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Katherine Krajick

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Katherine Krajick Obituary
Katherine Distin Krajick KINGSTON -Katherine Distin Krajick, a nurse for over 50 years, mother of a large family and one of the first women to serve as an officer in the regular U.S. armed forces, died in Kingston, N.Y. on April 27, after a short illness. She was 90. Katherine Sarah Distin was born May 22, 1921, in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. She was the eldest child of Leslie Henry Distin of the Catskill mountaintop town of Hunter, N.Y., and Margaret McIntyre, of Cattan, County Leitrim, Ireland. Her father worked as a motorman on Manhattan's No. 1 subway line, but the family soon moved back to Hunter, where he worked in a coal and lumber yard, and her mother did domestic work. Katherine graduated from Hunter-Tannersville High School in 1939, and in 1943 earned a registered nurse degree from Our Lady of Victory School of Nursing at the Benedictine Hospital in Kingston. In 1943, at the height of World War II, Congress passed an act allowing women to serve in the regular military, and Distin volunteered for the Army. Commissioned a second lieutenant at 23, she was assigned to the 72nd Field Hospital, which moved around the war theater of rural northeastern India and western Burma. There, she treated casualties of plane crashes, tropical diseases and jungle warfare with nearby Japanese forces. Following the peace, she helped staff an Army hospital in Calcutta, and later a hospital for severely wounded soldiers in Atlantic City, N.J. After her discharge in 1946, she worked at New York City's Columbia-Presbyterian, Marine and French hospitals, and as a private-duty nurse on the mountaintop. In 1950, she married Army Maj. Rudolph A. Krajick, a veteran of the Pacific island invasions, and, later, the Korean War. After her husband retired from the military in 1955, the couple resettled in Kingston, and she raised four children full time. These included a son born in 1952, and a set of healthy triplets, born in 1958. In 1971, Krajick returned to Benedictine Hospital, eventually serving as head nurse of the intensive-care unit, and of the pediatric ward. In 1995, she retired, at the age of 74. She later volunteered as a reader for public elementary-school classes, and as a mentor for local foster children. As a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, she helped lead Kingston's Memorial Day and St. Patrick's Day parades for many years. In 1996, the Kingston Veterans' Association named her Veteran of the Year. Rudolph Krajick died in 1991. She is survived by her brother, Dr. Leslie Distin Jr. of Johnson City, N.Y.; her sister, Mary Benenati, of Wantagh, N.Y.; her eldest son, Kevin R. Krajick of New York City; the triplets, Dr. K. Michael Krajick, of Cohoes, N.Y.; Kent G. Krajick of Unionville, Conn., and Karin M. Hubbs of Kingston; and six grandchildren. The family will receive visitors on Tuesday, May 1, 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Joseph V. Leahy Funeral Home, 27 Smith Ave., Kingston. A Funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, May 2, 10 a.m. at the St. Catherine Labour Catholic Church on Tuytenbridge Road, Lake Katrine, N.Y. Burial will follow in the cemetery of St. Francis de Sales church in Platte Clove, near Hunter. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in her memory be made to Save the Children.

Published in the Daily Freeman on Apr. 29, 2012
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