionalism with a personal touch,” College Archivist and Librarian Cyd Dyer said.

“I’ll remember her focused work ethic; she did her best every day.”

Ellingson was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer in May 2008, but she could still be seen helping out around Dunn Library. In turn, the community at Dunn Library turned around to help Ellingson when she needed it.

With the help of her daughter and 2008 Simpson graduate, Jessica Ellingson, the staff at Dunn Library assisted Ellingson in creating the Bald Eagle Team. The team participated in the Walk/Run to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer last spring.

More recently, the librarians supported ovarian cancer research by taking part in Teal Toes, which donates money to research when women receive pedicures and paint their toes teal.

Ellingson is also the mother of Simpson cross country runner and Storm record holder, senior Catie Ellingson.

Dyer said Ellingson touched the lives of many students and more.

“With her calm intellect, kindness and a great sense of humor, Kristi made all of us at Dunn Library better people for having worked with her,” she said.

Services for Ellingson will be held 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 1 at First United Methodist Church in Indianola. Flowers and memorials may be given to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition or Kiya Koda Humane Society.

 Everyone has been sharing their fond memories of Kristi.. She loved to locate missing items and enjoyed the challenge each day of locating materials for our students and faculty. I have many thank you notes and emails in her file from those she assisted. Student workers enjoyed being under her supervision — they shared their lives with her and she encouraged each and every student.

After her diagnosis and surgery in May 2008, her emails say: Hope ILL isn’t driving you too crazy… I’ll be back before you know it!! — getting over this bump in the road — what a crazy life! She always wanted to stay in the loop but never wanted to be the center of attention. We’ll miss her three daughters coming through the library as they have for many years. Godspeed my friend…