NEWPORT - Oliver H. "Ollie" Kathan, 85, of John Stark Highway, passed away at the New London Hospital, Dec. 30, 2012, after a period of declining health.
Ollie was born on April 15, 1927, in Westmoreland, son of the late Clark A. and Emma (Felch) Kathan. He grew up in Walpole, where he attended local schools and was drafted out of his senior year of high school to serve in the U.S. Army in Germany just as World War II
was ending. Upon returning home Ollie attended the Thompson School at University of New Hampshire, majoring in horticulture. Upon graduating he moved to Agawam, Mass., where he worked for a large greenhouse business growing roses. He married his high school sweetheart, Anne Johnson, on June 2, 1951. In 1953 they moved to Wendell, where Ollie founded Kathan Gardens with his brother, Elmore. They moved to Kathan Gardens' current location in Newport in 1955.
Over the years, Ollie was active in Newport serving on the budget committee, the beautification committee (of which he was a co-founder), the conservation committee and as an incorporator of Sugar River Savings Bank and was an active member of the New Hampshire Plant Growers' Association.
For many years he donated and planted the gardens on the Little Common in Newport, hosted various garden club events and was honored by the New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs Inc. His employees at Kathan Gardens were very dear to him, and he taught them to have a solid work ethic and a high level of responsibility that would carry them on throughout their lives.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Anne, of Newport, his daughter, Nancy Kathan of Newmarket, his son, Dennis Kathan and his wife, Jill (Violette) of Newport; a brother, Earl Kathan of Newport; two grandchildren, Kristie and Andrew Kathan of Newport and many nieces and nephews who considered him their "favorite uncle." He dearly loved his family and children of all ages.
He was predeceased by his brothers, Elmore, Clark Jr., and Wayland "Buster" Kathan, and sisters Grace Musgrove, Edna Parry and Lura Kay.
SERVICES: Friends are welcome to visit and call on the family from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, at the Sugar River Community Room, 9 North Main St. in Newport.
In lieu of flowers the family has asked that you make a donation to a
A memorial service will take place at a later date. Burial will be private.
For more information or to send a condolence, please visit the Newton-Bartlett Funeral Home at www.newtonbartlett.com