Katharine Ida Kirk

Katharine Ida Kirk

Katharine Ida Kirk, nee Kolb, age 94, born in St. Charles, MO, Feb. 26, 1918, died Dec. 15 of congestive heart failure after a brief stay at the Foss Home. Up until the final week of her life, she was mentally alert, doing crossword puzzles and playing cribbage.

Katharine was a woman of great strength, doing farm work as a girl. She wanted to go to high school, but was encouraged by her family to start working instead. She left home at age fifteen to live in the big city of St, Louis where she cooked and cleaned to make money to send home to the family. At age 19, she married Jules Raymond Tayon and gave birth to two girls in the next two years. She spent the next sixteen years of her life as a housewife, PTA member, and Girl Scout leader. She sold Avon products and baked bread to sell to neighbors for extra cash in tough times. When Jules was about to be drafted into WWII, 1942, she packed the household belongings in a luggage trailer attached to their 1942 Studebaker and, with the girls in the back seat, drove to Utah where he did war work until he was drafted and sent to North Carolina for training. Again, she drove the family across country to be with him while he trained. When he shipped out to Dutch New Guinea, she went back to St. Charles to await his return. In 1951, the family moved to South Carolina where Jules did construction work on an atomic energy plant. Two years later, they moved to the Tri-Cities in Washington State where he worked at the Hanford Atomic energy plant. She was always ready for a move. After Jules' death in 1959, she threw herself into her job as a Customer Service Representative for Sears. She married twice after that, but, unfortunately, both husbands died within the first year of their marriage. She went back to school, got her GED, and traveled extensively in Europe, driving into West Berlin just before the wall went up. She spent a year working in Alaska in the seventies and then came back to Seattle to retire. She loved to dance, garden, and care for animals. She crocheted, knitted, and made exquisite braided wool rugs, an art form that is in danger of being lost.

She is survived by her two daughters, Anita Bingaman and Julia Normand, her four grandchildren, Mark Wolfe, Kim Sawers, Dianne Arpin, and Liam Newman and their spouses; and by thirteen grandchildren, Paul, Claire, Kevin, Greg, Katie, Marty and Nathan Arpin, Krista Wolfe, Bailey Smith, Ian, Robbie, Ryan, and Tyler Sawers.

She lived a long and productive life.

A graveside ceremony will be held in Missouri where her ashes will be buried alongside her first husband, Jules Tayon.

A memorial service will be held at St. Paul's UCC on Dec. 27 at 2:00 PM with reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, consider sending donations to St. Paul's United Church of Christ, 6512 12th Ave NW Seattle, WA 98117.

Published in The Seattle Times on Dec. 23, 2012