Norma Kathleen Gerritzen, better known as Kathie, age 76, passed away shortly after noon on February 6, 2023, in Katy, Texas. She was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on November 25, 1946, to Ephraim B. …
Norma Kathleen Gerritzen, better known as Kathie, age 76, passed away shortly after noon on February 6, 2023, in Katy, Texas. She was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on November 25, 1946, to Ephraim B. and Ona E. (Cadwallader) Jantz. She was the oldest of three girls. Although born in Council Bluffs, when she was a toddler, her family moved to Superior, Nebraska. In her teen years, her family moved to the home they affectionately called The Gopher Hole, also in Superior.
She began her college studies in Fairbury, Ne., and then transferred to the University of Nebraska - Lincoln where she studied journalism. While in college, not only did she have a pet badger in her dorm room, but she became the first female in the state of Nebraska to receive an FCC license and was also the first female DJ in the state. She worked at the college radio station. She later met and married Eugene W Gerritzen and raised her family. They lived in Elmwood, Nebraska., for a short time and then moved to Kearney, Nebraska. where they lived for several years before moving to Katy, Texas in 1986.
While in Nebraska, she was heavily involved in the production of the Miss Nebraska pageant for several years and loved theatre work. But perhaps her greatest passion for the last twenty-three years has been her grandkids. Kathie wanted them to have experiences and memories more than just having “stuff” and was at every possible event, sometimes even travelling with them on school trips, and took them everywhere she could.
She spent her years in various aspects of the service industry. She started in high school by working at the Dairy Queen. While living in Kearney, she became one of the top Avon sales ladies and then worked as an administrative assistant for Brown’s Quality Foods.
Upon arriving in Katy, she first worked as a teaching assistant for Little People’s School at Katy FUMC, then worked as office manager for a sign company, and then became director of Katy Christian Ministries. While she was with KCM she grew the program from one office to an organization that included three retail stores, career assistance for adults, and the main assistance offices. After leaving KCM, she worked as the membership director for the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce. While she was with the chamber, she helped organize numerous galas, golf tournaments, parades, business ribbon cuttings, the Katy Rice Harvest Festival and parade. She was also involved with other organizations such as Citizens for Animal Protection, the local AARP chapter, and remained very active in her beloved church. When she finally “retired” she began her own non-profit: Katy Area Ride Service (KARS) to help transport the elderly and disabled to doctor appointments and local activities. Kathie was also a big supporter of our military and all first responders.
She had many interests and passions along the way. She loved to tinker in her garden but tended towards a black thumb (the only one the family knows to have successfully killed an artificial plant). She had a love of trains, cows, Hallmark movies, theatrical productions (her absolute favorite being The Sound of Music), swimming, playing piano, and watching HGTV. She had an addiction to chocolate and milkshakes and loved going with her dear friend and her friend’s dog to get ice cream (yes, this included getting her friends dog ice cream, too). She had a fervent belief in angels and collected angel figurines. She also had a smaller collection of cow items.
She knew everyone, and everyone knew her. She was well-loved and respected by more people than the family could begin to count. She was somewhat private despite her involvement in so many things and had just finished undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for esophageal cancer that had only been diagnosed in September of 2022. There were plans for a family cruise, seeing her grandchildren graduate college, and kicking cancer to the curb. Such a tremendous light and inspiration to her family and friends, we can only hope to continue as part of her legacy.
Kathie is preceded in death by parents, Ephraim B Jantz and Ona Eileen (Cadwallader) Jantz, her husband Eugene William Gerritzen, and her sister Lucinda (Syd) Gayle Gillming.
She is survived by: Her daughter Amron (Amy) and her husband John G. (Greg) Railsback, and their children, Christopher, and Kristin – all from Houston, Texas.; and her son David E. Gerritzen from Katy, Texas. She is also survived by her sister Mariedith (Reedi) Jantz from Chicago, Illinois and numerous nieces and nephews.
Services for Kathie will be held at Memorial Oaks Funeral Home located on the Katy Freeway at Eldridge (13001 Katy Fwy) in Houston, Texas. Visitation will take place on Monday, February 13, 2023, from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. The family is taking Valentine’s Day for themselves, and the funeral will be held on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. with a small graveside service to immediately follow at the Katy Magnolia Cemetery on 6801 Franz Rd. in Katy, Texas.