Kathleen A. (O'Rourke) Messing (1958 - 2011)

17 entries
  • "So sorry to read this Steve. Kathy is now in a safe and..."
    - Raymond Nolan
  • "I will miss my old pod mate from the Dept of Labor. Kathy..."
    - Roberta Hahnlen
  • "Steve, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your whole..."
    - Joanne Mason
  • "I am sorry for your loss Stephanie. I think you are an..."
  • "We are so sorry for your loss Steve! you are in our prayers..."
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Longtime Juneau resident Kathleen A. Messing died unexpectedly February 24, 2011 at Bartlett Regional Hospital. She was 52 years old.

Kathleen was born March 2, 1958 in Chicago, IL to John and Patricia (Loree) O'Rourke. The family lived in Dolton, IL until the passing of her father in 1966 after which they moved to Texas where Kathy's mom married Dr. John Stephens. In late 1969, the whole family packed up and drove to Seattle to board the ferry bound for Juneau. Kathy's parents had jobs waiting for them at St Ann's Hospital which shortly thereafter became jobs at the then newly constructed Bartlett Memorial Hospital.

In the spring of 1975 Kathy was working at the hospital and met her future husband while delivering a meal tray to his sister who was a patient at the time. Kathy graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in 1976 and was already working part-time "key-punching" data for the State of Alaska. She also worked for some time at Bullwinkle's pizza parlor, as did her future husband. She promoted on to positions at the Alaska Departments of Revenue as a Tax Examiner, and Labor as an Employment Security Specialist before retiring in December 2007.

After their first dance in May 1975 Kathy accepted a marriage proposal on Valentine's Day 1976 from Steve Messing and they were married at the Shrine of St Therese on October 9, 1976 (they had to reserve the date by marine radio). They made their home in Juneau and remained here ever since.

Besides being a wonderful mother, Kathy kept herself occupied with numerous hobbies over the years. She became an excellent cook, baked up a storm including homemade cookies and candies during the holidays, crocheted, cross-stitched, knitted, quilted, did tole paintings, card-making, etc. She liked fishing, crabbing, and picking berries and then worked her magic by smoking, vacuum-sealing, and/or canning much of the catch plus putting up lots of jams and jellies often with her mom helping. She particularly loved gardening and some of her perennials were in bloom before the end of March this year! Kathy also was fond of cats; taking in several rescue animals over the years. She thoroughly enjoyed the sound of what she called the "trill birds" that can be heard in the Spring/Summer early mornings and evenings and did her best to ensure that the local hummingbirds as well as all birds and squirrels did not go hungry.

Kathy was preceded in death by her grandparents; parents Patricia (Loree) and John O'Rourke; step-father Dr. John Stephens; uncle Hugh Loree; aunt Rita Loree; brother-in-law George Whiteley, Sr; nephew Jeffrey Morgan; and, granddaughter Geneva Ann Harris.

She is survived by her husband Stephen Messing; daughter Stephenie and her husband Kyle Harris; daughter Erin Messing; father- and mother-in-law LeRoy and Jean Messing; six brothers-in-law and six sisters-in-law and their spouses; (most of which are in Juneau) nieces and nephews too numerous to list; sister Karen Morgan and her children of Juneau; first cousin Andrew Loree and his family of Spring Lake, Michigan; and step-grandmother Edna Loree of Pentwater, Michigan.

As did her mother, Kathy cherished all time she spent in Tenakee Springs and enjoyed visiting people, berry picking, crabbing, viewing and listening to whales, etc.
Kathy's cremated remains will be scattered at a later date in the waters of Southeast Alaska chosen by her years ago.

A mass will be held 5:00 PM on Wednesday, June 1, 2011, at St Paul's Catholic Church and will be followed by a Life Celebration at the church hall at approximately 6:15 PM where a spaghetti dinner will be provided as well as some other goodies.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Gastineau Humane Society in Juneau or Best Friends Animal Society in Utah (www.bestfriends.org).
Published in The Juneau Empire on May 25, 2011