Kate Yule

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Kate and her beloved stuffed wombat, Fiona.

Kathryn Lynn Yule
30 Mar 1961 - 04 Oct 2016

Clubs & Associations

Heads to the Center
Moonshine Dancers
Rosetown Ramblers


Based in Portland, OR, Kate was an accomplished square dancer, writer and editor, knitter, science-fiction fan, and boardgamer, among many other hobbies. She was a member of Rosetown Ramblers and Heads to the Center.

With her husband David Levine, Kate published a zine called Bento [1]. One of her more moving pieces was entitled Half-Sashayed and Loving It, which may be found here: [2]

With Allan Hurst, Kate edited and co-wrote Fun Badge Tour scripts for the Chicago 2010 and Salt Lake City 2014 conventions, and on the newsletters for the St. Louis 2015 convention, for which she found the perfect tag line: "From the only city in America that's stapled to the ground!".

Kate was also highly valued as a member of the GCA Call Sheet's Editorial Review Board.

In Their Own Words

Medallion Dancer


Kathryn Lynn Yule (nee Barbara) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to William and Marilynn Yule and died of brain cancer at her home in Portland, Oregon at the age of 55. She attended Kennewick High School and Lewis and Clark College, where she majored in foreign languages and spent a year abroad in Munich. After working for the Red Cross as an administrative assistant and then for some years as a clerical temp, she retired early and spent her time knitting, traveling, square dancing, and attending science fiction conventions with her husband, science fiction writer David D. Levine. They were together for thirty-two years and married for twenty-five.

Kate was passionate about travel, languages, and reading. An accomplished speaker of German, French, and Spanish, she also studied Japanese, Italian, Dutch, Czech, Gaelic, Catalan, and American Sign Language. Countries visited included England, Scotland, Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic, Spain, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Thailand, Australia, and Singapore. She wrote and edited the science fiction fan magazine Bento with her husband, and several square dance publications with her friend Allan Hurst. Although glioblastoma cruelly stole her ability to speak and write, she kept reading in multiple languages to the end.

Kate was also active in the knitting, gay square dance, and science fiction communities. She founded a neighborhood science fiction book group and the weekly stitch-and-bitch at Happy Knits, and served in various capacities in the Portland Science Fiction Society and Rosetown Ramblers square dance club.

Kate is survived by her husband David D. Levine, sister Susan Yule, nieces Isobel and Alexandra Wright, brother William A. Yule, and parents William D. and Marilynn Yule. Funeral services will be held on Sunday October 16 at 1:00 pm at Wilhelm's Portland Memorial Chapel in Portland, Oregon (wilhelmportlandmemorial.com). Contributions in her name may be sent to the Multnomah County Library Foundation (libraryfoundation.org). She will be greatly missed.[1]


Knitting is connecting. Our word "knit" is related to "knot," and both are derived from an Old English word meaning "to tie with a knot, bind together, or fasten by tying." A hand-knitted sweater like this one is basically a giant knot, tying together many skeins of yarn into an amazing complex thing that is warm, comforting, practical, and beautiful.

Kate was a brilliant knitter, of course, but she was a connector in so many other ways as well. In the past week I have heard from so many people saying that they were new and alone at a science fiction convention or a square dance or a knitting circle and Kate welcomed them in.

She was always inviting people along to dinner at the wonderful restaurants she managed to find in every city we visited.

She spoke many languages and engaged with people all over the world, through science fiction fanzines and amateur press associations and blogs and mailing lists and Ravelry.com as well as through her travels.

When I look out at all of you here--readers, writers, dancers, knitters, friends and family--I see the many communities that she brought together just by being herself.

And you don't break that kind of connection easily.

You can probably all see the ragged hole in my soul, with the wires sticking out and spitting sparks, where Kate was attached. You have all been so helpful to both of us during Kate's illness, and I'm going to need your help in the coming weeks and months.

Thank you so much for being here, and for your continued support. Kate would have been so happy and proud to see you all here.
David Levine


I've known Kate and her husband David for the better part of twenty years, meeting them through square dancing. They were both astonished given my deep reading background in science fiction and fantasy that I wasn't a con-goer. Through Kate's urging, I dipped a tentative toe in the con waters, and was mostly pleased at what I found.

Kate was a superb dancer, and utterly brilliant in every possible sense of the word. She was a crackerjack researcher. She could find amazing food in the most unlikely of places. If there was an offbeat yet fascinating museum or sight to see in a given city, she'd find it, by golly. She was a highly talented knitter and an excellent cook.

Kate had a spooky-good knack for finding the most amazing places to eat in any city, anywhere. She once found what I can only describe as a "teriyaki shack" on the frontage road near the Sea-Tac Airport, along with a great diner and a branch of Seattle's 13 Coins 24-hour restaurant. I repeat: on an airport frontage road...where nobody else would have thought to look for good food.

She was a redhead with a fiery temper which I inadvertently invoked more than once. Completely separate from David's SF&F authoring career, Kate was an intensely knowledgeable reader, and an incredible editor. She copy-edited the GCA Call Sheet for me for several years, and for a period, wrote a column for me, entitled "From The Floor", about calling from a dancer's perspective.

It was my privilege to work with Kate on a number of writing projects, including two square dancing Fun Badge Tour scripts and six newsletters for a total of three different IAGSDC conventions (Chicago, Salt Lake City, St. Louis). She made anything I wrote seem oh, only about a million times better than I'd originally envisioned when composing.

I have never had as much fun being told how to correct something as when I worked with Kate. My husband Randy once accused me of looking for square dance writing projects just so I would have an excuse to work with Kate...but at least, he sighed, doing so kept me off the streets.

Although her husband David is known for being a professional writer, Kate was a wonderful writer and editor on her own, though she might have shaken a "be off with you" hand at you for the writer designation. She spent many years writing and copy-editing a zine called "Bento" with David. She also spent a number of years collaborating with me on a number of square dance related writing projects.

The column Kate wrote for the GCA Call Sheet for a couple of years is probably her best-known writing inside the square dance community...but that column was far from the only square dance related writing she did.

It's common knowledge that I wrote the script for the Fun Badge Tour for the 2005 IAGSDC Convention, "Star Thru the Silicon Galaxy." After the convention, Kate complimented me on the script, because she found it be actually funny...and had many interesting facts. Could have used a little editing here and there, but definitely it was her favorite FBT script. Might have considered tightening up a couple of passages, but...you get the idea. She liked it, Hey Mikey. Just she would have liked it better with a few more edits.

Fast forward a few years to a different IAGSDC convention with a Fun Badge Tour that, despite its rather imaginative dance stops, had the Most Boring Script In The World. Kate sat in the bus with me, absolutely enraged at the sheer boringness (as if that were a word) of the script, which detailed things like how many gallons of water were processed through the municipal filtration plant each year. "Why, I bet *I* could write a better script," she fumed, "and I know you could, because you did!"

It was that conversation that led Kate and I to collaborate on the Fun Badge Tour script for the 2010 IAGSDC Convention, "Chi-Town Shakedown". And what a collaboration it was!

The convention committee retained the services of a local GLBT historian to ride through the FBT route with me and a voice recorder, and the resulting audio travelogue became the core of the script. Kate took one look at the original draft, and immediately had six or seven highly useful and dead-on editing suggestions. Then she found some gaps in the history that had been presented, and went online to search for some answers.

Suddenly, she was sending me whole pages of interesting and funny stories to insert into the script. Within a couple of days, we both threw up our hands, said "What the heck!", and formally acknowledged to each other that we were co-authoring/co-editing the script.

And the script turned out sooooo much better for the collaboration, really it did.

Then we did it again three years later for the Fun Badge Tour script for the 2013 IAGSDC Convention in Salt Lake City, "Squeeze the Hive". Somehow, Kate managed to insert and make work a hysterical chapter on the topic of Mormon Swear Words and a final flourish of Mormon Bubble Porn. You'll need to Google that last phrase to understand it.

The 2015 St. Louis convention ("Swing Me In St. Louis") didn't need a Fun Badge Tour script...but they desperately needed an official convention newsletter.

To her credit, Kate didn't say no when I asked her if she'd be willing to co-author/edit the convention newsletter (which ran for over a year prior to the actual Convention). After decades of publishing zines and working on con newsletters and handouts, this, By God, was Something She Was Absolutely Qualified To Do, and so we set to work.

The result was fun yet informative, and I tell you true, it was Kate who found the best-ever tagline for the first issue: "From St. Louis, the only city in America that's stapled to the ground".

It was Kate who suggested that the writing style needed to occasionally match the conversational style of Iona Doublewide, the trailer trashy, drag-queen persona of Aaron Wells, the Convention Chair. I provided the dialogue, and Kate sat and mulled it over to decide if it was something she could imagine Iona saying in full drag.

At one point, I quite vividly remember sitting on the phone with Kate, both of us exhausted after a long editing session, discussing how to write not-boring titles for each of the articles for one of the newsletter issues, and we were going around and around in verbal circles, until we both said, nearly in unison, "Oh, fuck it!" ... which started us both laughing. And that's why the article titles in that particular issue ended up being:

  • Ride It!
  • Book It!
  • Eat It!
  • Fun Badge It!
  • Pay For It!
  • Tour It!
  • Dance It!

It was during this period that Kate's glioblastoma was discovered. While her writing involvement decreased as she went through treatment and recovery, somehow, she still managed to find things to tweak in every issue draft that I sent her.

I feel supremely privileged that I was able to dance with Kate, travel with Kate, eat with Kate, occasionally fight with Kate (frequently over writing/editing), and write and edit with Kate, all for the better part of twenty years.

There are sayings along the lines of "You don't know someone until you've travelled with/fought with/married them." To that, I would add, "...edited and/or written with them".

It has been a struggle to write or edit anything square dance related since Kate died, because I know she won’t be there to go “Oh, REALLY!” at me when she reviews it.

I loved her dearly. I miss her greatly. Our lives are dimmed by her passing.
Allan Hurst

Kate had an infectious laugh.

She would be sitting, quietly knitting on something, and you might be fooled into thinking that she wasn’t paying attention, but then she would come out with a zinger. Her sense of play expressed itself in words.

The cruelest thing about the cancer she fought was that it stole her words from her. Aphasia. A single word to describe a range of effects — and for Kate, it took her ability to find the right word. She was a polyglot and picked up languages for fun. She read, voraciously, and oh– the conversations.

She has left an enormous hole.

For other people, we talk about having a moment of silence. For Kate… cancer did that already. Let’s have a moment of laughter.

Find something today that delights you and laugh, and describe it in words, and remember Kate.
Mary Robinette Kowal[2]

Kate’s illness and death are profound. I feel fortunate that I was able to break bread with her and David on September 12 when I was visiting Portland.

I was introduced to her at least 20 years ago through Michael McMullen, also deceased, through square dancing. Her joy in the activity brought a freshness that was missing–she even convinced David over time to join in. Friendships made through the dance tend to last for a very long time.

I admired her amazing inquisitiveness and her sometimes edgy, but always loving, humor. We danced together many times through the years. I admired the relationship she had with David, one that was not ‘in the norm’ of most marriages. Being asked to call a square dance at their 20th anniversary/Bento celebration five years ago has lasting memories.

I’ll miss Kate. I’ve missed her these many months when she was unable to communicate normally, but David was a wonder of keeping us updated in spite of his own amazingly hectic schedule. Losing touch with David would also be a great loss; I hope this doesn’t happen.
Bill Eyler[3]

When Kate found something delightful she could simultaneously enjoy it and enjoy sharing it. I think of David and Kate’s video about Swedish Fish sushi and I still smile, years later.

Kate also did one of the most adult things I’ve ever witnessed: when a conversation started to veer into bickering, she stepped out of the situation to ask about the bickering, solved the problem, and stepped back into the conversation that resumed a useful direction. I’m still in awe.

I’m square dancing this weekend. Kate and David will be on my mind.
Rick Simkin[4]

I knew Kate and David through the Rosetown Ramblers. Kate and I would often dance together and she was a joy to know. I’ve lost touch with she and David since I stopped dancing but keep up with things from the background. The world will be a quieter place with Kate and that is a tragedy. My thoughts are with you David as you grieve and will all of us who will grieve her passing.
Barbara Limandri[5]

Memorial Panel



  1. Wilhelm's Portland Memorial website : accessed 22 Sep 2020
  2. Mary Robinette Kowal website : access 09 Jun 2024
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.