The Scarborough woman who was hit and killed while riding a bicycle Friday on Route 1 in Scarborough was an aspiring novelist and substitute teacher for the Portland School Department.

Kathleen “Kate” Kirsch, 63, was remembered Sunday by her family and colleagues as a person who loved working with children, as well as writing, caring for animals, reading books and singing in her church choir.

Kathleen “Kate” Kirsch Photo courtesy of the Kirsch family

Scarborough police said Kirsch was riding a bicycle on Route 1 near On the Vine Marketplace around 3 p.m. when she was hit by a car. She died Saturday morning at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Police have not publicly identified the driver of the car. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Kirsch’s younger brother, Vincent Kirsch of Beverly Hills, California, said his sister had been writing a novel about her life experiences. Vincent Kirsch is a published author who writes picture books for children.

One of his books, titled “How I Learned to Fall Out of Trees,” was inspired by his sister. The book is about growing up and moving forward with your life, he said in a telephone interview Sunday night.

Kathleen Kirsch grew up in Massena, New York, and attended Syracuse University. She graduated from St. Lawrence College in Ontario. Her brother said she studied journalism and English literature, and worked as a reporter after graduation at a weekly newspaper in upstate New York.


A stretch of Route 1 near On the Vine Marketplace, at right, where Kathleen Kirsch, 63, of Scarborough was hit by a car on her bike on Friday. Police announced Saturday morning that Kirsch had died at Maine Medical Center. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

She moved to Scarborough about 10 years ago, and for the past four years had worked as a substitute teacher for the Portland School Department. Her assignments took her to schools throughout the district, but she spent a significant amount of time teaching at Rowe Elementary School between January and June of this year.

“We at Rowe knew her well,” Sarah Jane Sirois, Rowe’s assistant principal, said in an email Saturday evening. “She’s fantastic and loves children. We are heartbroken to hear of this news. This past week, she was in the pre-K classroom subbing for one of our ed techs and was thrilled to be working with our youngest learners. She will be greatly missed.”

According to Kirsch’s brother, she was a member of two writing groups in South Portland and Cape Elizabeth, loved animals, especially horses, cats and dogs, and was a member of the choir at St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church in Falmouth. She also participated in community theater and was in the process of planning a trip to Paris at the time of her death.

Her family is asking that donations in her memory be made to the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.

Kirsch is survived by four siblings. Her parents are deceased.

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