Lifelong San Diego resident Kathryn Crippen Hattox — who served as an Old Globe board member and was known as a businesswoman, civic leader and philanthropist — died April 29 at her Point Loma home following a brief illness. She was 86.
“Kathy Hattox helped shape the cultural vibrancy of our city, and her passing leaves behind an emptiness that will be hard to fill,” said Barry Edelstein, Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director of The Old Globe. “Her generosity to The Old Globe over decades transformed this institution. She loved theatre and loved talking about this art and how it gets made, and she took great pride in the fact that San Diego is a national force in this field. I will always cherish our close friendship, and I will hold her up as the ideal of a philanthropist and civic volunteer.”
“Kathy’s intellect, her love of the theatre, and her love of this community helped to guide the Globe for many years,” said Old Globe Board of Directors Chair Vicki L. Zeiger. “I looked to her as a former board chair for support and was inspired by her strength, knowledge, and generosity. I will personally miss her very much.”
Born Kathryn Alice Roche in San Diego on Dec. 15, 1930, she grew up in Kensington and attended Hoover High School and San Diego State University before graduating from UCLA following her first marriage.
After several years devoted primarily to raising her four children, she became active in the San Diego County Medical Auxiliary. It was at that point that she decided she should pursue interests beyond home life. After graduating from law school at the University of San Diego, she specialized in estate planning and later began investing in commercial real estate and other ventures. She was a principal investor in Specialty Metals Steel.
Kathy, as she preferred to be known, enjoyed a passion for travel, adventure, and the outdoors.
Having traveled to over 100 nations she was quoted as saying, “San Diego is one of the loveliest places on the entire planet.”
Her love of San Diego led to her philanthropy, and particularly to her engagement with institutions in Balboa Park. In addition to The Old Globe, where she served as Chair of the Board of Directors in 2006 and 2007, she was an active supporter and leader in the growth of the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Natural History Museum, and the San Diego Museum of Art. She recently served on the board of the San Diego Opera and continued to be active in many of these institutions until very shortly before her death.
She is survived by her husband, John S. Hattox, MD, and her daughters, Sue Blessey, Margaret Maas, and Sylvia Maas. She has three grandchildren, Quentin Cobb, Tay Blessey, Erroll Maas, and a great grandchild, Lily Cobb. Her son, Alex Maas, and her former spouses, Harry Maas, MD, and Ken Crippen, MD, predeceased her.
Memorial contributions may be made to any of the institutions in which she served. A celebration of her life will be held at The Old Globe at a date yet to be determined.