What if Twin Oaks and East Wind founder Kat Kinkade had kept a blog? That would be some pure Hippie Chick Diaries! I’m just one of many writers to chronicle the frontier life of Intentional Community. Kat Kinkade’s books are must reads. I just received the following announcement on the passing of this pioneer and founding mother of our movement. Amazingly, I was just reading about her in Communities Magazine this month and thinking that I should visit Twin Oaks again and meet her. Now I’ll just have to know her through her legacy:
Kat Kinkade, community visionary and founder, died peacefully in her
room at Twin Oaks, on Thursday July 3, 2008, at 7:40 in the evening.
She was buried in the graveyard at Twin Oaks the afternoon of Friday
July 4, in a simple ceremony.
A Memorial Service is planned for Saturday July 19, at Yanceyville
Church in Louisa, at 2 pm. If you are interested in attending, or
would like more information, please email Valerie at
A memorial webpage has been created, and everyone is invited to post
photos or write memories of Kat there. <http://katkinkade.ning.com>
Below is a copy of Kat’s obituary, written by her daughter Josie,
which will appear in the Central Virginian (our local Louisa
‘Kathleen “Kat” Kinkade, 77, died on Thursday July 3, 2008, in her
home at Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, surrounded by friends and
Kat was born in Seattle in 1930, the depression era. She became the
first person in her family to go to college by attending the
University of Washington for one year. There she met and married Army
Sergeant Donald Logsdon.
When the marriage fell through, Kat took her four year-old daughter
to live in Mexico City, Mexico, here she taught English to first
graders at a private elementary school for five years.
She returned to the United States in 1960, got a job as a secretary,
and became an avid international folk dancer. She and her daughter
Josie (who was now twelve) joined what would become the famed Los
Angeles Troupe Aman.
It was while living in Los Angeles that Kat read the book “Walden
Two” by BF Skinner. She became obsessed with the idea of a group of
people who could live cooperatively, with true equality of income. In
1967, with six other like-minded souls, she founded Twin Oaks
Community in Louisa.
The early years at Twin Oaks were difficult but exciting. Kat
believed in the idea of the community so strongly that she was not
deterred by 25 cents a week spending money, having to take turns
commuting to Richmond to find temporary work, or by folks who found
the lifestyle too difficult and left.
She believed strongly in equality, and was careful to include others
in setting up by-laws that would prevent any one person from telling
others what to do. An incisive thinker, she “led through persuasion”
and helped put in place systems that still help make Twin Oaks the
success it is today.
Over time, Kat helped form two other communities also still in
existence: East Wind in Missouri and Acorn in Louisa county. She
wrote many of the early Twin Oaks newsletters, as well as two books
on the subject of Twin Oaks: “A Walden Two Experiment” and “Is It
An important part of Kat’s life was music. She joined the Yanceyville
Church, and was involved in the choir, where she sang any part
required of her, and wrote music, including parts of an adaptation of
Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. She wrote a light-hearted play
“Utopia” for Twin Oaks based on show-tunes from various musicals. For
ten years she was involved in Sacred Harp music of early America, and
composed several pieces in this genre as well. She had no formal
musical training, and made many amateur’s mistakes, yet produced some
beautiful music and lyrics.
At the age of 70, with not much physical strength, Kat decided she
wanted to try living in a house of her own, something she had never
had the opportunity to do. She moved into a tiny little house in
Mineral, and enjoyed planting many beautiful flowers, rescuing five
cats of her own, and bottle-feeding the occasional litter as a foster
mom. Last December, when she became too weak to live on her own, Twin
Oaks graciously took her back in and took care of her in a way that
only the most attentive and loving of families would have done. When
she passed away, her beloved cat Oolong was by her side.
Kat is survived by her daughter Josie Kinkade, and her granddaughter
Lee Ann Kinkade.
A memorial service will be held at Yanceyville Church on Saturday
July 19 at 2 pm.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to SNAP, PO
Box 1277, Louisa VA 23093.’