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Mary Kathryn "Kitty" Decker


1945 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Mary Kathryn "Kitty" Decker Obituary
Mary Kathryn “Kitty” Decker

Oct. 10, 1945 - Sept. 12, 2018

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - Mary Kathryn “Kitty” (Watts) Decker, 72, of West Lafayette went to her heavenly home September 12, 2018 at Franciscan Health Lafayette East. Born October 10, 1945, Kitty was the oldest of five children of Stanley W. and Laura F. Watts. She grew up in Scott and Jackson Counties, graduating from Crothersville High School in 1963. She was a 10-year 4-H member, active in band and the Sunshine Society. She received the DAR Good Citizen Award from the Fort Vallonia Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and was named the CHS Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow.

Kitty graduated from Purdue University with a BS in vocational home economics education in June 1967. One week later she married her college sweetheart, Ken C. Decker, who survives. Kitty taught home economics in Washington, D.C., South Bend, and St. Joseph County, Indiana. She was a nutrition educator for the Dairy and Nutrition Council of North Indiana. She served as a 4-H leader in St. Joseph County and judged 4-H projects at the county and state level in Indiana and Michigan for more than 30 years.

Kitty was a certified and active member of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) for more than 50 years, serving as President of the Indiana affiliate in 1987-88. She joined the International Federation of Home Economics (IFHE) in 1995 and attended five quadrennial IFHE World Conferences. She was presented the Honor Award from the Indiana Affiliate AAFCS in 2015 and is listed in “Leaders in Family and Consumer Sciences” published in 2016.

A woman of faith, service, and commitment, Kitty was a lifelong United Methodist, serving in many capacities in her home churches in South Bend and West Lafayette, in leadership roles with United Methodist Women, Church Women United and Operation Classroom (OC) mission to west Africa, including two mission trips to Liberia. She received the United Methodist Women “Woman of the Year” award in 1992 from Faith UMC, South Bend, and in 2008 from First UMC, West Lafayette.

Kitty and Ken are strong supporters of Purdue University. Kitty was a charter member of the Center for Families and served on the advisory board of the Purdue Center for Cancer Research. She was also active in several community and philanthropic organizations including Purdue Women's Club, Tri Kappa Sorority, Mary L. Matthews Club, the Art League, Friends of the Library, and Indiana Consumer Trends Council. She and Ken enjoyed travels throughout the world and spending time at their winter home in Englewood, FL.

Kitty's greatest joy was her family, especially daughters, Emalee (Bill) Havel and Katie (Aaron) Bradshaw and their children: Will, Sam, and Zach Havel; and Charlotte “Charlie” Bradshaw. In addition to her husband, children, and grandchildren, Kitty is survived by her sisters, Annie (Dick) Cloncs of Danville, IN, Jean (Dale) Morris of Noblesville, IN, and Debbie Ross of West Chester, OH; brother, Dave (Sandy) Watts of Columbus, IN, four nieces, two nephews, and many extended family members.

The Funeral celebrating the life of Kitty Decker will be held on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 11:00 am at First United Methodist Church, 1700 West State Street, West Lafayette with Reverend Stephen Bibb officiating. Visitation will be Tuesday, September 18, 2018 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at First United Methodist Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Purdue University Center for Cancer Research. You may sign the guest book and leave memories at www.soller-baker.com.
Published in South Bend Tribune on Sept. 16, 2018
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