There are many things that can be said about Kathy. Throughout her life, for example, she was very accomplished in the business world. She also was a fitness enthusiast who championed the cause of good health with passion. She was also a person of great personal faith. And, she loved people, living life to its fullest and sharing her life with many people – she was a person with many “best friends.” But, the thing that was always her number one priority was her family.
In the business world, Kathy worked as a real estate broker and senior vice president with Thalhimer Commercial Real Estate between 1982 and 2010. When Kathy joined Thalhimer in 1982, she was one of two female brokers working there in commercial real estate, and there were, at the time, probably less than 10 women in the entire Richmond area working full time in the field of commercial real estate. Her career was one in which she was oftentimes a corporate pioneer — having been a “first” many times in many organizations. Her community involvement includes the following:
At Thalhimer, she won many awards for her success in Real Estate. In 1999, she was the top business producer and was named Top Commercial Producer by the Richmond Association of Realtors. She also held the commercial real estate designation of SIOR (Society of Industrial and Office Realtors). Her other real estate industry achievements include the following
Kathy was also well known as a fitness enthusiast, often crediting much of her fitness to her eight years with Seal Team Physical Training (www.sealteampt.com).
In 2005, in conjunction with her pending birthday, she decided to run a marathon (which she had never done). She trained with the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team ( www.sportsbackers.org, www.marathontrainingteam.com), ran a 10 minute pace, had a great race and ran a second marathon the following year. As a part of that, the Richmond Times Dispatch did a series of articles which chronicled her experience. That year’s marathon was tough (temperature was in the 80s), but she completed the race — slightly faster than the year before.
Her training for her third marathon in 2007 was interrupted during that summer when Kathy was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma (a mole in the region of her left underarm). The details of her fight with cancer are described in that portion of the website that asks HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?
While she did not run the marathon that year, she was involved with assisting others on race day. And, she went on the following year to run the 2008 Marine Corps Marathon. Her story, entitled “A Monument to Healing,” was one of six featured in Richmond Magazine (October, 2008).
While successful in all of these ways, her family was always the most important thing in her life – she lived life that way and was very open about that in communicating with others. And her family was very proud of her. Last Christmas, 2009, Kathy received one of her all-time favorite presents – a business card created by Jim. The company on the card is “BADASSERY, INC.” – a fictitious company Jim created in which Kathy is listed on the card as “KATHY IVINS, PROFESSIONAL BADASS.” The card says, “Kathy Ivins, Professional Badass – kicking the crap out of marathons, cancer, real estate and pretty much anything in her path since 1955.” She was very proud that her son thought enough of her and her way of living to create such a card – but the reality is that she was just amazingly proud of the young men that Jack and Jim have turned out to be.
One of the most challenging periods of Kathy’s battle with cancer came three days before Jack’s college graduation (May 8, 2010). Kathy wanted to attend this more than anything, and she awoke on that day, losing the feeling in her right leg. Her neurosurgeon determined that one of her tumors was putting pressure upon that part of the brain that controls the right side motor function, and he felt that the only way to address it was through surgery. Kathy was devastated at the prospect of missing Jack’s graduation. But, Jack felt that his Mom needed to go forward with the surgery regardless of the fact it might result in his parents missing his college graduation. That Wednesday night (May 5, 2010), her surgeon operated. Because of the surgical technique he used, he did not have to perform a full craniotomy, and on Friday, May 7 (a little over one day after major brain surgery), Kathy left the hospital and was at her son’s graduation at 8:00 a.m. the next morning. She was determined to be there – and she was there!
Kathy also had an amazing knack for making connections with many people and staying in touch with large numbers of friends and acquaintances. Giving of herself through involvement in the community can be seen by the listings of organizations here – but giving of herself to others is really seen in the many many people who lived through Kathy’s journey and who, with Kathy’s family, grieve her loss, but celebrate her life and all that it says about how we all can choose to live our lives.
In 2009, Kathy was named among the INFLUENTIAL WOMEN OF VIRGINIA by Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly and in 2010, she received the TRAILBLAZER AWARD from Commercial Real Estate Women. Her story has been chronicled in a number of publications, including the July, 2010 issue of Virginia Business in an article entitled: The Power of Inspiration: Ivins Battles Cancer wity Same Gusto that made he a Top Broker and Runner.
But, perhaps one of the best chronicles of Kathy’s life and what she has meant to her family and to so many others is captured in the eulogy delivered by her husband at Kathy’s funeral.
Please share in the tribute to Kathy's life by reading the eulogy delivered by John
Kathy was such a special person. If you were fortunate enough to know her, then you know this. If you were not, we hope these words will give you an idea of who she was – and who she continues to be in the hearts and minds of so many.