When I started working in Compensation 30 some years ago, I was nervous and intimidated. On my first day Kathy was there to welcome me with open arms and a big smile and I knew everything was going to be okay.
Over her 42 years in Compensation her genuine warmth and kindness welcomed many new faces into National Defence. Kathy was a shining light to all of us who knew and loved her. She lived her life with love and gratitude, faith and humility. She found joy and laughter in every day.
Kathy loved to laugh, she loved a good joke...sometimes a bad joke...she laughed so easily. She had a smile and a kind word for everyone and a love for animals that many of us shared.
Over the years talk naturally changed from children to our fur babies. Kathy talked about her family with love and pride, Jerry, her daughter Tanya and grandchildren CJ and Jessie's photos were proudly displayed on her desk just waiting for opportunities to talk about their latest accomplishments and antics.
She was fiercely loyal to her co-workers, just ask any director that she faced down about injustices in the system... yet every one of them respected her too. She was legendary in the office. For many years she made the trek over to Timmies, rain or shine, to pick up coffee for the office always with a smile. She served coffee on Camp days for many years and was the face everyone knew.
She had a fierce work ethic, and was the first one to offer help, regardless of how busy she was. The energy she had was amazing. Kathy was very generous, if she could help you, she would. If you admired her shirt, she would give it to you, maybe not that moment, but later. We learned to be careful with our compliments.
Kathy always had fun with clothes; she loved trendy things and had the confidence to wear them. Giant Tiger was one of her favourite spots and we made a few lunch time trips there.
She enjoyed doing it up for Halloween at work.....her costumes were always the best!
I think most of you know that she retired for the first time in 1997 then worked at Walmart. She made some new friends......but she couldn't stay away. Kathy came back in 1998 as a term that lasted for the next 18 years. I used to tease her and say she had to stay at work until I retired because I couldn't imagine being there without her. She had a picture at her desk that used to crack her up of an old toothless lady laughing and she would say that was her when she retires.
I was very blessed to have worked my first day with Kathy until my last, the day we all "retired" together. She liked to say that we were the best but we all know that she made us the best.