Remembering Idaho Labor Regional Economist Kathryn Tacke

Long-time Idaho Department of Labor analyst and friend of many Kathryn A. Tacke died suddenly of natural causes Friday, July 2, 2021, at her home in Lewiston.

Kathryn began her Idaho Labor career as a labor market analyst in 1988, serving the five most northern Idaho counties from the Coeur d’Alene office. She transferred to the Lewiston office in 2009 to serve region 2, which includes Latah, Lewis, Clearwater, Idaho and Nez Perce counties.

Highly respected in her field, Kathryn provided economic data to industry, education, local and state government and nonprofit organizations. She knew how to communicate complicated data information in her interactions with customers, in presentations and in her writing. She cherished her relationships with other Idaho Labor economists and was often called upon to teach methods and process.

Her willingness to help everyone is a trait Kellye Sharp admired, Sharp, Department of Labor area manager for northern, north central and southwestern Idaho, worked with Kathryn for many years.

“Kathryn took the time needed in each situation to ensure her customers – internal and external – felt confident in the information she provided. She was so willing to share her knowledge, experience and ability to make economics understandable. Her expertise and historical perspective will be missed by many in the state,” Sharp said.

Kathryn wrote countless articles for the department’s Idaho Employment newsletter on a myriad of topics, providing perceptive economic analyses for readers that included businesses, educators, lawmakers, students and Idaho citizens.

“The loss of an employee is always difficult, and an employee of this caliber is especially tough. Kathryn had keen insight into the economic conditions of her region and the state, and she will be missed,” said Department of Labor Director Jani Revier.

Kathryn was born Sept. 26, 1955, at the United States Airforce Hospital in Limestone, Maine. As a child of a military family, she lived in Maine, Maryland, Georgia, Texas, California, Arizona, Kansas, Arkansas, Illinois, California and Montana before moving to her parents’ hometown of Cottonwood in 1968. She graduated in1973 from Prairie High School, was a National Merit Scholar and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Idaho in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts in history, economics and political science and earned a Master of Science in Economics in 1987.

During those years, Kathryn worked for Sen. Frank Church in Washington, D.C., spent time as a teaching and research assistant for the U of I College of Business and Economics and as an economist in Boise for the Idaho Division of Financial Management. While living in the nation’s capital, Kathryn especially enjoyed her work as a tour guide of the U.S. Capitol when Idaho residents came to visit.

Former Department of Labor Director Roger B. Madsen, who worked with Kathryn for many years, remembers her well.

“I had many interviews and conversations with Kathryn. She truly radiated kindness, sincerity, generosity and brilliance,” Madsen said.

Those who wish to honor Kathryn can donate to St. Mary’s Children at This foundation was set up to continue the work of Kathryn’s beloved aunt, Sister Mary Paulé Tacke.