2015-10-08 / Obituaries

Kathren Pawlicki

Kathren Pawlicki entered into rest September 29, 2015.

A service of celebration for Kay’s life was held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 3, at Lutheran Church By The Lake in McCormick, S.C. with a reception following.

Kathren Pawlicki was the family matriarch. She was called “a force of Nature” by her son-in-law, Rev. Dr. John “Dusty” Rhodes, the “white tornado” by her beloved deceased husband Michael, and simply “mom” by her daughter, Helene Kathren Rho­des and son, Michael John Pawlicki and wife, Priscilla. Her grandchil­dren, Rosemary Rhodes Royston and husband, Rusty, along with son, Joseph Matthew Rhodes and wife, Elsa, called her “grandma” while the great-grandchildren, Luke and Kath­ren Sage Royston called her “Nanny P.” along with great-grandsons, Brian and José Heredia.

Kay was born and raised in Pearl River, N.Y., located a few miles from the Hudson River and 20 miles outside of Manhattan. She was the 1935 Valedictorian of the Pearl River Public Schools. Although unable to afford college, she made sure her children attended college and gradu­ate school.

While in school Kay spoke Russian and German and read Latin. With mom’s gift of languages, her children knew how to use the subjunctive mood in speech before they even learned the grammatical term for it. Up until the day of her stroke, in May, she was using her iPad, doing a little driving, and as active as health permitted in the Pearl River United Methodist Church, where at age 97, she was the oldest congregant, having been a member for 85 years.

Her pastor, the Rev. Cyndi Stouffer, commented that in spite of their 50 year age difference, Kay was a peer, a friend, someone she could laugh and joke with and that Kay was unusual in that she was so open-minded. Kay took the Disciple I Bible course so she could go deeper in the Scriptures. Kay taught her children their first prayer in Russian followed by prayers in Eng­lish. Mom’s love was palpable. She taught Sunday school displaying a certain charisma with children and teens.

Kay was a humble person, gener­ous to a fault knowing the cost to a penny of every item in the Shop Rite grocery store. As a child of the De­pression, everything was repurposed or recycled or simply “used up.” She drove her 1970 Scout International Traveler with a V8 304 engine until it rusted from snow and usage beyond repair- much to the disappointment of all the men in the family. She gave her grandchildren their first cars, pro­viding the family inheritance money while she lived.

Kay was an excellent seamstress, choosing fine fabrics and buttons as she made Helene everything from winter coats to prom dresses. She was an excellent cook and baker. She was an avid gardener, cultivating over 50 different varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers- Helene remembers mom taking her into the woods as a small child in search of endangered and rare wildflowers.

A fulltime homemaker raising children, nephews and neighbors’ children, Kay worked at school at first. At age 59 she took on her most demanding job as the bookkeeper for a carpet company with a half a million dollar payroll. Computers had just hit the work force. Ever the lifelong learner, Kay taught herself to use one, setting up the software program.

Her family, particularly her grand­children and great grandchildren were the love of her life- holding her heart in their hands. Kay’s spirit of determination, her love for all people regardless of color or ethnicity or age, and her generosity live on through her children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren.

The family sends heartfelt thanks to mother’s GA earthly guardian an­gel, Stephanie Searles Gray, owner and manager of the Cooper House in Lincolnton.

William Blake’s line seems espe­cially fitting for Kay’s legacy: “To see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wildflower.”

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: The Lutheran Church By The Lake, 100 Twelve Oaks Drive, McCormick, SC 29835; to the Capital Improvement Fund, The Pearl River United Methodist Church, 130 Frank­lin Avenue, Pearl River, NY 10965; The Murphy-Harpst Children’s Cen­ter, 740 Fletcher Street, Cedartown, GA 30125.

Please visit www.beggsfuneral­home.net and sign the guestbook. Beggs Funeral Home, Lincolnton, was in charge of arrangements.

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