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Kathleen A. Tarr

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Kathleen A. Tarr Obituary
Kathleen A. Tarr Kathleen A. Tarr passed away peacefully on Monday, February 11, 2013. She was born in Coldwater, Michigan, on January 13, 1944, to William J. and Anita C. (Volk) Tarr. Kathy spent her childhood years in Coldwater, where her love of the arts began. At the young age of 12, she directed the children's choir at the Presbyterian Church, and the rest was history. Music and theater became Kathy's true joys in life. She graduated from Coldwater High School in 1962. Kathy was an active member of the Sauk Trail Sound of the Sweet Adeline singers for over 20 years. She was active with the Tibbits Opera House Theater and took pride in helping to save the Tibbits Opera House from the wrecking ball as a member of the group that collected money to pay back taxes on the 1882 structure. Kathy also was instrumental in urging the Coldwater community to support restoring the theater in the 1960's. This was the first of several renovations the theater would undergo. Kathy began her journalism career working at the Coldwater Daily Reporter. During her first week, at the Reporter, she had the dubious honor of yelling those famous words every journalist dreams of saying "STOP THE PRESSES", after President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. This was a feather in her cap, particularly since it was her first week on the job. In 1965 Kathy took a leading role in the formation of the Michigan Women's Press Club, as a small group of women gathered together to form an organization that would earn greater recognition for women in a business that had always been pretty strictly a men's preserve. That same year Kathy won her very first writing award, "Best Story of the Year", which was about the Palm Sunday tornados that devastated the Coldwater area. Becoming an integral part of an active Coldwater community, Kathy chaired many committees for the Chamber of Commerce, helped promote school millage elections and worked to design public buildings. In 1971 she was honored as the Coldwater Women of the Year, plus the local Bar Association presented her with the coveted Liberty Bell Award for objective coverage of complex court cases. Kathy came to Marshall in 1979 as the editor the Marshall Evening Chronicle. Her arrival was the start of a wonderful relationship between Kathy and the Marshall community. Kathy has won over 20 editorial and photo awards during her years in the business from the Michigan Women's Press Club, United Press International, and the National Federation of Press Women and was honored by the Detroit Free Press an editor of the year. Another pleasure of reporting was her involvement with NASCAR. Kathy travelled the NASCAR circuit and enjoyed meeting with drivers such as Richard Petty, Cale Yarbrough, David Pearson, Buddy Baker and Dale Earnhardt. Hanging out in the press room at the Michigan International Speedway in anticipation of obtaining an interview with any one of those drivers ranked at the top of her list of special things to do. Kathy left the newspaper business in January, 1983 to become the Executive Director of the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce, where she left an indelible mark. The Chamber thrived under her leadership and when she chose to move on to a new career and join the staff at Kellogg Community College, she was sorely missed. She is a recipient of the Athena Award from the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce as well as the Citizen Award for Distinguished Service to Youth from the Calhoun Intermediate School District. Her career at KCC started in February, 1987 as the Director of Public Relations. Later she was promoted to the Director of College Relations, working on behalf of KCC with the legislature. She retired from KCC as the Vice President of Institutional Advancement in August, 2007. During her tenure, she worked during the day and studied at night to first earn her Associates Degree, and then her Bachelors of Arts through Kellogg Community College via Siena Heights College. Kathy then joined with Dr. Paul Ohm, retired KCC president, to start up Miller College. She held the position of Marketing and Communications Director and retired for a second time in 2009. Other loves of Kathy's were travel, golf, watching sports on television and crossword puzzles. Her travels took her to Europe, Israel, and Japan and on several Caribbean cruises. She also enjoyed serving as an announcer for numerous community events both in Marshall and Coldwater, where she was known for her witty sense of humor. Among her favorites, the fundraisers performed by the Three Divas. Upon her retirement, she devoted her energies to her first love - theater! A great deal of her time was dedicated to The Franke Center for the Arts, where Kathy served as board president since 2000. Under her leadership, the board developed new events, programs and concerts to delight area audiences. Children were always dear to Kathy's heart, and she believed it was time to bring the arts to them. With that in mind, she and the board gave "birth" to The Franke Center Children's Theatre. Kathy was also the major grant writer for The Franke Center programs. Her writing talent, professional connections and theatre expertise has raised thousands of grant dollars for children's programming as well as many other programs presented over the years. Kathy also served on the board of directors for the Marshall Community Foundation and the Fountain Clinic. She is a past Council Member for the City of Marshall and served on the Marshall Planning Commission. She was preceded in death by her parents and Aunt and Uncle Karl W. and Mary Elaine "Honey" Volk. Kathy is survived by her brother Terrence P. (Glenda) Tarr of Canton; her nieces Diana and Elizabeth Tarr; nephew Stephen (Noelle) Tarr; great nephew Gareth P. A. Tarr; cousins Karl and Michael Volk; her beloved cats Woody and Miller; dear friends Paul and Sharon Ohm, Pamela Burk, and the Fab 5, in addition to a community of friends who will greatly miss her. Kathy's family would like to thank Dr. George Siefert, Oaklawn Hospital, Calhoun County Medical Care Facility, Maplewood of Marshall and Oaklawn Hospice for all of their care during her illness. Memorial contributions can be made to The Franke Center for the Arts, The Marshall Fountain Clinic or Marshall Community Foundation. Per Kathy's wishes, she has been cremated with a private graveside service for interment of her ashes at Oakgrove Cemetery in Coldwater. A Celebration of Kathy's Life will be held at The Franke Center for the Arts at a later date.

Published in Battle Creek Enquirer on Feb. 13, 2013
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