Shortly before sunrise on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, with Dean by her side, Kathy Center passed peacefully on to Heaven.
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Officially Kathleen Ann (Toll) Center, to her VIPs she was Yaya or Grandma Bossypants.
Born in Denver to Rex and Esther Toll, Kathy was raised in Boulder, Colo. She graduated from Boulder High and then attended Colorado State University, where she met Dean. They would be together for the next remarkable, wonderful, scary, hilarious, rewarding 45 years. They went by in a flash.
After Kathy obtained a nursing degree, they toured the Western U.S. and Canada in their VW bus for a summer before Dean started medical school and Kathy started working in Chicago. They were married in Boulder by Abbott Ed in 1972.
Following medical school, Kathy and Dean spent three years in Spokane, Wash., where Amy was born in 1976. Kathy said the happiest day of her life was when she got to start a family.
Kathy wanted to make her home in a college town in the Rockies, and in 1978, she, Dean and Amy moved into their second and last home in Bozeman. Lovable Ben arrived the next spring, and curly blonde Adam completed the family two years later. For her, making a safe, supportive, fun home was the best and most important career she could have.
Kathy devoted her life to making other people happy and one beneficiary was the Bozeman School District. She spent many hours working with other parents on whatever the teacher or school needed.
During these years, she enjoyed picnics and camping by the river with friends, spring trips to San Diego, especially if they included Disneyland, and spending time at the cabin. While she greatly enjoyed spending a quiet evening on the couch with a book or TV, creating a party for children or family was big fun for Kathy, and Christmas was her most favorite time.
As her children moved on to adulthood, she returned to her love of fabric, color and design through the vortex of quilting. She made many beautiful quilts, designed a few wonderful patterns, and had some of her work appear in quilting magazines. At the quilt shop where she worked, she helped hundreds of quilters find just the right combination of fabrics to realize their dream. Kathy truly loved her family of quilting friends and the time she spent with them.
And then there were grandchildren! What a blessing they were to her. Her beautiful, special granddaughters, Molly, Zoe and Lilly, so enriched her life, and she theirs. And then came grandsons Noah and Liam, with more cheeks to pinch and the chance to play boy games. Kathy loved all children, but she especially enjoyed preschoolers with a little naughty streak.
Kathy is survived by her heartbroken husband, Dean; her amazing daughter, Amy, and her husband, Jeff Cory; her lovable and loving son, Ben; former daughter-in-law, Jami; and big-hearted son, Adam, and his wife, Katie LaCroix; along with her granddaughters and grandsons. She is also survived by sister, Barbara Wenzel, and her daughter, Kate (Willy), and special friend, Bruce; brother, Greg, his wife, Terri, and their children, Weston (Becca and Charlie), Brady, and Mandy; and brother, Scott, his wife, Paris Geiken, and their children, Nico and Vivian.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Rex O. and Esther M. Toll.
Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 at Dokken-Nelson Sunset Chapel.
For those who want to honor her memory, we suggest a contribution to any organization that benefits children, and she would want you to hug a child daily.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Dec. 29, 2013