Kathryn Lane Thorpe (Fenlon) died peacefully at her home in Davis on Sept. 20, 2022, following complications from pneumonia.
Kathy was born on Nov. 7, 1937, in Minneapolis to Gerald and Mildred Fenlon (Ridgeway). She was the older sister to Marilyn and Jim. The three were always together and affectionately called themselves “The Three Musketeers.” She graduated high school early and entered the convent at age 16. While there, she attended nursing school and loved working in labor and delivery. At age 21, she decided she wanted a family and left the vocation, but her devotion to the Catholic faith never wavered and inspired a life of joyful service to others.
Kathy completed her bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Minnesota, where she played the cello in the university orchestra. She was teaching high school English when she met Bob Thorpe and they married in June 1963.
Bob worked for the U.S. Navy and the newly married couple decided to make their home in San Diego where their first child Teri was born. Tom, Anne and Molly soon followed, and Kathy led a busy life as a mother of four children. She loved the ocean and would gladly take a car full of kids for a day at the beach. She enjoyed shopping, volunteering in schools, scouting, eucharistic ministry, music and theater, and being team mom and PTA president. As the kids got older, Bob and Kathy welcomed their first dachshunds into their home, sparking a lifelong love of these sweet dogs, which they were never without.
Kathy returned to full-time teaching when her kids were teenagers and earned a master’s degree in special education at the University of San Diego. She taught junior high at Stella Maris Academy and became vice principal before she retired. She was a well-loved teacher who took pride in her work and inspired a generation of students.
Upon retirement, Kathy and Bob moved to Davis in 1999, where their oldest daughter Teri was raising her family. Kathy loved being a grandma, and Davis became the home base for all her children and grandchildren to gather. She poured her time into growing and making things, from orchids and roses to scarves and dolls, with a special focus on creating beautiful quilts.
In Davis, she quickly built up a vast network of friends and neighbors that gave her so much joy. When Bob’s health began to fail, she cherished their support until his death in 2016. Her final years were spent serving as a lead pastoral minister at St. James Catholic Church. She found a great sense of purpose in bringing communion to sick and elderly parishioners.
Her warmth, smile and merry laugh will be deeply missed by all. Though her passing was sudden, we take comfort in knowing her kind and generous spirit touched so many people throughout her life.
Kathryn was preceded in death by her husband, Robert P. Thorpe, and brother James L. Fenlon. She is survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Marilyn and Larry Kelly of Bloomington, Minn.; children Teri Greenfield (Steve) of Davis, Tom Thorpe (Rebecca) of Noblesville, Ind., Anne Thorpe (Ned Schantz) of Montreal, Quebec, and Molly Bullard (Jim) of Seattle; grandchildren Melanie, Josh, David, Allison, Aidan, Adelaide, Ashley and Seth; great-grandchildren Arayah and Nykoli; and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial mass and celebration of life will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 10, at St. James Catholic Church, 1275 B St. in Davis. In lieu of flowers, donations in her name can be made to Sutter Care at Home or to the charity of your choice.