Her original boyfriend was Henry Toivo although she later moves in with, has children by, and then marries (in that order), Mike McMahon. Kirsten's refusal to marry until Henry's status is completely resolved is Mike's motivation in the book Absent Friend. The resolution comes when Henry's remains are finally brought back from Viet Nam.
Mike believes their daughter Susan inherited this hardheadedness from her mother.
Kirsten knew Henry Toivo since early grade school when she'd been good friends with his sister, Betsy. In February 1965 Kirsten, Betsy and a few other female friends joined Henry and a few male friends in the Toivo Sauna and Kirsten and Henry fell in love. By Christmas 1969, on his last leave before shipping to Vietnam, they were engaged. He never came home.
Kirsten and the Toivo family did not give up hope until the last prisoners of war were released in early 1973. In April 1973 there was a memorial service and Kirsten finally removed Henry's engagement ring, although she kept it, just in case.
Kirsten went to the Community College in Moffatt for one semester while Henry was in the Army. With Henry MIA, she didn't return until the fall of 1972. In the summer of 1973, she was hired as an ad salesperson at the Spearfish Lake Record-Herald newspaper.
By 1975 Kirsten was working as the Assistant Advertising Manager at the newspaper when she met the newly hired junior reporter, Mike McMahon, and they soon became a couple.
The unmarried pair first lived in her Aunt Gretchen Langenderfer's house in town from 1976, just before the birth of their first child, Tiffany. Their second child, Henry, was named after her first love.
The couple move to Busted Axle Road in 1987 when she was pregnant with their third child Susan Langenderfer-McMahon. She has been friends with their new neighbor, Jackie Archer, since school. Kirsten has long been a member of West Turtle Lake Club.
In 1979 Kirsten was promoted to Advertising Manager after the previous holder, Harry Bailey, had loused up several major accounts. It was Kirsten that hired Sally Szczerowski to help her. Sometime after George Webb retired, Kirsten became the publisher.
Kirsten also appears in The Outlanding.