Kathryn Elizabeth Pixley
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Kathryn Elizabeth Pixley
She grew up in Forest City, Iowa, where she attended Waldorf Junior College. There she met Edward Pixley, a speech and English teacher. When he was drawn from the Army Reserve to active military service during the Berlin Wall crisis of fall 1961, a Christmastime visit to Fort Lewis, Washington, turned their friendship into an engagement. After completing her B.A. in English at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, Kathryn and Edward were married, and she began her career as an English teacher in Marengo and later Iowa City, while Edward completed his Ph.D at the University of Iowa.
In the fall of 1964, in the midst of a busy teaching and commuting schedule, Kathryn was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis), a malady that would plague her for the next 54 years, eventually rendering her a quadriplegic, but never daunting her positive spirit, her devotion to her family and her profession, or her thoughtfulness toward the needs and feelings of those around her.
Over the next few years, while starting a family and following Ed's career from Iowa to Colorado, and finally, in 1969, to Oneonta, Kathryn continued to teach adult education English and English as a second language, while, in her spare time, pursuing an M.A. in English, which she was awarded in 1975 by SUNY Oneonta. Once her children were old enough, she joined the Writing Center at SUNY Oneonta where she taught for 20 years, until impaired speech from the MS forced her into early retirement in 2003.
Kathryn, besides being a trained educator, was an accomplished musician on the piano and, her primary instrument, the marimba. Though MS inhibited her ability to perform, in teaching her own and neighborhood children to play the piano, she found a second career and for more than 30 years taught piano to a wide range of students of all ages.
Kathryn was also a devoted member and leader at Atonement Lutheran Church, where she chaired the Evangelism Committee, taught junior high and adult Sunday school, organized the coffee hour for decades and, perhaps her favorite, advised the church's very active Luther League, included directing dramatic readings and staged musicals.
Kathryn is survived by Edward, her husband of 55 years; one son, Stephen and wife Marcella of Westford, Massachusetts; one daughter, Mary McCoy and husband Alfred, of Madison, Wisconsin; four grandchildren, Joshua and Benjamin Pixley and Meg and Cyrus McCoy; one brother, David Hove and wife Ursula of Heerbrugg, Switzerland and their daughter, Ingrid and family of Freiburg, Switzerland; plus many devoted nieces and nephews and cousins.
According to her wishes, Kathryn's body was willed to the Albany Medical College for medical and student research. A memorial service in her honor at Atonement Lutheran Church in Oneonta will be announced for a later date. The family requests that memorial gifts be designated for the Atonement Lutheran Church accessibility fund or for the Kathryn and Edward Pixley Scholarship fund for theater and English students at SUNY Oneonta.
in memory of Kathryn
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