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Kathryn Ruth Whitehurst Douglas

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Kathryn Ruth Whitehurst Douglas Obituary
Kathryn Ruth Whitehurst Douglas

Lafayette - Kathryn Ruth Whitehurst Douglas passed away peacefully on July 9th in Independence, Kansas with family at her side. Kathryn grew up in Ponca City, Oklahoma. She married William Lane Douglas II in 1954. The couple spent most of their married lives in Lafayette, LA and moved to Independence in early 2014. A memorial service was held at First Church of the Nazarene, 3167 S 10th, Independence, KS on July 21st.

Her oldest daughter, Cody Douglas Oreck, wrote the following remembrances of her Mom:

After meeting my mother at work one day, a Cajun colleague told me in his delicious accent: "Yo mama, she full of FUN!"

Kathryn was indeed full of fun—and extraordinary wonder. She had a huge love and a work ethic that seemed indomitable. She was a teacher of the deaf who taught lip-reading. She bore six of us, grew much of our food, pickled and preserved, kept bees, bottled honey and baked our bread--an 'earth mother' before the sixties made it fashionable.

As a Girl Scout leader and passionate birdwatcher, she opened the world of nature to hundreds of scouts and friends over the years. She never seemed to be teaching, but we learned from sharing her wonder in the field, on long road-trips exploring the world, in the vegetable garden and in the hives. With our father and a few friends, she once sought to find the breeding grounds of the Monarch butterflies in Mexico.

And she was always known to bring the car to a screeching halt in order to collect and examine road-killed animals. She often collected those dead wonders and then stored in the freezer to share with kids of all ages—who were sometimes a little, well, surprised. In Mom's eyes, the world gave us so much to learn and enjoy and to steward, all proof of God's love.

As our father's partner in the work of title research and the leasing of mineral rights, it was often said that our mother could communicate in a way that Dad did not see. If there was another woman in the house, the deal was much more likely to be sealed and to everyone's satisfaction.

She worked for the United States Census and once took a job just to earn the money for paint supplies so she could paint our two-story home herself. It gleamed.

She was mischievous and a great game-player who could turn difficult situations into hilarity. She taught us songs and poems and how to build a fire, ride a bike, cook gumbo, sew our own clothes (most of which she made with us), quilt and embroider. An old fashioned mother who knew something about just about everything, she was a kind disciplinarian. And, as a water safety instructor she taught swimming to many adults and children in a way that made them love the water as she did.

Caring for her nine grandchildren and two great grandsons, her neighbors and her friends—her care gave everyone involved great pleasure. Gentle patience and curiosity and tenderness were the hallmarks of time spent with her whether canoeing, crawfishing, birdwatching, playing games, going to church, riding the lawnmower or cooking.

Acts of love were one of her many strengths. We all knew we were loved. But who cannot wonder if we loved her enough in return? For her sister Barbara, Kathryn's beautiful smile and happy attitude were key, "She had a great laugh, with a full smile on her face. Her love and ours for her are everlasting."

Kathryn is already greatly missed. She is survived by her beloved husband, William L. Douglas II, her children, Cody Oreck, Creseda Riccardi, Dr. Anne Hogsett & Gary Hogsett, Lane and Linda Douglas, Clarissa Douglas, her grandchildren Dr. Alix Oreck, Jessica Oreck, Dr. Virginia Lea Hogsett Box, Adam Jacob Hogsett, Jennifer Douglas Gillock, Mary Kate, Will and Susanna Douglas, Katie and Elijah Douglas, and her great grandchildren, Hunter and Grayson Gillock.

The family and friends wish to particularly thank the wonderful staff at Gran Villas for their loving care. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her name to the scholarship fund for the special loving caregivers at Gran Villas, 621 South 2nd Street, Independence, KS 67301.
Published in the The Advertiser on Aug. 10, 2018
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