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Kathryn F. Holler

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Kathryn F. Holler Obituary
Holler, Kathryn F. 104, of Naperville, died Friday, December 6, 2013, at ManorCare in Naperville. She was born February 3, 1909 in Mendota, IL, to George W. and Minnie (nee Addicks) Frey. Mrs. Holler attended Blackstone Public Grade School and the Mendota Township High School when Ralph Beebe was Superintendent of the Mendota school system. She continued her studies at Beloit College, The University of Wisconsin at Madison and was graduated from Illinois State University at Normal, IL in 1931. The teaching field was crowded then, and Mr. Beebe, who by then was superintendent of the Naperville elementary school system, offered Kathryn a position teaching fourth grade at Ellsworth Elementary School in Naperville. That was the beginning of a thirty-nine-year teaching career, sixteen years in fourth grade and twenty-three years in third grade and all at Ellsworth School. She took three years off from teaching when her daughter Mary Kay was born, and she retired in 1973. In the Depression years, women teachers were not allowed to marry. Kathryn had met her future husband, Phil Holler, at a church picnic in Dixon, IL in 1928. Phil was from the small farming community of Arlington, IL, west of Mendota. He moved to Naperville five years after Kathryn's move, and they continued to date for nearly a decade, while Phil worked for Sears in Chicago and in Indiana. Phil had enlisted in the National Guard in 1940, and when World War II broke out, his outfit was activated for service. Just before he was to ship overseas to join up with Patton's 3rd Army, the Naperville School board changed its policy on women teachers. Phil got a quick pass from the Army, and the two were married July 3, 1943. Many of Kathryn's students have been involved in the history of this area and elsewhere - including, among many others, local realtor Gene Darfler; Bud Boecker, retired fire chief of the Lisle Township Fire District; local businessman Russell Breitweiser; award-winning landscape architect Rich Hitchcock; Wilbert Hageman, past president of the DuPage County Fair Association; Hall of Fame sportscaster Harry Kalas; and Naperville's Mayor George Pradel. In 1988, Ellsworth school was dedicated in her honor, because of her long and caring teaching service to the children of the east side of Naperville. A plaque is mounted on the wall just inside the main door to the school indicating that honor. Her teaching philosophy was immortalized in the "Golden Rule Days" sculpture as part of Naperville's Century Walk public arts program. In 2000, a stylized school with a teacher and students was erected on the walkway off the south side of Jefferson Avenue, just east of Washington Street. "A teacher must have a loving spirit and teach each child equally, regardless of the child's background." She was a member of the First Congregational Church of Naperville for more than sixty years; a member of the DuPage and Illinois Retired Teachers Associations; the Naperville Heritage Society and had served as a volunteer at Edward Hospital for many years. Her parents predeceased her, as did her only sibling, her brother Ellis who died at the age of 13, just two years after Kathryn was born. She is survived by her only child, a daughter, Mary Kay (Steve) Hyett; four grandchildren, Kimberly (Cortney) Nehls, Cindy Hyett, PJ (Kendra) Hyett and Stephanie (Dan) McCubbin; plus three great-grandchildren, Grant, Liberty and Reagan Nehls. At her request, the family will hold a private service, with interment at the Restland Cemetery in Mendota, IL. Memorials may be made to the First Congregational Church, 25 E Benton Ave., Naperville, IL 60540 or to the DuPage Community Foundation, 104 E. Roosevelt Rd., Suite 204, Wheaton, IL 60187 for the benefit of DuPage Seniors Meals on Wheels. Arrangements were handled by the Beidelman Kunsch Funeral Home and Crematory, 516 S. Washington St. Naperville, IL 60540, 630-355-0264 www.beidelmankunschfh.com.

Published in the Naperville Sun on Dec. 8, 2013
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