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Kathryn Moden Battaglia, teacher, pageant winner

April 12, 1941 – July 3, 2016

Kathryn Moden Battaglia, of Littleton, Colo., a South Buffalo native who was crowned Miss New York State in 1961, died July 3 in Denver from complications of Parkinson’s disease. She was 75.

Born in Buffalo, the former Kathryn Taylor Moden was a 1959 graduate of South Park High School. A speech education and drama major at Geneseo State College, she went to the state pageant in 1960 representing Geneseo, then returned in 1961 as Miss Southern Erie County.

Described in news accounts as a hazel-eyed, 5-foot, 6-inch honey blonde, she won the swimsuit competition and gave a dramatic reading from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the state pageant in Kingston, then went on to become New York State’s representative in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, N.J.

“I make all my clothes,” she told a reporter after she won, “and when they were fitting me for the Miss New York State contest, I couldn’t tell them my size because I didn’t know it.”

She graduated from Geneseo State in 1963 and later did graduate work at the University at Buffalo and finished course work at the University of Denver.

She married Samuel Battaglia in 1963 and they lived in the Royal Oak, Mich., and Columbus, Ohio, areas before moving to Colorado when he joined the faculty of the University of Denver in 1971.

After settling in Colorado, Mrs. Battaglia worked as a photographic model, then taught English and theater in Lincoln High School in Denver. There she began a program of monthly dinners and orientation programs for the parents of her students who were newly arrived from Latin America.

In addition to her husband, survivors include two sons, Dr. Michael and James; a daughter, Marna Killian; three sisters, Heather Jones, Martha Cole and Sarah Alliston; a brother, Bruce J. Moden; and six grandchildren.

A memorial Mass was offered July 13 in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Littleton.

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