She preferred to be called Kathi.
She was born March 13th 1947, in Hope Illinois, a small farming town that no longer exists... really just a bend in the road along highway 49. She grew up and graduated high school nearby; then attended the University of Illinois just a few miles away, one of only five women that year attempting to take a degree in engineering.
She left college after just a year, and took care of her physically and mentally ill mother.
In 1966, Kathi met Roger Allen Stern; a Tennessee boy who was attending her church one Sunday while riding across America on a motor scooter; on a mission to see the whole country, after being discharged from the Army.
Roger said that he always knew he would marry a woman in a red dress... and there she was one Sunday, big as life, and dress as red as a cardinal.
They married just a few months later, June 10th, 1967; and continued caring for Kathi's mother for another year or so.
Then, while they were expecting their first child, they moved to Arizona to build a new life. Their oldest son David was born February 27th, 1970, soon followed by Mark in 1972, and Tim in 1973.
Kathi stayed at home with the family, while Roger built up a reputation as one of the best aircraft mechanics in the southwest.
Six years later, Roger and Kathi decided to have another child; and in 1980 their youngest, Melody, was born.
In 1986, Roger and Kathi struck out on their own; and founded what became one of the most well respected Aviation maintenance, repair, and inspection businesses in the southwest. Roger did the fixing, along with all his children (his youngest son Tim worked there until Rogers semi-retirement just a few months ago); and Kathi ran the business.
Honestly, neither ever had much head for business; and with four kids, there was never much money... but what they had was good, and it was theirs, and that's what mattered.
For more than 20 years, she has been active in her church, and in charities; helping underprivileged children in rural Arizona.
She passed on at 9:56am, June 5th, 2008; five days before her 41st wedding anniversary.
She is loved, and will be missed. She died at peace with life, and with god; and happy with her place in the world. She leaves behind a loving husband, her four children, her six grandchildren; and a community she enriched by living there
What more can one ask for in this life?