In Memory Of
Bradley, Katherine who passed away on 7/20/2020 at the age of 81
Katherine Melanie "Kathy", of Farmington Hills, entered eternal life unexpectedly on Monday afternoon, July 20, at Beaumont Hospital Farmington Hills. She was 81.
Katherine was born December 20, 1938, in Detroit, to the late John and Margaret (Barry) Johnson.
Surviving are her devoted children Molly (the late George) Reid, Eileen (Dan), Bill (Nicole), Melanie (Joe) Gerzema and John (Laura); loving grandchildren, Michaela Reid, George Reid II, Katherine Wildern, Clare Wildern, Allison Wildern, Patrick Gerzema, Nora Gerzema, Elizabeth Gerzema, Jack Gerzema, Emily Wildern and Lucy Wildern; a great-granddaughter, Serenitii Vandenberg; and sisters, Margaret and Eileen Johnson. Sadly, Katherine was preceded in death by granddaughter, Meghan Reid in 2016, brother James Johnson in 2017, and her former husband William Wildern, III, in 2016.
Katherine was raised in a loving household to hard working and devout Irish Catholic parents. She loved her family and all of the life-long friends she would make from childhood, throughout her career and in retirement. She was dedicated to her Catholic faith and had a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
She attended St. Alphonsus grade school, Immaculata High School, Mercy College (Bachelors of Nursing), and Wayne State University (Masters in Pediatrics Nursing and Ph.D. in Instructional Technology). Kathy loved to educate and taught Pediatrics at Mercy College for many years, was an Associate Dean of Nursing at Wayne County Community College, and an Associate Dean of Nursing at Henry Ford Community College. She truly enjoyed meeting her students in the field over the years.
Kathy was a proud member of the US Navy and loved the USA. She started her naval career in Portsmouth, VA where she had her first child. She would return to the Navy later in life to join the Naval Reserve in Southfield, MI as a Lieutenant and Lt. Commander. Katherine returned to active duty as a Commander to lead the Naval Nursing Corps at the US Naval Hospital in Bethesda, MD during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. She retired proudly as a Captain after more than two decades of service to our country.
Never backing down from an opportunity or challenge, at 70, Kathy joined the Farmington Martial Arts club and spent countless hours over the next several years with her new friends. She earned her black belt and was preparing for her second degree black belt test when she was sidelined by a stroke at 76. She overcame the odds by regaining most of her lost faculties and maintained a fairly independent life until returning to Jesus unexpectedly. She was a strong woman, a loving woman, and a friend and role-model to many. She will be missed dearly and always loved.
The family will receive guests at the funeral home on Monday, July 27th, from 3-8pm, with 7pm prayers.
Katherine's Funeral Mass will be celebrated Tuesday morning, July 28th, at 10:00am (in state 9:30am) Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 23615 Power Rd., Farmington.
In lieu of flowers, tributes suggested to Meghan's A.R.M.Y. meghansarmy.org, (Addiction Recovery Movement 4Youth), 4943 Stony Creek NW, Comstock Park, MI, 49321, or Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, mercyhome.org.
Kindly keep Katherine and her family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.