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Kathy De anne "Kat" Ferrell

Kathy De anne "Kat" Ferrell Obituary
Kathy D. Ferrell ("Kat"), born Sept. 21, 1954, passed away July 16, 2019, in Seattle of progressive supranuclear palsy, or PSP, a rare brain disorder that she is believed to have had since 2011.
Kat was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and lived in various states before arriving in Fairbanks - mainly Idaho, California and New Mexico. Los Alamos was her favorite stomping grounds amid the Native American ruins and Badlands.
She came to Fairbanks as a sophomore in high school, and soon discovered that Fairbanks women were especially tough and resourceful and immediately took to the area. She formed many lasting friendships; particularly the women of the First Avenue "Klondyke" house, where she took up playing guitar and singing with her friends.
Kat didn't let her gender stop her from pursuing a career in a traditionally male dominated field as a "wood butcher." She apprenticed as a carpenter in Carpenter's Local 1243, then became a maintenance carpenter with the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. After teaching herself computer skills, she became the school district's information technology guru, and later the Tanana Valley Campus' IT director, where she retired from in 2012.
Kat used her carpentry skills to design and build the stage for a decade of Fairbanks Women's Music festivals, then later her computer skills to teach seniors at the Fairbanks Senior Center after retiring.
Kat met Syrilyn, the woman she would be with until the end, in Fairbanks in 1996, long before gay marriages were legal. They traveled the world and lived together as life partners before they could declare their love for each other via a domestic partner ceremony in Vermont in 2003, then legal marriage in 2013 in Seattle.
Kat especially enjoyed traveling and has vacationed in Bonaire, Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Europe, Canada and Africa twice. She especially liked the American Southwest and, despite being confined to a wheelchair, Kat recently rode the trains to the Grand Canyon and in nearby Sedona, Arizona.
Kat was preceded in death by her parents, Fred and Adoline Ferrell; her sister's partner, Ric Smoyer; nephew, Thomas Ferrell; and great-nephew, Tony Argend.
She is survived by her wife, Syrilyn Tong, of Fairbanks; sister, Sherrelyn Argend, of Fairbanks; brother and sister-in-law, Darryl and Hannalore Ferrell, of Eagle Point, Oregon; nieces, Tammy Leslie (and Chuck, Michael and Aubry) of Palmer; Sharonna Argend (and Erik and Tyler) of Fairbanks; Susanne Petervary (and Miklos "Mitch," Mattias, Lukas and Kristof) of Los Angeles; and Mariam Ferrell (Patrick Tillman) of Boston; nephew, Arius Argend (and wife, Sabrina) of Maui; dear friends Bernie Hoffman and Susan Coltellero; and other friends and relatives too numerous to name.
A celebration of Kat's life was held last November, and she has requested no further memorials.
Please send donations in Kat's memory to the Fairbanks Senior Center and CurePSP.org.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Aug. 2, 2019
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