Carolyn  Devitt Kiesz
Carolyn  Devitt Kiesz

Obituary of Carolyn Lydia Devitt Kiesz

Carolyn Lydia (Stotz) Devitt Kiesz lost her long battle with metastatic breast cancer on May 18, 2022. She was 83 years old.


Carolyn was born in Colfax, Washington, March 10, 1939 but spent the majority of her childhood and adolescence living in South Dakota. She loved being the older sister to Larry, who in exchange mostly tormented her. She attended Plainview Academy, and then went on to Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was there that she met and married ValGene Devitt. In 1961 the couple moved to Washington DC for ValGene to be a part of Project WhiteCoat with the US Army.  Their daughter Cheri, was born in 1962. Their son Michael was born in 1967 soon after the family returned to Lincoln, Nebraska where they lived a few more years. ValGene took a position at Portland Adventist Hospital in 1971 and the family enjoyed living in the Portland area until 1986. While living in Boring, Oregon, Carolyn worked in transcription at night, raised 2 kids on a small farm, and got her degree in music at MarylHurst college. ValGene’s job in hospital administration took Carolyn and him to Florida for 2 years, and then Ukiah and Sonora California from 1988-2004, after which they came to the Boise area to be near their youngest grandkids.


Throughout various moves music and teaching remained constants in Carolyn’s life. Her passion was teaching children. She taught both piano and choir in every community she lived in, up until the age of 80. She delighted in seeing her students grow up, and still stay in touch with her through graduation and wedding announcements. A talented pianist and organist herself, Carolyn played in the Sojourners, a gospel quartet based in Boring, Oregon, for 20 years, as well as with community musicals, and numerous churches. In Boise, she put together a spring piano ensemble for 13 years.


She travelled to Europe several times for organ tours, historical tours, and bike trips. One of her favorite adventures were two separate trips to Nepal in the 1990s to build schools, and trek.


Carolyn was always up for an adventure. When Mike and Angie started dating she joined in family bike trips, and started running. Since moving to Boise, Carolyn became a regular on the awards podium at The Race to Robie Creek, winning her age group many times. She also helped organize the annual family-and-friends grueling daytrek from rim to rim in the Grand Canyon—a 26-year tradition that she did until the age of 77. Her adventurous spirit was evident in joining in on themed costumes that saw the group traipsing through the canyon with tutus, capes, wings, antennae, wigs, and eye patches.


ValGene passed away in 2012. In 2014, Carolyn reunited with an old friend from Portland, who had lost his wife, Larry Kiesz, and they soon married. Carolyn and Larry were perfect companions and enjoyed traveling and spending time with their family and friends around the country. They shared a deep faith in God, and desire to share that with others; and were willing to grow in their understanding of the breadth of God’s love to all including refugees, the LGBTQ community, and those experiencing homelessness. 


Whatever task she was involved in, from teaching choir and voice lessons, to giving piano lessons, to directing a cantata at her place of worship, to coordinating trips, or running races, Carolyn spread her boundless energy and passion for life to all she encountered. You simply could not be in her presence without a smile on your face.


Carolyn is survived by her husband Larry Kiesz; brother Larry (Ruth) Stotz; daughter Cheri (Antony) Betts of Palm Springs,CA; Michael (Angie St.Clair) Devitt of Boise; Justin (Amy) Crump, and their daughters Ryanne, and Addison of Hillsboro, OR; Ashton Betts of Portland, OR; Isabelle, and Eve Devitt of Boise.


The family wishes to thank Kendra from Idaho Home Health and Hospice, and caregiver Orthea for their loving care of Carolyn in her last days.


If you are so inclined, the family asks that you donate to an organization that promotes music, or affirms kids in all their beauty and joy.

Please let us know how you have honored Carolyn through the website at, or contacting us personally.


As per her wishes, Carolyn’s ashes will be spread in locations that were special to her, so she can always be a part of the places in which she loved to live life. 


A celebration of Carolyn’s life will be held at Cloverdale SDA Church, Saturday, June 18, at 4 PM.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Carolyn Devitt Kiesz, please visit Tribute Store

Celebration of Life

4:00 pm
Saturday, June 18, 2022
Boise Cloverdale SDA Church
1115 N Cloverdale Rd
Boise, Idaho, United States
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