On Nov. 10, 2020, our beloved Hannah Marie Colton, 29, chose to end her life here on Earth. She was a victim of depression and the isolation of the pandemic. Because of COVID-19, memorial services will be held next spring or summer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Albuquerque, N.M.
Hannah was born in Cedar Rapids, on July 8, 1991, the daughter of Brad and Kathy (Cook) Colton. She was baptized at St. Paul's United Methodist Church and was active there throughout her years in Cedar Rapids. She graduated from Washington High School and went on to get bachelor's degree in public policy and environmental science from Duke University in North Carolina.
From an early age, Hannah was extremely musically talented, learning to play the piano, violin, drums, guitar and ukulele. She loved to perform in orchestra, show choir, vocal choirs and drama. In recent years, she delved deeper into creative expression through music composition and dance.
Hannah was an outdoor enthusiast who enjoyed camping, hiking, backpacking, biking and rock climbing. She particularly valued these activities for the time spent getting to know and connect with family, friends and strangers too. Hannah spent many summers leading backpacking trips in North Carolina for Duke and worked as staff at Cottonwood Gulch in New Mexico, helping young adults and teens foster a love of the outdoors and learn more about themselves.
Hannah's love for others and respect for the diversity of human experience drew her to listening to and sharing stories. This gave her a special ability to tell these stories through the medium of radio. Her first job in radio was as a news reporter at KDLG in Dillingham, Alaska. Then she moved to Albuquerque, where she was a freelance reporter before joining KUNM public radio station as a full-time public health reporter. At the time of her death she was also the KUNM newsroom director.
Hannah was passionate about advocating for marginalized people. Her reporting and activism brought to light injustices endured by people of color, indigenous people and other minority groups, and she deeply desired a more just and equitable society. Hannah loved people and brought energy, joy and enthusiasm to all her endeavors.
Hannah is survived by her loving parents, Brad and Kathy (Marion); brother, Tim; sister-in-law, Kirsten; niece, Anya (Concrete, WA); grandfather, Marlin Cook (Davenport); aunts and uncles, Sue and Steve Lemon (Dubuque), Russ and Vickie Cook (Grand Junction, CO), Glen Colton and Trudy Haines (Fort Collins, CO), and Keith and Norma Colton (Cedar Rapids); 11 cousins; her partner, Keegan Kloer; and many dear friends.
She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Ed and Sandy Colton and Vivian Cook.
Hannah's joyful spirit will remain with us forever. To honor her, please do everything you can to advocate for social justice in your community.
Memorial contributions in Hannah's name may be directed to Foundation 2 Crisis Services, 1714 Johnson Ave. NW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52405.
To access or leave a tribute to Hannah, go to www.kunm.org or www.memorialforhannah.com.