They called her their soccer “mom” and loved her laugh. She was admired for her strong leadership and her big heart. Her passion for adventure was rivaled only by her commitment to helping others. Among the many campus groups she participated in – the biology and Spanish communities, the club soccer team and Relay for Life – Katie Chale, a ’14 alum, was a vibrant presence.
Chale, 22, who died Sept. 17 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident on Vashon Island near Seattle, was honored at an informal memorial Mass. She is survived by her parents and her brother.
“She was fearless but responsible, mature but always knew when to have fun, and incredibly intelligent,” said Katy Danforth, a friend of Chale’s who played soccer with her.
Fr. Art Wheeler, who was the presider and homilist at the memorial Mass, said he saw those traits in Chale during her time working in the Study Abroad office.
“She was very earnest about making a difference in terms of helping other people,” Wheeler said. “She was very oriented towards others.”
Chale worked as a student coordinator for the Granada study abroad program for more than two years after studying there her sophomore year. She took most of her Spanish courses with professor Kate Regan, who died unexpectedly on July 23.
Regan and Chale were good friends, and the background of Chale’s phone was a photo of the two at the 2014 graduation ceremony in May.
The energy Chale poured into her Spanish classes was purposeful. She saw the language as a tool to help her help others, according to Wheeler.
Chale’s first experience in humanitarian work abroad was her 2009 two-week immersion in Paraguay. She was troubled by the lack of medical services for people there, especially as some suffered from easily fixed ailments.
Her mission in coming to UP was in part to prepare herself for working in a medical-aid capacity in Latin America.
Yet Chale also spread her energy into other campus areas. She made time to enjoy athletic activities like hiking, and she loved exploring the Pacific Northwest coast.
Senior Jessie Robinson, who played club soccer with her for two years, remembers Chale fondly.
“We called her the team mom,” Robinson said. “She was always the one with the Band-Aids and the Ibuprofen. She looked after us and cared for us. We were so grateful to have her.”
The team also gave the nickname “team dad” to Chale’s boyfriend Chris Roberts, who attended games to support them and always brought a camera.
Robinson said Chale’s leadership style, which balanced determination with laughter, was inspiring.
“There was just something about her that made you want to prove that you were good enough to be on the team with her,” Robinson said. “She knew how to put you in a good mood even when you were freezing”.
“We’re going to miss her so much.”