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Obituary

Katherine Rozek

October 21, 1933 — February 14, 2022

“ I love this world.”

Katherine Adelle Thornbury Ambrose Rozek left this world she loved on February 14th, 2022, at 11:13 am. She was with her husband EJ Rozek, and daughter Anna Ambrose Munson at her bedside when she took her last breath. Katherine died painlessly and peacefully following the challenges of both Alzheimer’s disease and colon cancer. She was 88 years old. Born October 21st, 1933, in Aurora IL, Katherine described herself as a California girl having traveled to Los Angeles and settling in Santa Monica with her family at the age of 14 in 1947 from the Midwest. She loved California, spending her early years in Santa Monica by the beach, graduating from Santa Monica High School and then UCLA with a degree in English Literature and minor in Arabic studies.  This was progressive for a woman in the early 1950’s which is a theme in her life. She was an avid reader, loved English and Russian literature and poetry and was a go to person for any discussion of politics and history which was her focus for the rest of her life.

She was above all an adventurous world traveler, going to Europe on her own at the age of 24 and then additional trips to the Middle East and was a member of one of the first tours into the Soviet Union in the late 1950’s.  She joined a division of the US services which provided entertainment to the troops stationed in Karlsruhe Germany and loved living and traveling throughout Europe.  There she met lifelong friends and her first husband, who was a Major in the military.  Early in her marriage she lived in Thailand with her husband and daughter. Upon returning to the states, Katherine became a single parent after her divorce, moving back to Santa Monica with her daughter Anna.  She obtained a teaching credential and worked in the LA unified school district as an English teacher for 15 years.  Throughout that time, she continued her love of traveling throughout South America, Asia, Africa, returning to Europe and the Soviet Union, taking her daughter along with her on some of her trips.  She always said that travel was the best education.  She married her husband EJ in 1980 and worked alongside him in their printing business in Venice, California until retirement.

She spent much of her later years in Seattle with her daughter, her son-in law and her grandson Zachary.  She was an active participant in the community senior center, attending groups and lectures and loved the creative writing class held there.   She was a constant writer and took copious notes on subjects she found interesting on the television or read in the newspapers.  Katherine was also a vegetarian for over 60 years and felt strongly about animal rights, donating to PETA.  She loved going out to dinner, having a glass of wine and good conversations which she was able to enjoy until the last few days of her life with her family.

The onset of dementia in the later part of her life was heartbreaking. A woman with a keen mind, she hated her subjective experience of memory loss.  Despite her physical beauty which caught other’s attention, her intelligence and curiosity were her strongest assets, and she was typically the person everyone turned to first for her perspectives and insights.  She returned to California to live with her husband of 41 years permanently, no longer able to travel due to Alzheimer’s and needing continual support.  He lovingly cared for her, and she felt loved.  The last few weeks of her life, she rallied and was emotionally and spiritually at peace, stating “I love this life,” and “I am grateful for my life considering how difficult it can be for so many people in this world”. She always had a world view, comparing people and the places she had been to across time.  Katherine wore many hats as a teacher, traveler, mother, grandmother, wife, friend, advisor, and confidant, sharing her wisdom and intelligence with all fortunate enough to know her.

 

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