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Feb 06
Scene and Heard
Warrior Tribute to Kristine Ellis

Kristine Ellis December 25, 2013

Kristine Ellis December 25, 2013

by Jessie Friedman with the help Kris’s cousin Marcia
originally published on Chronicles of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Kristine Theresa Ashton Ellis of Boulder died suddenly, unexpectedly on Monday morning, January 27, 2014. It sent a shock wave through her daughter Tingzin’s life in San Francisco, in the Boulder Buddhist community, and in her wide circle of friends and family. Kristine’s address book was overstuffed; she was organizing a summer retreat for her college sorority sisters, had kept in touch with high school friends, and had deep friendships from her 38 highly active years in the Buddhist community, the Shambhala Center, and the Dharma Ocean Sangha. She was deeply connected.

You heard it in Kris’ infectious laugh and saw it in her generous attention to friends. She always came bearing gifts. What mattered most to her was her daughter Tingzin, her own spiritual journey, and family and friends. She was an avid genealogy researcher (both on the computer and traipsing around the country in her little car) and was very close with her cousins. Ashton was never part of her legal name — it was the name of her much loved grandparents and her mother’s maiden name. She just felt it belonged to her, too.

An only child, Kristine was born August 22, 1946 in Seattle, Washington to Marijane Ashton Bubb and Wesley Bubb. After their divorce, her mother married Bob Riegel when Kristine was a teenager. Her father also remarried and Kristine has two half-siblings in Seattle, Kathryn and John Bubb. After attending the University of Washington, Kristine married Russell Ellis on July 13, 1968 and they later divorced. Their daughter Tingzin was born in 1973. They moved to Boulder in 1976.

Kris was a foundational and integral part of the Shambhala Buddhist Community providing meditation instruction and serving as secretary to Lila Rich for many years. Kris also served as a meditation instructor at Naropa University and for the Dharma Ocean Sangha. Additionally, Kristine spent significant time as a close attendant to Pema Chodron.

Kristine worked at Naropa University as secretary to President Barbara Dilley in the 80’s and early 90’s, and in 2008, she proudly completed her degree in psychology at Naropa. Kristine was a teacher in every sense: a skilled life coach, an astrologer, a mentor, a master macrobiotic cook having studied with Michio Kushi in the 70’s. And did you know she held great renown among her lifelong college friends as the champion jitterbug/lindy-hop dancing queen? Kris taught and reminded us simply through her being, that we can be fearless and embrace life vigorously; that the world overflows with rich, interesting material and experience everywhere we look — so we should look; that life is fascinating, heartbreaking, and hilarious; that one should talk out loud to the screen at movies, and that we should talk out loud to each other with continuity, genuine interest, time and depth. If you spent time with Kris, most likely you learned something (or quite a lot) that was riveting, new, and amazing, and had a rollicking good jitterbug of a time while doing so.

This short bio was prepared by Jessie Friedman with the help Kris’s cousin Marcia. It was written for the printed program handed out at night and posted on the Crist Mortuary obituary website.

More tributes to Kris can be read on Chronicles of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. You can also leave your comments below here with your memories.

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2 responses to “ Warrior Tribute to Kristine Ellis ”
  1. Changchup Chodron
    Feb 15, 2014

    Dearest Kris,

    For all of us who knew you; we have a broken heart.

    You had tremendous love, and devotion for the Vidyadhara and for the sangha. I am proud to be one of your friends. I never witnessed a time when you didn’t show your joy and beaming out for the sangha. I remember during teachings of the Vidyadhara going to a party and dancing till dawn. I feel sad that I can not see you again. Laughter, heart conversations and love for our teacher – you embodied kindness, and courage. May you meet with the guru quickly, may he take you into his compassion and may you have an excellent birth in the family of practitioners. changchup C.

  2. Thank you, Jessie, for this beautiful article to a wonderful, warm Sangha friend.

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