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Katherine H. McAleenanMarch 18, 1931 ~ December 30, 2017 (age 86)
Katherine (Katy) H. McAleenan of Ada, Michigan passed away peacefully on December 30, 2017 and is now sharing that incredible, welcoming smile with her heavenly Father. Katy was born on March 18, 1931 in New York City. She began dating her future husband, George, while they were still in high school and remained best friends through their more than 65 years of marriage. Their romance influenced their choice of colleges with Katy deciding to attend Smith College (Class of ’52; BA in Government) and George changing his choice from Princeton to Williams College, to be closer to Katy. Married in 1952, Katy and George began life together at Larsen Air Force Base in Moses Lake, Washington and then to Baton Rouge and Shreveport, Louisiana and Magnolia, Arkansas, all in a period of six years as George pursued his career in the oil and gas industry. When presented with a choice between the next move to either Durango, Colorado or Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1958, Katy persuaded George to accept the transfer to Grand Rapids. Katy had fallen in love with the area during her eighth-grade year in East Grand Rapids when her father took a position with a local defense contractor.
Family and faith were always Katy’s top priorities. She is survived by her loving husband, George, and children: Mark (Val), Gary (Sue), Greg (Karin) and Karin Turmelle (Tim) and leaves behind fourteen grandchildren: Chris (Julie), Jeni (Jason Webb), Kyle (Joe Grusling), Corey (Blake Boehm), Ryan, Catlyn (James Piercy), Emily (Sam Sheehan), Casey (Patricia) Turmelle, Marissa (Kent Higgs), Jenny Martin, Trevor (Gayle), Colin (Stephanie), Brianna (Nick Knuth) and Geoff (Kayla), as well as fourteen great grandchildren: George, Connor, Matthew Webb, Mason Grusling, Bodie Boehm, Cooper Piercy, Sadie Sheehan, Ashleigh Higgs, Ellie Higgs, Jadah Martin, Roarke, Marcus Mauer, Ashlyn Mauer and Emerson, who already miss her deeply. She was preceded in death by her parents, Frederick and Elizabeth Hogg; brother, Bill; parents in law, Kenneth and Edna McAleenan; brother in law, Kenneth; and sister in law, Jean. Katy was an incredible example of what it means to be a true marriage partner. George suffered a debilitating stroke at age 59 followed by complicated heart surgery at 79. Through all those years, Katy the government major and teacher became Katy the nurse and what a nurse she was literally keeping George alive with her love, care, and sacrifice. At every stage of life, Katy was an inspiration to her family to be the best they could be whether as spouses, parents, or children; pursuing personal or business interests; or volunteering in the community. Her inspiration remains.
Katy’s caring approach to those around her stretched well beyond her immediate family. When the phone rang for the 14th time on any given day from an older friend who had suffered a stroke, she always answered it just like all the other times. Katy would notice the one person in a gathering who felt out of place or alone and she would turn that radiant smile on and wrap that person in her engaging presence. In no time, he or she would feel like the most important person in the room.
Katy was invested in her community serving as a precinct delegate in the 1964 Presidential election; Vice Chair of the St. Mary’s Hospital Board and many of its impactful committees; member of the vestry at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church where she also helped spearhead the effort to start a church library, a Sunday breakfast program for the homeless among many other initiatives; member of the Aquinas College Board of Trustees as well as the Baxter Community Center; President of the Women’s City Club and the local Smith College Alumni Club, and was very involved with the East Grand Rapids High School PTA while co-chairing the school’s Philosophy of Athletics Committee. Her impact was felt in the schools she taught in after earning her teaching credentials at Aquinas College, including Our Lady of Sorrows, St. Joseph the Worker, and St. Isidore. She will truly be missed by all those she touched.
The family is planning a memorial service in the late spring with details forthcoming. For those considering a donations in Katy’s memory, the family encourages contributions to Baxter Community Center, Sweet House Foundation at the Grand Rapids Women’s City Club or the Sister Aquinas Weber Scholarship Fund at Aquinas College.