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Kathryn Harris

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Kathryn Harris Obituary
Kathryn (Katy) Christensen Harris
1919 ~ 2013
Kathryn Christensen Harris, 94, died March 18, 2013 in Orem, Utah. Her love and friendship blessed many lives, and she was a woman whose life was framed by her faith in a loving Father in Heaven. Her faith was reflected in her actions and the stories she shared with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She was born January 30, 1919, to Josephine Petersen and William Delbert Christensen. Katy was raised in Richfield, in a loving Danish home built by her father and learned the value of work and fun. On their Richfield property there was also a large and productive garden and her father's carpentry shop. As a child she could be found driving a few Jersey cows for milking, thinning sugar beets, or with her cousin Vergie, wearing striped overalls playing in tree houses or swimming at the Natatorium.
After graduating high school, Katy attended BYU and studied to become a teacher. It was there that she met and later married Joseph Leonard Harris. While at college they made many lifelong friends. Before they married she taught school in Richfield. Katy and Leonard were married on May 22, 1942 in the Salt Lake Temple.
Soon after that Leonard began his service in WWII. Katy became an Army wife and followed Leonard from Denver to Massachusetts, where their first child was born, and then to North Carolina. After the war Katy devoted her energies to raising a family. They lived in Provo, Mapleton and then Springville, and family was always the center of her life. Leonard and Katy loved their children and grandchildren throughout their lives. Many remember the family room wall covered with a family tree of pictures and the world map with pins noting where missionaries in the family had served. When each grandchild turned eight they came to grandma's for a week of activities and went home with a scrapbook of pictures of their shared adventures.
When Katy went back to work she taught first grade in Mapleton. At a time when it was unusual for a woman to be a mother and work at a profession Katy was successful at both. In the midst of working and raising a family she earned a master's degree from BYU. She continued teaching, writing and training new teachers for 30 years. Later in Katy's career she worked helping teachers teach reading to those with learning disabilities and worked on a federal project to facilitate year-round schools. She was head of special education in the Provo School District and later the curriculum coordinator for grades K-12. She also taught reading classes at BYU.
Throughout her life Katy gave service and devotion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She fulfilled many ward and stake callings and worked at the Provo temple. She served on a Church writing committee and then on the Primary General Board from 1978-1985. That calling took Katy to many parts of the world. One special assignment took her and Leonard to the Philippines and cities in Asia. Together Katy and Leonard served missions to Louisville, KY and Atlanta, GA, and mentored young, special needs missionaries at Salt Lake Temple Square.
Katy took an interest in each family member and organized many family gatherings. Her skills at organizing and keeping all her family involved will be missed. Katy was a member of the Cultural Arts Club and formed many lifelong friendships there. She was pleased they had invited her to join the club when her family lived in Mapleton and she attended meetings into her nineties. As Katy's health declined, her daughter Claudia took her into her home where she received loving care, made new friends and received kind support from ward members.
The family would like to thank Nancy Trapnell and Darla Simmons of Encompass Hospice Care for their compassion towards Katy.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Leonard; siblings, Vegh, Gertrude, Dessa, Niels and Eris; a son, Kent Delbert; and three grand-daughters (Mykel Lisa, Carli Jo, and Trysta Kathryn Allan).
She is survived by her children; Claudia Jo (Wayne) Allan, Orem, UT; Karl Leonard, Henderson, NV; Christy (Jack) Peterson, Cainville, UT; Susan Harris, Springville, UT; Scott (Lynnette) Harris, Millville, UT; 21 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at the Orem Park 10th Ward 50 South 750 West, Orem, Utah. There will be a visitation Friday, March 22, 2013 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and again Saturday from 9:30 to 10:30 prior to the service at the church. Interment at the Springville Evergreen Cemetery. Flowers may be sent to the church 50 South 750 West, Orem, Utah. Online condolences at www.premierfuneral.com

Published in Deseret News on Mar. 21, 2013
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