We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Longfellow Finnegan Riddle Funeral Home
Kathy was born March 15, 1950 to Herb and Shirley Abbey. She was a honeymoon baby and the first of 5 children.
At about the age of 18 months it became apparent that God had given the young couple a very special baby, one who would change and effect many lives throughout her long life.
Kathy attended the Granite County School where she learned to read and write. She was educated to the age of 8 and for the next 64 years of her life, she would forever be an 8-year-old girl.
Growing up Kathy was one of the Philipsburg “Characters” known by all. She had many routes that she would travel every day to stop and visit with her many friends. It didn’t matter if you were at home, work, the store, or just on an errand if Kathy saw you she came running with a big hug at the ready.
Kathy lived in Philipsburg until she was a teenager. She then went to live at Boulder for a short time. Kathy returned to Philipsburg where she lived until there was a placement in a group home in Helena. She resided in Helena for about 20 years. Taking a break from group home living, Kathy lived with her sister Allison and her family in Plains, Montana until an opening in the Beartooth Industries group home in Plains was available. Kathy resided at the Plains group home for many years. When family left the Plains area and her mother moved from Philipsburg to Laurel, a place was found for Kathy at the Red Lodge group home. Many years were spent in Red Lodge until 2017 when she was moved back to her hometown to live out her final years.
While in the group homes, Kathy had small jobs where she earned her spending money. She worked at the shop at Beartooth Industries in Plains. She also worked at the shop at the Red Lodge group home. She painted and sanded wood works. She also cleaned churches and small businesses. She retired.
At this point Kathy stated that she was not a senior citizen, so was not an old lady! Kathy participated in Special Olympics and had many metals. She loved to camp with the group home or with family and friends. She enjoyed going out with her friends and line dancing.
It was important for Kathy to write letters to her family and friends. These letters were treasured by the recipients. Bless the Postal Service for delivering these sometimes hard to read addresses.
They always found their home. Kathy was an expert jigsaw puzzle worker. She could work them sideways and upside down. She loved to do circle a word and always had a book on hand. Kathy enjoyed coloring in her color books.
Kathy loved her kitties, real or stuffed. As a young girl she would dress the kittens up in doll clothes and push them around the neighborhood in a doll buggy.
Kathy learned to ride a bike and loved this accomplishment. This was a hard thing for Kathy to master. It involved many skinned knees and crashes, but she never gave up and persisted. She loved to ride her bike.
Family was very important to Kathy. She loved spending time with her sisters, nieces and nephews. Kathy would fly out to Oregon to visit Lenore and Sharon.
She loved to go to the coast and see the ocean.
Yes, Kathy was quite the little traveler.
In her later years, she lived at the Granite County Nursing Home where she was known as Little Kathy. She was the unofficial greeter. She always was ready with a big hug.
She didn’t care who or what you were, her heart was pure and so were her hugs. These hugs were strong, intense and given from the depths of her very large heart. One day she told the staff at the Granite County Nursing Home that she was not an old lady and didn’t want an old lady haircut. She wanted long hair in bows because she was a little girl. The staff let her hair grow long and always kept it done up beautifully with bows. She loved her hair done this way. She felt so beautiful.
Kathy loved to laugh, dance, and go for drives to MacDonald Hamburger.
Kathy was also a cancer survivor.
Kathy was preceded in death by her mother, father and brother Stuart. She also outlived two brother in laws, Rick Cash (Allison) and Jim Rylander (Lenore).
She leaves behind 4 sisters: Lenore Rylander, Sharon (Rod) Burch, Allison Cash, Karen (Jim) O’Laughlin, seven nephews: Jonah (Twee) Rylander, Lucas (Kimmie) Rylander, Samuel (Dao)
Rylander, Gabriel (Lynsay) Burch, Stuart (Ashley) Cash, Simon O’Laughlin, Nigil O’Laughlin, six nieces: Kathy (Jeff) Milis, Kim Kreiter, Abbey (Coral) Breding, Alisha (Robert) Victor, Meghan (Mike) Reser, and Ashley (Steven) Williams, and sixteen great nieces and nephews.
Thank you, Kathy, for life’s lessons you taught us. You were truly an angel that God sent to earth to teach us about love, acceptance, kindness, caring and so much more. You will be deeply missed.
Please join the family for a celebration of life on Saturday, June 25, 10:00 a.m. at the cemetery with a luncheon at the museum to follow.