Katherine Van Guilder, 88, Albert Lea

Published 9:34am Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Katherine Jane Van Guilder died on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, at 1:12 p.m. She was 88 years old. At the time of her passing, she was in the tender care of Freeborn County hospice at Good Samaritan Society with her children close at hand.

Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bonnerup Funeral Home, main chapel, 2210 E. Main St., Albert Lea. The singing chaplain, Ken Otterman, from Good Samaritan will officiate. Friends may greet Katie’s family one hour before the service at the funeral home.

Katherine Van Guilder
Katherine Van Guilder

Katherine’s adventure began on Sept. 22, 1925. She was the second child of Charlie and Arlet (Flanagan) Christenson. She grew up and attended school in Albert Lea during the years of the Great Depression and the lessons she learned during this time stayed with her through her entire life. She met Lloyd Van Guilder in 1941. They wed on Jan. 8, 1942, just two days before Lloyd was inducted into the Army and was deployed. Lloyd and Katherine did not see each other again for three years. Katherine welcomed their first child, Lloyd Jr. in July 1942. Katherine fought the good fight on the home front while Lloyd was away — even hitch-hiked out to the west coast where she worked on an Army base in the commissary.

When the war ended, Katie and Lloyd were able to begin their life together and live their American dream. The spark that started it all was still alive and well and Kay was born in November 1948, son Lee came along in September 1952, and bringing up the rear was David in September 1958. Katherine took an active roll in rearing her children; always there when needed, while working her full-time job. She and Lloyd loved to bowl, camp and travel. They camped all over the United States — often bringing their grandchildren along. Their dance together continued on for 50 years but was sadly interrupted by Lloyd’s death July 10, 1992.

Katherine (known as KC at the plant) retired after 38 years working for Wilson & Co. She was a card-carrying member of the DFL and a force to be reckoned with as an active member of the AFL/CIO. During her time she was the first female union steward, sat on the grievance committee, fought hard for every employee’s rights and led the fight for women’s rights. She helped make the work place safer and more employee-friendly for all. She was a lifetime member of Grace Lutheran Church where she worshiped and often volunteered.

She will be remembered as the better half of “Lloyd and Katie” for her strength and fortitude in all situations and her dedication to her mother, father and family. She was a good wife and the best mom and grandma ever.

Survivors include older sister, Marcelle Vander Syde; children Lloyd (Diane) Van Guilder, Kay Thompson and Lee (Jean) Van Guilder; grandchildren Tami Gunn, Lori Bailey, Karri Christenson, Darren Thompson, Kimberly Quam, Amy Van Guilder, Krista Anderson and Cherie Van Guilder; great-grandchildren Brooke and Matthew Jacobson, Taylor and Jordan Gunn, Jeremy Stanek, Amanda Seefeldt, Garrett Christenson, Tristen, Lauren and Megan Thompson, Samuel and Sedona Quam, Jacob and Alyssa Kapaun, Logan Van Guilder, Sawyer Trusten, Hunter and Ella Anderson and Odessa Van Guilder; great-great- grandchildren Tiera and Taya Jacobson, Paige and Pierce Jacobson, Dylan and Hailey Stanek and Lindsay Seefeldt.

Her parents; brothers Jake and Dale; and her youngest son, David, preceded her in death.