Catherine Ann Warner, 88, of Kalamazoo, passed away on October 15, 2022.
Catherine was the first of the twins born in Chicago, IL on July 24, 1934, to Henry and Susanna (Kremsrieter)Warner (the hottest day on record for that date in the history of Chicago). She attended elementary school in a private Catholic school in her earliest years. However, following her father’s dream of owning a farm, the family moved from Chicago to Gobles when Catherine was nine. She attended Gobles schools during her childhood and worked on the family bulb farm. If you ever talked to her about those days, she would be happy to tell you stories all about growing tulips, gladiolas and other bulb flowers. It was not an easy childhood.
As an adult, Catherine worked as a secretary at Brown Paper Company (aka Sutherland) in Kalamazoo for about ten years. She then moved to Southern California where she worked for Gulf and Western. There she quickly worked her way up from secretary to a position working in their finance department. While in California, Catherine took college level classes so she could improve her skills. She returned to Michigan in 1988, and quickly landed a position of Director of Pensions and Benefits for First of America Bank until her retirement in 1999.
Even though she held some pretty important positions in the business community, if you were to ask Catherine what her occupation was, she would always answer that she was an artist. She was extremely artistic from a very early age. Throughout her life she created “art” using multiple mediums including water color and oil painting, doll making, quilting, applique, stamping, scrap-booking, beading, knitting, crocheting and finally, she began using all her talents by doing mixed media art. After retiring, Catherine worked at a local stamp shop for eight years where, besides selling products and stocking shelves, she showed people how to use materials and demonstrated how to use the newest techniques. She often taught art classes in various locations around the Kalamazoo area. Catherine started two art groups in the area, and it is there that she made many lifelong friends. Even as she aged and her eyesight began to fail, Catherine still attended meetings with her friends when she could. She encouraged all who knew her and shared her love of all types of art with everyone she met. Over the years, some of her artwork was even displayed at the Kalamazoo and Portage Libraries.
Besides being busy with work and her art groups, Catherine also loved gardening. In her younger years, she had a beautifully landscaped yard that she tended with loving care. She knew the name of every plant in the yard and was know for taking visitors on “garden rounds” every time they visited. Everyone became familiar with the perennials that grew best in Michigan. All the years of working on the farm instilled a love of nature and plants in her from an early age. Her yard was a tribute to that.
Catherine had one other passion…caring for her cats. Throughout her life, she owned many pets, but cats were clearly her favorites. Her current fur babies especially gave her purpose and companionship during her later years. They miss her very much.
Catherine is survived by two daughters, Nanette (David) Schuur, from Dowagiac, MI; Kathleen (Jeff) Gebhardt from Petaluma, California and one son, Jeffrey (Dara) Strong from Rio Rancho, New Mexico. She also leaves behind six grandchildren; ten great-grandchildren; and one sister, Marie Warner of Kalamazoo, as well as a number of nieces, nephews and many very special friends.
Catherine was preceded in death by her father, Henry Warner and her mother, Susanna Warner; her twin sister, Susan Bricker; her first born son, Paul David Strong, Jr. and more recently her grandsons, Dennis Schuur and Paul Strong.
To honor Catherine’s wishes, cremation has taken place and there will be no public services. Arrangements were entrusted to Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial and Cremation Services, 622 S Burdick St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007. Please visit https://www.langelands.com to view the online obituary, sign the guest book, and leave messages for the family.