t is with great sadness that we report the passing of our mother, our sister, our nana, our aunt. Katherine "Kith" Gateley slipped away on April 20th, 2017 after suffering a major stroke. She was fifteen days short of her 90th birthday.
Katherine was, at heart, an upstate New Yorker. Born and raised in Rochester, the summers on the family land in the woods off Lake Ontario with four sisters, ponies and dogs shaped her life and her children's lives. From a poem she wrote in 1953:
I have climbed a snow-swept peak,
Watched an ocean froth and foam,
I have crossed a desert's sands,
and beauty has been there for me.
But goldenrod along a road
Will make my heart cry out for home.
Katherine married a Colorado native, Wilson Gateley, in 1946. Raising five sons and one daughter, she learned to love the Colorado Rockies and Colorado Springs. She once said that having children was the greatest joy of her life. But many passions carried her through her entire life.
She was a writer and a poet, having first entertained her siblings with her stories when growing up. She has left us with amazing poems, a semi-autobiographical novel, and an epic manuscript of kings and castles.
She was a wood worker, carving intricate bracelets, medallions and other trinkets. She acted in community theatre and hand-made clothes for herself and her family. With her husband and sons, she built a house in the woods.
Horses played a major role in Katherine's life. From the ponies of her childhood, she almost always had at least one horse or pony around for many years, riding both Western and English plus training and pony-carting. She was instrumental in creating 4-H programs for young equestrians in both Colorado and upstate New York. What a gift she gave to us kids - being raised in such an environment!
Although dogs were always in her life, it wasn't until the 1980's that Katherine discovered her passion for Belgian Sheepdogs. She trained and showed in obedience competitions up until her death. Six Belgians - and she never quit wanting to have just one more.
Katherine is survived by daughter Kithie (Judy), sons Ned (Judi), Chris (Susan), Kyle (Pamela), Brian and Toby, in addition to sisters Betty, Helen, Polly and Cricket. She is also survived by grandchildren Alex, Zach, Jordan and Chelsea Gateley, Brooke Greene and Chris Hyskell, as well as several great grand-children plus numerous nieces and nephews.
Donations in her memory can be made to the Belgian Sheepdog Rescue Trust.