Kirsten M.D. Cote, 43: Talented professional's most important job was family

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SCARBOROUGH — Kirsten Marie Dahlberg Cote, 43, died at her home Dec. 29, 2014, from her third bout with cancer, surrounded by members of her family.

Cote was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on Aug. 10, 1971, to John and Carol Dahlberg. She graduated from the Math, Science and Computer Science Magnet Program at Blair High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, in 1989. At Blair, she played in the marching band and was editor of the literary magazine.

She later attended Drew University and was a member of its competitive equestrian team. She continued her studies of Spanish and Russian at the University of Maryland, through which she studied in Spain and graduated in 1992. She also studied Spanish in Costa Rica.

Following her graduation, Kirsten worked as a financial analyst for AT&T Solutions. She also worked as a project assistant for a Washington, D.C.,-based nonprofit organization striving to improve the lives of women and girls in developing countries.

In 1996, she earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from Indiana University. She soon found work as an information technology consultant, and became credentialed in multiple computer applications. She went on to earn a J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law in 2014. In law school, she was a member of the moot court team and was named to the dean’s list from 2012-2014.

Despite her multiple degrees and varied professional experience, Cote said he favorite job was being a mom. She also enjoyed bowling, reading and traveling.

Diagnosed at age 14 with a rare form of chronic myelogenous leukemia, Cote modeled optimism, sensitivity, self-sufficiency and perseverance, as well as the importance of friends and family.

An experimental treatment and a successful bone marrow transplant extended her years, but predisposed her to future health problems. They included cataract surgeries in her early 20s, thyroid cancer in 2007, and finally, a cancer that she could no longer defeat.

She is survived by her daughter, Caitlyn; her parents; her brother, John and wife, Ayala; nieces and a nephew; aunts, uncles and cousins; and her former husband, Chris Cote.

A celebration of her life was held Jan. 3 at Hobbs Funeral Home in Scarborough. Another memorial service will be held in Maryland at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Caitlyn N. Cote Trust, c/o John E. Dahlberg II, 13085 Orrison Road, Lovettsville, VA 20180.

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