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On Jan. 13, 2013, Kathryn Hamilton was called home to our Lord Jesus Christ at the age of 80.
She was born on June 28, 1932, in the Ozarks at Smallett, Mo., to Walter Dee and Thelma Haden. It was from her mother that she learned both hard work and the love of music. She loved to sing with her older brother Darrell and younger brother Loren and younger sister Venita: it often was the only entertainment they had before electricity was brought to rural Douglas County. In fact, it was not until her teens that electricity came to their farm – and she recalled getting in trouble both for leaving the cows in the field to run to the house when the electricians came and again for staying up late that first night just to turn the lights on and off.
In the late 1940s Kathy joined the youth group at the Rome Free Methodist Church where she became better acquainted with a neighbor boy, Duane Hamilton – the older brother of her friend Shirley (King) – who lived across Little Beaver Creek from her. After Kathy graduated from Ava High School in 1950, she and Duane became engaged – just in time for him to volunteer at the outbreak of the Korean War to join the newly created United States Air Force. He returned a year later with an honorable discharge because his family needed him back on the farm.
Within a month of Duane’s return, he and Kathy were married in June 1951, and they began a life together farming. (Not only then did her friend Shirley become her sister-in-law, but later so too would another of Kathy’s high school friends – Delveta – when she later married Kathy’s younger brother Loren).
Kathy and Duane soon felt the Lord’s call to ministry, so in 1952 they followed Duane’s family to Kennewick, Wash. where jobs were more plentiful. By 1953, they moved further west to the Puget Sound area to attend Seattle Pacific College (SPC) to obtain a divinity degree and serve as assistant pastor at the Delridge Chapel Free Methodist Church in West Seattle.
Duane would caution congregants not to tell Kathy a joke on Saturday night or she would get the punch line on Sunday morning and laugh while he was preaching the service.
While Duane pastored the church, worked for Boeing Commercial Aircraft Company and went to night school, Kathy for a time worked as a secretary at SPC until in 1955 when she gave birth to their first child Brenda Kaye. In 1959 she gave birth to her son Daniel Ray – cruelly rhyming his middle name with that of his sister.
In 1963 Kathy and Duane left the ministry, eventually separated and later divorced after more than 20 years of marriage. Though their subsequent relationship was challenging, they eventually restored their friendship which continued for the next 40 years and the rest of their lives.
Kathy never remarried. Instead, working as a beautician at Rudy’s House of Beauty in West Seattle, Kathy raised Brenda and Dan as a single mother and supported them on a “hair operator’s” wages through their graduation from high school when they left to start their own families.
Kathy, like so many in Seattle, would herself later work at Boeing as an Engineering Data Control Operator – a position from which she retired in the mid 1990’s. When Kathy was later diagnosed with dementia, the family struggled to find the right place for her care and eventually found “Loving One’s Adult Family Home” in Des Moines, Wash. where the staff not only cared for her, but cared about her. In the final hours before her passing, her family noted that each staff member who had cared for “Kathita” made a point to say goodbye – some with tears and kisses – sharing with her family that she never complained, always appreciated their care, and would say the funniest things. That same night she died peacefully among family.
Kathy is survived by her daughter Brenda and her husband John Larson, by her son Dan and his wife Pat, by her grandchildren Stephanie, Sean, Benjamin and Grace, and by her great-grandchildren Paris, Brittlease and Dakota. She is also survived by her older brother Darrell Haden and his wife Betty, her younger brother Loren Haden and his wife Delveta, and younger sister Venita and her husband Leo Day.
Services will be held at Evergreen Washelli, Seattle on Jan. 26, beginning with a chapel service at 10 a.m. followed by interment among Seattle’s Pioneers at 1 p.m.
A memorial service will later be held in May, with Kathy’s Missouri family and friends at Walnut Grove Church in Missouri where many of her family members are buried and where she worshiped as a youth.
Please see an on-line tribute to her at http://www.Washelli.com/memorials/memorials.php/dID/651506 and leave a remembrance if you have a memory to share. Kathy died at peace with her Lord, without obvious pain, with her affairs in order, and surrounded by pictures of past and present loved ones and with family members kneeling beside her – may we all be so blessed.