After 88 years,
Kathy Blickenstaff, the matriarch of our family, was suddenly called to be with
her Lord and Savior after a stroke on March 19, 2020. She died peacefully at
home, surrounded by her family. Our Nana was one of the most precious souls to
grace this earth. Her world was her family, but her reach went far beyond. Born
Kathryn Orva Willems on 8/18/31 to Peter and Kathryn Willems in Hutchison,
Kansas, she was destined for an amazing journey. She was a lover of books,
dance and music, and brought light and laughter to every room she entered. Her
beauty and absolute zest for life made her an attractive catch, and the lucky
winner was Loren Blickenstaff, an athletic redheaded upperclassman who also was
a star in the making. He promised “if you stick with me babe I will have you in
diamonds”. She had $500 and he was in debt. Kathy finished school at McPherson
College in 3 years so that they could graduate together and at the age of 20
she married her lifelong soulmate. They had a forever love that would span 68
years, and she always referred to him as her rock.
started with Loren’s medical training, orthopedic residency, and military
assignments, which meant they moved regularly including stops in Kansas,
Washington DC, Fort Ord California, Germany, and finally to Idaho for his
medical practice. Medical stints in Alaska and Korea also took him away from
her for over a year. Meanwhile our Nana raised 3 children and she often said
“Love may be blind, but marriage is a real eye opener”. Despite her incredible
devotion to her family, she still managed to own a bookstore, sing in a band,
help make a country record, write for the Emmett newspaper, skydive at age 50,
play competitive bridge, organize a bible study group, and participate in
various lifetime sports. She was also able to travel the world with Loren and
their special group of friends - from artist studio visits to taking a boat
through China, Kathy saw the world.
flows in the direction that your energy goes and Nana’s focus was always on her
family. She was a regular at her children’s sporting events and often had to be
“calmed down” by Loren. She was fiercely devoted to and protective of her
children, and later of her 6 grandchildren.
felt comfortable and cared for with Nana.
Ever a talented writer, on our special occasions she often had
Even as her
children grew older she was still our confidante and refuge from life’s trials.
She always promoted peace, love, and kindness. Later in life, her spirituality
and her relationship with
In the shining
galaxy of family, with so many brilliant stars, all so unique and wondrous,
there is one in the middle that keeps all together - the Nana Star. The Nana
Star provides that gentle gravity which effortlessly and spontaneously allows
all the rest to be happy in their cosmic orbit. However they spin and dance,
however radiantly they shine, it is because they have the Nana Star
after all else has fulfilled its purpose and turned to dust, the Nana Star
continues to burn
brightly. For the
light of the Nana Star is within and without and cannot be forgotten. As long
as there is life, there is Nana.
She is survived by her husband
Loren Blickenstaff, her loving sister Ellen Whitney, her three children, Dr.
Richard(Amy) Blickenstaff, Lynda(Michael) Dimick, Joni Ball, and her six
grandchildren, Drs. Nick and Brynn Blickenstaff, Katie and Keelan Dimick, Ryan
Ball, and Ayni(Sean) Vienna. Her memorial service will be postponed until a