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Life Story / Obituary
Katherine (Kay) Marie Conklin was born on November 30, 1945 in Ann Arbor to Dominic and Margaret Conklin. She was the oldest of 5 children: Don, Tom, Bill and Connie (Vorenkamp).
Family was always a priority to Kay; whether she was babysitting her younger siblings or sending news-filled letters and banana bread to them, she was often like a second mom to her siblings. She loved playing softball and dancing; she relished any chance to polka and at any wedding you could find her on the dance floor doing the Charleston.
Education was one of her biggest priorities, and a value she instilled in her children. Kay attended Marywood High School and graduated in 1964; she then attended the University of Michigan Nursing School, graduating in 1968. She loved caring for people and serving families in need; she was recognized for her skill as a registered nurse and her commitment to her patients and their families. One accomplishment she was very proud of was going back to college (Michigan State University) in her 50s and earning a graduate degree and a nurse practitioners license. When she would visit nursing homes to care for incontinent patients, she would often take home laundry that was dirty or needed mending.
In 1983 Kay moved her 5 children (Kathleen, Jim, Don, Jeff and Craig) from Pickerington, Ohio to Traverse City, Michigan to be closer to family. She was a devoted mother, and worked nights at Osteopathic Hospital so she could be home in the mornings to get them off to school.
One of the bedrocks of Kay’s life was her faith; it brought her great comfort and strength. Kay lived her faith; she loved others. One of the ways Kay took care of people was to write them cards or cook for them. Loved ones could expect a home cooked meal when visiting her or a package in the mail stuffed with chocolate chip cookies, toffee, pecan sandies or her famous buckeyes. St. Patrick’s Day always began with green pancakes and a Danny Boy refrain for breakfast, and ended with corned beef and cabbage.
Kay loved adventures, whether it was traveling domestically or overseas, visiting her children, camping, or hiking with extended family. A favorite family memory is the visit to the Smoky Mountains with Uncle Don and being flooded out of the tent. But that did not stop either the pedro tournament or the parade of s’mores! Kay and Connie once packed up 9 children under the age of 13 in an RV and ventured off to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. She braved a Turkish bath when visiting Kathleen in Istanbul, Turkey. But her dream adventure was her vacation to Israel with her husband, James.
Another one of her loves was Michigan football. No one cheered louder! Watching the games was a serious production and the date of the Michigan-Ohio State game was circled for weeks.
In Traverse City she met and married James Beattie in 2004; she loved their Friday night dates, fall color tours and camping throughout the summer and fall.
In December 2016, Kay was in a serious automobile accident and sustained a traumatic brain injury. She worked hard at her therapies and fought valiantly to recover. Kay and her family deeply appreciate the army of doctors, nurses, therapists and caregivers that assisted her in her journey. Kay was at home with her family when she went to be with the Lord on Sunday, November 20. Her warm smile, enthusiasm for life, and loving acts of kindness will be deeply missed.
Kay is survived by her husband, James Beattie, and her five children, Kathleen Conklin, Jim (Kristie) Conklin, Don (Cynthia) Conklin, Jeff (Laura) Conklin, and Craig (Leah) Conklin as well as 7 grandchildren. She is also survived by three of her siblings, Don (Meg Ashcroft) Conklin, Bill (Diane) Conklin, and Connie (Steve) Vorenkamp. She is preceded in death by her parents, Dominic and Margaret Conklin, and her brother, Tom Conklin.
The family will be hosting a visitation on Friday, November 25 from 3:00-5:30pm. There will be a Celebration of Life on Saturday, November 26 at 11:00am. The family will be greeting family and guests at 10:00am. Both events will be at Life Story Funeral Home, 400 W. Hammond Road, Traverse City 49686. There will be a private family burial the following week at Oakwood Catholic Cemetery in Traverse City.
Memorial contributions may be made to a charity that was very important to Kay: the Women’s Resource Center in Traverse City (www.womensresourcecenter.org).
Please visit www.lifestorytc.com to share your thoughts and more.