Kathleen Jo "Kathy" Gauen-Fidler died Nov. 4, 2013, at a nursing home in Pleasant Hills, Calif., after declining for many years due to early onset Alzheimer's Disease.
Kathy was born Jan. 27, 1943, and grew up in Collinsville, graduating from CHS in 1960. Kathy was the oldest child of the late Francis A. Gauen (1961) and Martha A. Gauen (2004), owners of Gauen Lumber Company, a long-time Collinsville building materials business.
Kathy attended Lake Forest College for one year before transferring to the University of Illinois, graduating with degrees in Journalism and Social Work. At the U of I, she worked as a staff member on the Daily Illini with Roger Ebert and was active in campus civil rights organizations promoting desegregation in the South. After her undergraduate years at the U of I, Kathy worked as a social worker in Chicago during her early 20's before completing her master's degree in social work at Arizona State University in 1970, with an emphasis on psychotherapy. After moving to San Francisco, Kathy worked as a social worker/therapist at various mental health clinics and started a private practice as a therapist. In 1973, she met Michael Fidler, Md., a psychiatrist, while working at a community mental health clinic in Daly City. Kathy and Michael were married in 1977 and eventually moved to Alamo near Walnut Creek, Calif., where they raised two children, Alexander Samuel Fidler (born 1978) and Anastasia Grace Gauen-Fidler (born 1985). After Kathy and Michael moved to Alamo, Kathy accepted a full-time position as a family therapist in 1980 with Kaiser Permanente's Oakland clinic where she worked until retiring in December, 2000, after her initial diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease.
Kathy traveled extensively in Europe during high school and college, working as a secretary at the American Embassy in Madrid for several months to pay for her college travels. Kathy was a gifted and creative artist, attending California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland after moving to Alamo. One of her professors was noted artist Jay Defeo who became Kathy's mentor and friend. Kathy also was a supporter of women's rights organizations in the Bay Area. During Kathy's professional career, she was an effective and successful therapist who helped countless clients with short term and long term mental health issues. She also was a loving wife to Michael and dedicated mother to her children. Kathy's husband, Michael, remained loving, patient and supportive to Kathy during her long struggle with Alzheimer's Disease.
Kathy is survived by her husband, Michael, of Walnut Creek, and her two children, Alexander of Santa Barbara, and Anastasia of San Francisco, in addition to her brother, Andrew C. Gauen, of Sammamish, Wash.
There will be no formal services, but donations to the
can be made in Kathy's name.
Published in Belleville News-Democrat from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, 2013