KATHERINE “KATHY, KITTY” ANN (THOMEN) KEMLING

 

Katherine Ann Thomen Rowland Anderson Kemling Bowlin

Katherine was born in Ponca City, OK to Virginia Munger Thomen and Bina K Thomen. She was their second child. Her brother, Robert K Thomen, was a year older. She has always adored her brother, as has pretty much everyone else who has ever met Bob.

She spent the early years of her life in the Great Depression and Dust Bowl Oklahoma before her family moved to Gardner, KS to be near relatives.

She was known as Kitty to her friends and family during her school years.

Katherine graduated from Gardner High School and followed her brother to nearby Baker University in Baldwin, KS. There she made lifelong friends in her Phi Mu sorority. She also met her first husband, Henry (Hank) Rowland, at Baker and married him after she graduated with a degree in Home Economics in 1955.

Kitty and Hank adopted a baby daughter, Julie, in 1959. She was Katherine’s only child. Julie and her first husband, Mike Kiley, had two sons, Benjamin and Christopher. Katherine was a devoted grandmother and her daughter’s and grandsons’ greatest cheerleader.

Katherine enjoyed meeting with and helping people. She taught at Emily Griffith Opportunity School in Denver and then after her divorce from Hank studied English at the University of Denver. There she got a Master’s degree in English and met her second husband, Paul Anderson. Paul was on faculty at USAFA and the couple moved to Colorado Springs in 1968. Kathy got a job teaching at El Paso Community College (later Pikes Peak Community College).

It became her life’s passion to bring students up to college level with her Developmental Studies courses. She was so proud of teaching students who later had successful careers because she was able to help them master basic skills that had been overlooked, like functional literacy. She and Paul were divorced in 1972.

Kathy went back to DU and got her PhD in English in 1981. Her thesis was on C.S Lewis.

Kathy married Richard Kemling in 1981. Richard was very devoted to Kathy and they had many years of fun and travel before he died of complications of multiple sclerosis after 30 years of marriage.

Katherine moved in with her daughter for several years and then wanted more social connection so she moved to Brookdale Vista Grande. There she met the last love of her life, Clifford Bowlin. They had a whirlwind romance and were married in 2017. He preceded her in death.

Kathy won many teaching awards. She was interim Vice President of Instructional Serivces at PPCC. Her greatest passion was listening to people, meeting them at their level with dignity and respect and loving them for who they were.

She was also an active member of First United Methodist Church, where she was a Stephen’s Minister, was on the prayer team and delivered communion to housebound members.

Katherine had battled Alzheimer’s disease for many years. We rejoice that she still recognized her family in the last weeks of her life.

Katherine is survived by her brother Bob, his wife and her good friend Phyllis Thomen, her daughter Julie Kiley and her grandsons Benjamin Kiley and Christopher Kiley, her nieces Shirley Thomen Arck and Sue Thomen Dolquist and their husbands Bill Arck and Daniel Dolquist, her nephew Robert Thomen and his wife Kellie and many grandnieces and grandnephews.,. She is also survived by her cousins Katharine Curry, Marilyn Wolfe, Peggy Harper Fox, David Harper and Annette Grubis.

Her memorial service was  held at 10 am on Saturday, January 22, 2022 at First United Methodist Church in Colorado Springs, CO; 420 N. Nevada, 80903.   Graveside service will be at 3:00 p.m.  Saturday, October 8, 2022 at Gardner Cemetery, Gardner, Kansas.

The family requests any donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Society or the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.