Krysallis Anne Hembrough Bio

“Be well, safe, and joyously happy.  It is our right!” ~Krysallis Anne Hembrough 1953-2007

“Be well, safe, and joyously happy. It is our right!” ~Krysallis Anne Hembrough 1953-2009

The Jim Collins Foundation is pleased to announce the Krysallis Anne Hembrough Legacy Fund, which will provide a separate fund for JCF grantees who are able to match each dollar of funds received. Click here to learn more and apply.


Krysallis Anne Hembrough lived within the body of Kevin Hembrough for 54 years. During that time she was a son, a brother, a husband, an uncle and a father. She served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. She worked for the MBTA in Boston and she earned an Associates Degree by taking college courses at night. She loved sports and especially loved to play softball. She learned how to garden and grow vegetables. She was a fixer of things, proficient with screwdrivers and wrenches, able to hang sheet rock or wire a house. These are some of the facts of her life.

But lives do not always take the expected trajectory, and the full essence of Krys Anne’s life could not be expressed as Kevin. And so Krysallis Anne Hembrough was born on October 7th, 2003 and the world gained a vibrant, complex, determined and resolute woman who touched the lives of many in ways that will never be forgotten.

Once born, Krys Anne was off and running, trying hard, it seemed, to make up for lost time. Each step of her transition, her emergence from cocoon to butterfly, involved a sense of exhilaration, adventure, anxiety – a full-tilt engagement in life.

She was a fierce advocate for diversity and acceptance. She was intellectually astute and a voracious reader who would continually devour books and articles regarding gender identity and transgender issues. She would have made a great teacher, and in fact one of her grandest moments came less than a month before her death when she participated in a Winchester (MA) Hospital Rounds presentation on the topic, “Let Me Help You Understand Me: Gender Issues of Our Patients.” Anyone who has seen the dvd of that presentation can attest to her ease, comfort and dignity in talking about her life.

Being a woman of many talents, she was a tasteful decorator and loved showing off her house in Saugus, Massachusetts. No visit with her would be complete without a home-baked muffin, brownie or slice of blueberry pound cake. Ever the hostess, even in the hospital, Krys Anne would offer visitors a cookie or dessert from her tray.

As open-minded as she could be, she also could be stubborn and tenacious when she got locked into a position where she felt a moral standard had not been met or a trust had resulted in disappointment. She expected a lot from herself and sometimes those expectations were imposed, fairly or not, on others.

In the end, Krys Anne’s life and her message came down to this: Acceptance and Love. She cared deeply and wanted others to care deeply as well. In the fall of 2008, as she faced another round of treatment for lung cancer, Krys Anne gave this note to her medical providers:

I am fully aware of and extremely appreciative
of the professional care and concern you have shown me.
For this woman:
who radiates an aura of contentment, tranquility, and Love
who just recently celebrated her 4th birthday on Oct. 7th,
who has waited over 55 years to attain freedom and congruency,
who has fought and endured a lifetime’s amount of travails in four short years,
For this woman:
To view a thousand more sunrises from her back deck.
To wage yet another monumental, near Sisyphean biological war.
To dance with death for a second time and still exit the ballroom.
To see her 5th, 6th, 7th birthday.
Your care and concern will not be enough!

Krys Anne mattered deeply. In dignity and peace, she passed away on May 2, 2009. She was buried with full military honors at the National Cemetery in Bourne, MA. Her motto, with which she would close her letters, was “Be well, safe, and joyously happy. It is our right!”