Kathryn Ann Mead, 70, passed away peacefully at her home in Spofford, NH surrounded by family on Sunday, March 8, 2020 after a brief illness.
Kathryn was born on July 15, 1949, in Mauston, WI to Abel and Harriet (Dumala) DeHaan. Kathryn was raised on their farm alongside her two brothers and three sisters. Farm life was hard work but she did have fun running the fields with her siblings, picking blackberries and all the freedoms that living on acres and acres of land afford.
While living in New Lisbon, Kathryn attended high school, cheered on her New Lisbon Rockets, married her high school sweetheart, devoted time to her community, and started a family.
Kathryn attended New Lisbon High School where she was recognized by her principal for her strong leadership qualities with the I Dare You award. She was Miss Oakdale, REC and was proud of her speaking engagements during her tenure. Her senior year she was awarded the Walker Scholarship based on her potential to succeed; it was this scholarship that ensured that she could head to college in the fall.
Kathryn’s love story started when she met Dennis as a teen; turning to her sister and saying “Dang, I just met the man I will marry.” (thinking to herself who does that at 15?) And marry him she did. Dennis and Kathryn were married on January 18, 1969. Their marriage was, and is, an inspiration to all who know them.
Kathryn & Dennis had three children, Denise (Mark & Keely), Nathan and Matthew (Kathleen). While Kathryn did not have many grandchildren she did adopt many of her children’s friends over the years. She created a home and an environment that everyone gravitated toward; her door and heart were always open.
Never ones to shy from a challenge, the young family moved to Minnesota and lived in North Saint Paul and New Hope until a job called them east to New Hampshire.
Once moving to Keene, Kathryn was able to complete something she had been striving toward for years; graduating from college. Kathryn finished her Bachelor’s Degree with dual majors in Business and Sociology at Keene State College graduating with highest honors. Although she attended Keene State as a non-traditional student she was loved by her classmates of all ages, even if she did throw off the grade curve with her high test scores.
Throughout her life Kathryn worked at many different companies: La Crosse Telephone Company, Metalers Corporation, Kroy Inc, Dorsey & Whitney Law Firm, National Grange Insurance Company, Liberty Mutual and C&S Wholesale Grocers. Kathryn held many positions throughout her career but it was her time in Payroll Services she enjoyed most as she felt she could help employees find solutions and offer assistance in an area very important to them, their livelihood.
Kathryn has always enjoyed being involved with her communities from being part of the Jaycette’s, campaigning for local politicians, and organizing events for local charities. Upon retiring she was able to give her time and vast knowledge to Keene United Way as Executive on Loan and Linda’s Closet as President.
During her retirement Kathryn went back to her roots and back to her tractor. She worked tirelessly to design, build, plant, and maintain her beautiful gardens. Kathryn would often work dawn to dusk constructing her flower gardens, walkways through those gardens, and designing and building rock walls. She knew the flora and fauna of New England like the back of her hand.
Kathryn was a tireless supporter of her children. She lived vicariously through her daughter Denise’s travels and assisted her greatly with her home and garden renovations, she supported and encouraged her son Nathan with his business ventures, and she cheered on her son Matthew each week from the stands of speedway’s around New England.
Kathryn was very proud of the three unique independent adults she helped raise and in turn her children enjoyed spending time with her. Sunday night dinners in her Swanzey home were ones for the record books as she would spend hours around the dinner table; vacations were planned, problems were solved, and tears of laughter were shed. Kathryn loved to find new up and coming restaurants and try new foods; she always liked to keep up with the new.
Kathryn loved designing and renovating her homes. The family joke was that once she said “ok, this is exactly what I was thinking this house should look like” the for sale sign would go up. Kathryn could take an everyday house and make it a warm and inviting home; perfecting her style with each home.
Her favorite home was the red house on Swanzey Lake Road. She loved the “long views” from the windows, she loved entertaining around the dining room table, she loved sitting on the back porch and it was the first home that afforded her the one room she had always wished for: a library.
Kathryn surrounded herself with beauty; in her gardens and her home. Her home was filled with her favorite books, photographs, paintings, elephants, hearts, of all shapes, sizes and styles, cherished cards and letters. Her libraries and her gardens gave her and anyone who spent time in them peace.
Kathryn is preceded in death by her parents Abel and Harriet, her sister Lillian Olson, her sisters-in-law Pat DeHaan and Roberta DeHaan, and her brother-in-law, Jack Koca.
Kathryn is survived by her husband of 51 years, Dennis, her daughter, Denise, her sweetheart and daughter, Mark and Keely, her son Nathan, her son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Kathleen, her brothers, James (Gwen) and John (Doreen), her sisters Marion Koca and Joanne (Terry Jones), her mother-in-law, Mary Richardson, her sisters-in-law, Darleen (Neil Ulrich) and Debra (Steve Bailey). Kathryn was a wonderful aunt and great-aunt to many nieces and nephews. Kathryn had life-long friends from all stages of her life.
Kathryn’s family sends very heartfelt appreciation to Keene Home Healthcare, Hospice & Community Services for their excellent loving care and attention.
Family, friends and others whose lives Kathryn touched are invited to celebrate her life at Hare Funeral Home, Wednesday, March 18th from 4 pm – 7 pm. A Service of Remembrance will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday, March 19th at Hare Funeral Home with a burial at the family plot in the New Lisbon Cemetery to follow. Pastor Deb Burkhalter presiding. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to the New Lisbon Library. Online condolences available at www.harefuneralhome.com
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