Katheryn Darrow , longtime resident of Huntington, MA died on Jan. 23, 2021. She lived a long and colorful life that included a love of music, education, politics, American History, and gardening. Chances are that you met her following one of these passions.
Kitty Sue was born to Howard and Alice (Warren) Kizer on March 19, 1930 in Princeton, IL. She was the oldest of five siblings. Howard Jr., Mary Edith, and Alice Virginia predeceased her, and her youngest brother Phillip survives her.
Katheryn married Joseph Darrow and they had four children. Chris (deceased), Phil (Pamela) of Blandford, Vickie (Rich) Elliott of Seattle, WA, and Janna (Ray) of Sunderland. She leaves seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Katheryn’s intellect, interests, and passions led her from being the 1948 high school valedictorian in Mexico, MO to completing her BS in Education at USC, followed by a Masters in Political Science at UCLA, much of it while raising her young family. She was a liberal political activist and led with conviction. She always had a stack of books-in-progress on her nightstand and favored American History.
Following the early death of Joseph Darrow, Katheryn packed up her family’s life in CA and embarked on a summer-long trip of the United States that her kids fondly call “The Big Trip”. Unbeknownst to them, Katheryn was searching for a new location to raise her family, and settled in western MA where the history and scenic beauty captured her imagination.
Katheryn taught in public schools in CA and western MA where she had the knack for engaging all of her students. She helped to create and direct the Westfield Creative Learning Center, one of the first preschools in the area. She also helped to create and direct the Westfield Alternative School which opened doors for teens who were not thriving in the traditional high school. She served on the Gateway Regional school board. Katheryn also worked at Holyoke Community College as a writing tutor. She enjoyed attending lectures and classes at the local colleges.
Katheryn was a masterful gardener and spent many happy hours in her enormous organic garden in Huntington. She ran Sunscape Gardens for many years, vending at hilltown farmer’s markets, and also tending the perennial gardens of clients. She always had a shovel, a pair of gloves, and some good clippers in the trunk of her car. Her flower arranging ability was legend. Katheryn also judged flowers and vegetables at the local summer fairs.
Music was a grand part of Katheryn’s life and she instilled the love of music in her children. She played the violin and started off her college career as a performance major. Attending concerts was a natural part of life, and listening to Robert J. Lurtsema on the public radio station WGBH was a daily occurrence. She studied the Suzuki method, and also participated in an amateur string quartet. Katheryn was proud to see her children and grandchildren follow her in musical passions.
The family may plan a memorial in the future when it is safe to gather again. In the interim, they would love to hear your memories of Katheryn. Perhaps you would like to make a donation in her honor to your favorite musical, political, educational institution, or library.
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