Monfils, Katharine Elizabeth
Katharine Elizabeth (Nee Westphal) "Casey" "Kay" Monfils, 84 of Edina, MN. Born March 12, 1930, died March 25, 2014. Preceded in death by loving parents Rev. George C. and Harriett A. Westphal, dearest sister, Emily Evenson and brother-in-law, Edward "Bud" Evenson. Survived by son, Mark Monfils, niece, Susan (Evenson) Koteke, nephews, Edward, Eric and Christopher Evenson; many dear cousins, friends and book club members.
Katharine was born in the parsonage of the Moravian Church in Ephraim WI, lived in Indianapolis several years, and spent a joyful youth in Wisconsin Rapids, WI until age 17, when the family moved back to Ephraim for a year. She then began her life-long study in Elementary Education earning teacher's credentials from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and later, a master's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota in 1964.
She began her career in Wausau, WI, moved to the Minneapolis area in 1960, accepting a teaching position at Cornelia Elementary School with Edina Public Schools, where she served until her retirement in 1992.
In 1970, she was selected to participate in an Educator Exchange Program between Edina Schools and the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO). She taught in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia from 1970-1973, taking the opportunity to circumnavigate the world more than 4 times, seeing exotic ports of call in Africa, Afghanistan, Iran, India, Nepal, Thailand, Hong Kong, Australia, and many more. It was her life's dream and great joy.
Casey was one of the "old school hard teachers". After returning from Saudi Arabia she never purchased a new TV and frequently told her students "TV rots your mind!" She loved to make time to read aloud to her students, and as an ardent dog and animal lover, always included the Dr. Doolittle series. Knowing education was more than the Three R's, she introduced Creative Dramatics into her busy curriculum without sacrificing the basics.
In 1999, a former student wrote to her: "I had you as a second grade teacher in approx 1974. I remember the way you used to put our names up on the board listing the projects we had yet to turn in. What a concept, accountability to a second grader. I will tell you that is exactly what people like myself needed. I felt a sense of accomplishment every time I walked up to the board and erased one of my names. …I also believed that your class taught me that nothing came easy and that hard work would always prevail. …Mrs. Monfils I can honestly say that over the years I have thought about you hundreds of times and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity as an adult to thank you for your wonderful dedication to teaching and the positive influence you had on my life. The lessons you taught us in second grade are as important today as they were 25 years ago. I now have two young children one of them a boy who seems to have many of the same personality traits that I had at his age. I can only hope that when he goes to school he has a teacher such as you. [signed] One of your biggest fans CH"
Casey loved reading murder mysteries along with any good tale well told. She was one of the founding members of her Edina Teacher's Book Club, established in 1960, which still meets to this day. Casey and son, Mark delighted in attending the Guthrie Theater for over 50 years and the Minnesota Opera for 29 years. Casey never learned to drive but loved walking all around her Southdale neighborhood in all kinds of weather, especially to Byerly's and the library. She was a fine cook who could make a perfect cheese soufflé.
Most of all she loved her son, Mark.
Memorials to the family will be distributed to the Moravian Reeves Library and Hennepin County Friends of the Library, Southdale Branch, Edina, MN or donor's choice.
Celebration of Life to be held April 17, 2014 ,at Cremation Society of Minnesota, 7110 France Ave S, Edina, MN. Visitation 3:30, Celebration of Life 4:30 with Reception following.
"In Essentials Unity; In Non-Essentials Liberty; in All Things Love."
Cremation Society of Minnesota - Edina Chapel
7110 France Ave S Edina, MN 55435
Published in the Wausau Daily Herald from Apr. 12 to Apr. 13, 2014