In Memoriam: Founder, Owner & Director

Katie Stephens-Spangler, entered heaven on January 26, 2023, surrounded by loved ones. She is survived by her loving husband, her children, who were the lights of her life, parents, sister, numerous family, friends, and especially her Rince na Chroi family.
Katie was inspiring, courageous, compassionate, and selfless. In everything she accomplished, she made the world a better place.

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, family member, and friend, Katie was incomparable. If you were fortunate enough to be in her orbit, you always knew that you were loved and supported. She made the everyday special and the special days extraordinary.

As the founder and owner of the Rince na Chroi School of Irish Dance, she inspired her students and teachers, not only in the art of Irish dance, but in the meaning of family and community.

Katie left a legacy. Everyone who had the pleasure of having Katie in their lives was better because of it. Katie will always be in our hearts and she will continue to provide us with a direction that is genuine, kind and true.

Katie Stephens Spangler began dancing in Milwaukee in 1987 with the Trinity Academy of Irish Dance. She performed and competed all over the world for 11 years with Trinity and also assisted with teaching classes. She had the opportunity to perform in places like Belgium, Nashville and New York, and she finished her competitive career at the Championship level in 1998. Katie moved to St. Paul that year, and continued to perform for the next several years.

Katie taught for four years with the St. Paul Irish Dancers while attending the University of St. Thomas. She graduated from UST in May of 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and went on to open Rince na Chroi in February of 2003. Under Katie’s direction over the last two decades, Rince na Chroi has grown tremendously.

Katie served on the Board of Directors for the Irish Music and Dance Association from 2005-2006. She served on the Board of Directors for the Irish Fair of Minnesota from 2010-2017, including holding the position of Board Secretary and Marketing Committee Chair.

The St. Paul St. Pat’s Association named Katie their “Distinguished Irish Woman” of the year in 2022.