Friends remember Katie Bartlett, the teacher killed by lightning days after her wedding

CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. - A woman killed by lightning while hiking Mount Yale Friday was an Adams County teacher who had celebrated her wedding less than a week prior.

Kathleen "Katie" Bartlett, 31, was hiking with her husband, 32-year-old Ryan Pocius when they were both struck. Pocius was released from the hospital by Sunday.

"She just was so in love and so grateful and just so happy," said Deborah Young, Bartlett's friend and former college professor. "My heart goes to (Pocius) incredibly. The pain he must be feeling, I can't even imagine."

Young traveled with Bartlett to Nicaragua several years ago to help educate children living and working in landfills. She shared a photo of Bartlett tending to a girl who had been injured.

"Fires would just start there, and this woman had been burned," Young recalled. "And Katie got our first aid bag and bent down and started to treat her burns. She was just a very generous, caring and giving person."

Other friends describe Bartlett as a beautiful person who had a passion for teaching.

"She was an incredible and dedicated educator who touched many lives through her care for young children and her support of families," said friend Whitney Harrell. "We hope to honor her through the continued advocacy of young children."

"Katie was honestly one of the kindest, brightest and loving souls I've ever had the honor of knowing," said friend Martin Armendariz. "She cared deeply for her fellow man and was a force of good wherever she was."

"We called her Katie-Bug," said Grace Jaquez-Chase. "She was a soft, gentle breeze in any space she graced. Our family is saddened by her passing, yet certain that Katie-Bug is in a loving, blissful and perfect space."

Young said she is now working to create a scholarship program in Bartlett's name.

"We have her alive in our hearts, however, this is something I think other people can get to know her through," Young said. "All the contributions she's made to so many children."

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