Katie Harper - a Wonderful Family Member!

(November 7, 1928 - April 2, 2021)

Katie Harper passed away yesterday after a long, meaningful life.   I am very sad at hearing the news!   

When I joined my wife's family, Family Reunions were a big thing for her and the children.  At first, I didn't understand why they were so important!

Over time I learned of how many family members, cared very much for their kin.   In my (white) family, there is little that ties me to my cousins and other relatives.   Much of my wife’s (mostly) Black Family have met annually, the first August weekend, for around 56 consecutive years, as well as on Zoom in 2020.

I remember first meeting Katie, though I don’t remember how long ago it was.   She was smiling and inviting.  I came over to the bid whist table.  I didn't know how to play.  She taught me.  Being warmly accepted by someone I didn’t know at all was very new to me.

At first Katie was one of the “old people” there.  Over the coming years, as her peers died, she remained with remarkable energy and a warm acceptance of all that were her family.  She, of course, knew everyone and knew quite a bit about nearly everyone.

Her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren all loved her and she them.  Her love went beyond her branch of the family, showing a lot of interest in all of us.   

Over the past few years, I would wonder each year if Katie would be able to make it, and she was always there.  She went to bed a little earlier, but her spirit and energy was always there.  

She didn’t complain (to me at least) about all that she went through,  The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where she lived, must have troubled her much more than she let on.   Katie didn’t complain about the (evident) pain that came with her aging.  She was always upbeat.   She was also honest in disagreeing politely, when she didn't agree.

Katie always seemed to love being with all of us.   We also loved having her there.

I’m sad at hearing of Katie’s death!   I hope that all who loved her will remember her with their own warm memories.  I’m sure that they will!   

Katie – we will all remember you – this August especially – but also throughout the rest of our lives.   Thank you!

April 10, 2021 - The Memorial Service

Katie's daughter  - who lived in Flint (also) - came back to their house late at night.  Katie was babysitting for her (roughly) four and six year old grandchildren.   She saw that the bedroom light in their bedroom was on.   Very confusing!

The daughter  came in and saw her children on the bed, watching cartoons on the tv.   Her daughter asked them where Katie was.   They replied that Katie was asleep.

She walked into the room where Katie was asleep on the couch.   After Katie was awakened, her daughter asked her what was going on.   Katie replied:  "I couldn't get the children to go to sleep, and I couldn't stay awake."



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