Hundreds of residents attended a candlelight vigil on Sunday evening in memory of Dublin Unified School District Trustee Catherine Kuo, who was killed after being struck by a vehicle while volunteering to hand out food at Fallon Middle School last week.
Filling the Emerald Glen Park amphitheater, attendees gathered with masks on and candles in hand to listen to speakers and commemorate the life of the second-year school board member, mother and longtime active Dublin resident.
"We are moved by the outpouring of support and love from this community. As my beloved wife she was a better half and continues to be so despite being gone," Kuo's husband William said at the vigil. "She taught me to love my kids, morally and unconditionally. She was the optimist, the glass half full, cheerful and accepting. She had a clear sense of what's right and wrong. She was our moral compass."
Kuo, a married mother of two and a professional business analyst who represented Dublin Unified School District Trustee Area 3, died on March 24 after she was pinned between two vehicles while helping distribute food at the middle school through the federal "Farmers to Families" program. Kuo, 48, is survived by her husband William, son Thomas and daughter Natalie.
Several hundred residents attended Sunday's vigil, which saw members of her family, friends and a collection of local officials reminisce on how Kuo touched their lives.
Family said that Kuo, who came from a family of immigrant parents from South Korea and was a cancer survivor, worked hard to support and improve her community of Dublin. This Tuesday would have been her 49th birthday.
"I am overwhelmed to see this outpouring of love and support and I know Catherine would love every single second of this," Kuo's sister Anita Lee said. "She absolutely seemed to be the guardian angel of Dublin city."
"What does it take to be a real superhero? It takes somebody who is not afraid to touch the untouchable, love the unlovable and fight for the losing cause, even if she is the only one standing for it until good wins in the end. It takes someone who can be counted on to do the right thing, even without the super-suit and ultimately it takes someone who is willing to lay down their life for their friends. Catherine was all these things and more," Lee added, calling her sister a local superhero.
Kuo, a volunteer in the schools and district for nearly a decade, joined the Board of Trustees in December 2019 following her election with 76% of the vote on a special ballot the month before.
During Sunday's vigil, DUSD Board President Dan Cherrier called on Area 3 residents to step up and continue Kuo's work, saying "Do not let her legacy go in vain. I ask all of you who are from Area 3 to look inward and see if you want to help continue her mission as we will be seeking to fill her seat soon."
"While representing her area, Catherine really cared about supporting all of Dublin. When she became aware of the need to help, she did so from the heart and would have done so with or without being a trustee. If you were lucky enough to have Catherine as a friend, you knew that you had one for the ages," Cherrier said.
Residents who knew Kuo personally or by reputation are encouraged to share stories of her life and impact on the community on the families online memorial at www.gatheringus.com/memorial/catherine-kuo/7047.