Katharine Maud Muller Brunskill Blakely made her transformation on January 26, 2018.
She is survived by her son, John Brunskill and his wife Jill, and son Andrew Braumann, of Charlotte, North Carolina; and her loving stepchildren and their children (and grandchildren); Greg Blakely and Chelle Eastman, and sons Paul and Alan Blakely; Leslie and Sy Gilliland, and daughters Kasha (Oakley, Parker, Liam, Mathis) and Lindsey (Kade, Krew); Kate Blakely and daughter Mattie Stubbe. She also leaves behind two sisters; Susan Morris (John) of East Corinth, Vermont; and Mardy Nelson Harrold (Tom) of Boulder, Colorado; and a brother, Mark Muller (Emalea Miller) of Lawrence, Kansas. Nieces and nephews abound, and also their children: Andy Morris (Mary Moore) with Gibson and Samuel; Rebekah Morris; Hannah Morris; Jacob Schroeder (Rachel) with Tate, Quinn, and Lily Kate; the Rev. Mary Kate Rejouis with twins John and Elizabeth; Jesse Nelson; Grant Muller (Danielle) with Charlie Von; Cameron Muller; Andy Jenkins (Liz) with Finn and Cole; and Allison Muller (Nathan Teachout, engaged).
Loved ones preceding Katharine in departure were many, and begin with her wife and partner of 27 years, Donna Blakely. They enjoyed a long and loving relationship together in Colorado Springs. Katharine was born on September 27, 1941 to the Rev. Frederick B. Muller and Mary Delano Muller in Mandan, North Dakota, but grew up in Fremont, Nebraska, the eldest of 5 siblings. Both parents and a brother, John Frederick Muller, preceded her into eternity.
Katharine generously poured her energy into a career as a teacher, with the majority of those years dedicated to first graders. She was loved by her students and their families and remained close to many of them. She played the baritone ukulele and sang to all her pupils, with a great repertoire of songs and hymns that she will be remembered for. In retirement, she and Donna were able to travel to England, Ireland and Alaska together, among other places, and their lives with one another were enriched with the community of Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Colorado Springs. As an avid reader and researcher, Katharine was a student of theology, and also made great strides delving deep into and recording the genealogy of her family.
After Donna’s death in early 2015, Kath (“Kate,” to many of her friends in Colorado) downsized from their home into an apartment in the Springs. Having discussed it with Donna as something they might do together in retirement, she began to investigate opportunities for service with L’Arche International, an organization committed to community congregate living for intellectually and developmentally disabled adults. After many conversations and much discernment, she was accepted into the Heartland chapter of L’Arche in Overland Park, Kansas. Relocating there, she spent the last 9 months of her life living with and caring for her new and very special family of core members and assistants among five houses in Overland Park, living herself in “Harmony House,” a name she thought so appropriate. This put her very close geographically to her brother Mark, and she spent much of her weekend time, when away from her responsibilities at Harmony House, with him and Emalea at their home.
Katharine touched many lives during her own, was a mentor to all her siblings, and her legacy is one of peace, compassion, and simplicity.
The Rite of Burial and Holy Eucharist will take place on Saturday, May 5 at 1pm at Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Colorado Springs. Katharine's ashes will be placed in the memorial garden with Donna's at this time. A reception will follow. Bring your ukulele.