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Kathleen Dee Kennedy Mahler

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Kathleen Dee Kennedy MAHLER Kathleen was born in Detroit, Michigan to William and Loretta Kennedy. Following her mother's 3-year illness with tuberculosis and Kathleen's living with foster parents, Kathleen and her Mother relocated to Muskegon. After graduating from Muskegon community college Kathleen attended the University of Michigan where she received a BA in Literature. Shortly after graduating, she was invited to England to live with an American family and spent two years helping take care of their children and traveling to the continent. Upon her return from England, Kathleen relocated to Vancouver, BC, where she worked at Simon Frazer University and later renewed a relationship with Daniel J. Mahler of Seattle, whom she'd met earlier at U of M. The renewal 'clicked' and the two were married in June of 1969 at a small church on Fir Island in the Skagit valley, an area to which she became greatly attached. Kathleen soon earned a teaching certificate and taught in the Edmonds and Issaquah school districts. A quirk of fate involving her husband's design of a dress for her and inadvertently making contact with a Lakeside Middle School teacher led to her being invited to an interim teaching position at Lakeside while earning a Masters in Education from the University of Washington. A full position was later accepted and Kathleen soon became recognized for her natural instinct at drawing out the often hidden potential of students, and she gained a reputation for skilled teaching to a wide range of students from different backgrounds. That reputation was to remain with her throughout her twenty-six year career at Lakeside and as well during the seven years she tutored following her retirement in 2000. Kathleen's influence was broad and deep. Besides the many friends, relations and children who witnessed her keen insight, tough learning standards and gentle understanding, there were also those outside of Lakeside in whom Kathleen invested no less energy and intuition. For 16 years, Kathleen volunteered in the CASA (Guardian ad Litem) program administrated by King County. Under this program she served as an advocate for children caught in the legal system with very difficult living conditions. In these efforts, Kathleen projected no shyness in providing, with legal backing, the full force of her loving insight and care in vigorously standing by the child. In August of 2008, Kathleen was diagnosed with a rare cancerous tumor that had metastasized to her lungs and for 15 months she fought with great courage, intelligence, and dignity for some good days that might still await herand indeed did. Ultimately however, at 6:58 am Tuesday 18-January-2011, she died in the arms of her loving husband and sister Patricia. In celebration of this remarkable person, a private memorial will be held followed by a public memorial at a date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, Kathleen had asked that donations be made to cancer research or to a recognized animal rescue and care organization.
Published in The Seattle Times on Jan. 25, 2011
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