Koleen (Kelley) Messenger, Class of 1967


Koleen Kelley Messenger died at her home in Escondido at the age of 64 after a long battle with cancer. She is survived by her husband of 43 years Lowry Messenger, her children Jennifer Rosser and Eric Messenger, their spouses Alex Rosser and Heather Messenger, her grandchildren Allison, Lea, Ryan, and Colin Messenger. She is also survived by her mother Nancy LaCrosse, and her sisters Kristine Kelley and Karan Charisse-Piercy. She was predeceased by her sister Kathleen Connor who also died of cancer.

Much of Koleen’s life was devoted to her family, soccer, science, world travel, and mentoring high school students. She was generous, determined, and had a love of exploring. She was a pioneer for women in science, receiving a B.S. from Purdue in Biology in 1976 and a M.S. from Notre Dame in Neurochemistry in 1982 as one of few women in her field. She continued by being a role model for women in science and sports. As part of her career, she helped launch a system that screens the blood supply for AIDS, reducing the number of people exposed. Her creativity and inventiveness were reflected by three patents in point of care diagnostic testing.

Koleen and her husband travelled the world together, visiting Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Iceland, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu in Peru, Costa Rica, Indonesia, New Zealand, Mexico, Russia and the Himalayas in Nepal. Koleen was especially happy that she could share her love of travel with her granddaughters by taking them on 3 of the trips. Indulging their love of soccer, Koleen and her husband attended the World Cup in the United States, France and Germany.

Koleen’s family will be hosting a celebration of her life on Saturday, December 7, 2013. Please see the journal page of her site on Caringbridge.org for details.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in her name to:

• Center and Research for Endangered Species, San Diego Zoological Society, San Diego, California

• Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador