In Memory of Kris Nóva

Please add your contribution below via a pull request or email us directly at info@nivenly.org with Kris Nóva Memorial in the subject.

Kris Nóva sitting on a gray rock at the top of mountain with a blue sky and large cloud behind her.

Obituary and Tribute Book

Kris Nóva, of Seattle, Washington, passed away on Wednesday, August, 16, 2023, while climbing.

Nóva was an author, engineer, computer scientist, and alpinist best known for her work on Linux, Kubernetes, and Aurae.

Other memorials, etc…

Arjun Bery

Nóva served as a tremendous source of inspiration not only to me but also to countless others. Her multifaceted talents spanned engineering, writing, and education, but what truly set her apart was her profound kindness, compassion, and generosity.

My initial encounter with Nóva occurred in November 2022 when I was introduced to a new Mastodon instance, Hachyderm, which emphasized a tech-oriented focus and, most importantly, fostered a safe and supportive community. Intrigued, I created a new account to delve into this instance. Instantly, I found myself excited by the community that Nóva’s presence helped build. Her warmth and inclusivity were refreshing, as she readily shared her time and expertise with everyone she encountered.

As Hachyderm flourished, I had the privilege of stepping into a volunteer role within both the community and Nóva’s personal Twitch stream. This afforded me the chance to get to know her and to gain invaluable insights from her vast reservoir of knowledge. I will always cherish the memories of the “real-time” advice she was willing to provide myself and others, which ranged from technical to personal. I will always be grateful for the positive impact she had on my life.

Nóva’s legacy will forever be etched in my memory, characterized by her boundless compassion, boundless generosity, and unwavering dedication to assisting others. I will always be grateful to her for the way that she helped to change my life for the better. She will be missed.

I leave everyone with a link to the moment that Nóva got Aurae to spawn on Twitch.

Srikanth Tanniru

Kris Nova is an incredible individual, who is no less than the founders of Kubernetes and many other luminaries in the cloud native computing ecosystem. It is very saddening for many of the seekers and admirers of the knowledge and vision that Kris percolated in every project that was developed in live as well as in any FOSS of the cloud native infrastructure software ecosystem.

Kris will be remembered for the all the impeccable contributions in Kubernetes ecosystem.

RIP.

Simone Margio

I met Kris Nóva during a bad time in my life. I’ve never met her in person, but I’ve followed her projects, conferences, and live streams.

In a short amount of time, she managed to make me understand that even when things can go wrong, there will always be a corner of happiness where we feel comforted and at ease. It could be family, friends, or working on something that you’re passionate about.

Whatever project she considered, Kris truly displayed her passion and love for something that brought her joy. Her contributions to the FOSS community, despite her job and numerous other commitments, serve as a lesson for anyone.

These few lines are not just a thank you to Kris for sharing her time with us, but also a message for anyone navigating this sea called internet. Always pursue your passions and ideals, face dark moments with determination, and appreciate even the simplest things, just as Kris has done.

Thank you for everything.

Joe Beda

I hesitate to call Nóva an elephant, but like that proverbial elephant, I don’t think anyone had the full measure of her. She was an amazing person in so many ways. In fact, I don’t think that any one of us knows all the ways that she was amazing.

I met her early on at some Kubernetes meet up. I don’t remember which one. She wasn’t, at that time, the happy and confident Nova that we know now. She was clearly unsure of herself and finding her place. Over the following years I got to know her better including having her come work with us at Heptio. Over that time I grew to love her as a friend. She brought so much energy and life to everywhere she went.

The first memory I want to share was a last minute decision to spend an extra night in Reykjavík on our way back from KubeCon in Copenhagen. It was so much fun exploring that amazing city, eating a great meal and going to all of the gear shops. She bought her first GoreTex Pro jacket there along with a Puffin themed buff. A Buffin, if you will. You could always count on Nóva for some first class puns.

Kris Nóva smiling wearing a blue hat and hellow jacket

One more memory: recently Nóva and Q were staying at our vacation place and the dishwasher was broken. Instead of just sending an email, she wrote out it out as a formal incident report. She always found a fun way to approach any situation.

More than anything I’m going to miss that mischevious look in her eye. She was always up to something and every time I talked to her she would excitedly tell me about her newest thing. She wasn’t made to sit still.

Celeste Horgan

The thing I remember most about Nóva was the insecurity.

“Why?” you might say. “Is that really appropriate for a memorial page?” “Is that what you want to immortalize on the internet for all to see?”

I met Kris in social video calls over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. It would be a year or more before I had the chance to make her acquaintance in person after. I didn’t know, when I met her, the impact she’d had on the open source projects she’d been in, on the Kubernetes community, and on tech as a whole. She was just a very silly, very funny trans girl with an admirable poker face while telling a dirty joke and what was clearly a sharp-witted mind. Understanding Nóva’s impact and contributions came much later for me.

So what stuck out was the insecurity. It was strange to see someone so clearly loved, so obviously welcomed into all sorts of social and professional groups somehow still live with the doubt that they were loved, had people that cared about them, had friends beyond the small handful she truly trusted. It resonated with me because I think I often feel the same, despite others telling me the same things I’ve listed here.

If there’s one thing people can take from Kris’ life and their passing: love always wins. You can’t keep someone from loving - or being loved - even if the voices in their head tell them otherwise sometimes. Because Kris was clearly a friend to so many. They found their family and cherished it, as Quintessence can attest to. They inspired countless others with their actions, they way they showed up to situations professional and personal, and the bravery with which they lived their life.

Kris wasn’t alone in this lifetime. She lived bravely and beautifully and was true to herself in the process. She will be missed.

Duffie Cooley

I met Kris at a meetup in San Francisco. She was showing folks how to create helm charts. I knew right away that I wanted to be friends with her. She was knowledgable and was excited to share that knowledge and experience with everyone. This would be how we came to be friends and chosen family. We both believed that sharing knowledge and lifting everyone up is the way to make the world into the better place we all want and deserve!

A couple of years later I met Kris again in the lobby of Heptio where we would get to work together on TGIK and in the community with things like kubicorn and the beginnings of cluster-api. I was so excited to see Kris roll in to the office that I think I pushed her out of comfort zone. We connected more often after that and saw in each other someone that we trusted and cared for. Kris and I had a few adventures together and had some time to hang out together while she was in California for a bit. I still don’t want to believe that I’ve seen the last of our time together. In our lives I hope that we all meet a few folks that can be our chosen family. That we are always excited to see and care for us just like we are. Kris is one of those people that brings a smile to my face whenever I think of her. She was a force of nature. She had to be to overcome everything that came before and to show so many of us what was up ahead.

Holden Karau

I still remember the nervousness and excitement of meeting Nova for the first time in real life after a mutual friend introduced us.

Nova was a fantastic influence on my life, from helping me become more confident with who I am to teaching me so many different things. She made it feel like I could do the things I was scared to try and that the scariness could be a part of the fun. Her energy was infectious while pursuing her passions, and Nova was equally excited and supportive to see others follow theirs. She gave me the nickname that I use to this day.

I have many memories of her, from pulling an all-nighter in a new country to finish a demo together to driving down to southern California to get “the professor.” She gave “the professor” his nickname after he graduated from her stuffed animal, Dr. Tigum’s school. She was always up for silly adventures, like when we went to LAX together and explored all the lounges we could get into.

Shortly after she moved to California, I was in a motorcycle crash, and she dropped everything to come and be by my side and help me recover (like learning how to walk again). Despite that, she still helped me return to doing what I loved, knowing and seeing the risks.

She was a fantastic storyteller, from her improvised stories to how she taught to making the characters’ voices in a book. Whenever we use one of her voices, read her books, run her software, watch her videos, or use something she taught us, she’ll be with us.

Nova did her best to support those she knew personally and the broader communities and she made the world a more welcoming place in her much too short time.

Amye Scavarda Perrin

What I want to remember about Nóva was her enthusiasm.

Anything she was going to do, it was at high volume and high velocity – and really, your job was just to keep up. And in the end, I remember the version of her that found where she wanted to be.

Christine Spang

I started climbing with Nova in summer of 2023. We shared a very special climb together, the Direct North Ridge of Mount Stuart, in July. I remember so many moments of it like yesterday. Stopping at her favorite taco shop in Cle Elum, Señor Bones, and admiring the colorful Dia de los Muertos themed decor while she cracked jokes with the woman taking our order at the counter. Sitting on the back of her camo green Subaru, the “Lesbaru”, putting on our shoes and making sure our packs were ready to go at the trailhead on a hot sunny afternoon. Nova at the top of the ridge we had to cross to drop down to where we planned to camp, grinning as she looked out at our objective as I caught up with her after a thousand foot climb—I never could match her fierce hiking pace with a heavy pack. How courteous she was around the campsite when I wanted to jump naked into Ingalls Creek every morning and evening. Her laughing as she pitched her one tent, a single wall mountaineering tent with poles with failing shock cord—and finding that it was much too warm for a summer evening. We tossed and turned in our sleeping bags that night, until at 3:30am I convinced her we should just get up and get started. She had a deep dirtbag soul and she usually just threw a sleeping bag down on a trans flag rather than pitch a proper camp, unless she was on a glacier. She was just happy to be in the mountains in their simplicity. Convincing her to go the way I wanted down the moraine as we circled around the mountain to the base of the route, and after finding it heinously loose and a bit scary, promising that next time we could go her way, Madam Mountain Sense. Arriving at “The Notch” halfway up the route after a mega simulclimbing block she led and feeling pleased she asked for a short break. Sometimes it seemed like her energy was boundless, but she was human too. Her reflective joy at how arriving at the technical climbing of the Gendarme near the top of the route instantly put me into a whoopingly happy mood though we’d already been on the move for 14+ hours. She loved the ridge lines the most, and I the sweeping clean cracks in vertical granite. It was my turn to carry the sharp end of the rope up the mountain. Arriving at the summit at sunset and her waving for me to stand on top first so she could capture an epic photo. Traversing the summit ridge by day’s last light to get to the correct colouir to descend safely, which she had thoughtfully gotten beta directions to from a friend as well as GPS coordinates. The endless 4 hour descent we shared together by night, sitting to rest our aching feet and sip some water. The camraderie of shared suffering, and the delirium of passing out after a 20 hour day on the move.

She was a wonderful climbing partner: mega stoked, courageous, full of ideas and energy and mountain magic. She had a beastly capacity for work. She always learned as much as she could about a big route before getting on it, and had a thousand ideas a minute about things to do in the future. She delivered the funniest jokes with perfection.

Though we only had a short time together, Nova left me with many gifts. I think of her every time I want a moment to be special, and I remember that you have to MAKE it special. You have the power to imbue time, places, objects, relationships with meaning. Through stories, names, presence, treating them with care. I learned that from watching Nova.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to know her. To love her, and be loved by her. She showed me that it’s not the amount of time together that defines your impact on another person. It’s the depth of the connection you create during that time.

Last modified March 2, 2024: Blog post re: OCF wind-down (25d74d4)