Kathy Lynn Sechrist Linderman

October 6, 2009

By Contributor

Kathy Linderman

Kathy Linderman

Kathy Lynn Sechrist Linderman lost her long, but incredibly courageous battle with cancer on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 — her family was gathered close by her side.

Kathy was born in Seattle on June 25, 1951, to Jack and Betty Sechrist. She was the eldest of five children and had unlimited patience, empathy and love that she shared with everyone from the day she was born until the day she left us.

She will always be remembered for her warmth, personal integrity, generous spirit, infectious laugh, quick wit and unwavering strength. She was a gifted teacher who inspired so many with her passion for public education and love of books, her tireless commitment to her students and steadfast support of her colleagues.

She was a devoted friend and will never fully realize the tremendous impact she had on those she came in contact with during her short 58 years of life.

Above all, she was an amazing mother to her three children and a source of great pride and joy to her parents as well as her brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. Kathy loved to play the piano and guitar, sing in church, sail, read, crochet and bake “from scratch” her famous crescent rolls and cardamom bread. She spent many happy days out at the family home and cabin at Paradise Cove on Vashon Island with her mom, her family and LOTS of dogs.

Kathy grew up on Vashon Island, graduating from Vashon High School in 1969 — during her high school years, she was captain of the Drill Team and very active in music, German and letter clubs, Thespians and Honor Society, as well as an avid snow skier and instructor.

Her family was so proud when Kathy was selected by the local chamber of commerce in the summer of 1969 to compete in the annual Island Festival pageant highlighting 12 young women with strong academic performance and goals, and community involvement, as well as talent and beauty. She was crowned Miss Vashon and went on the following year to compete in the Miss Washington pageant.

Kathy attended Central Washington State College (now Central Washington University) in Ellensburg and graduated in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in education with a special emphasis in music. It was there she met Rob Linderman — they were married Dec. 27, 1973. She began teaching grade school in Hoquiam earlier that fall and continued to teach there until Ross was born in 1977.

In 1978, the family moved to Centralia, where Amy was born (1979) — Kathy loved being home with her children and working in her bountiful garden with both of them in tow alongside the North Fork of the Newaukum River.

Employment opportunities for Rob then took them down to Sacramento, Calif., in 1982 where Chris was born. It wasn’t long, though, before they moved back to the Northwest and settled in Issaquah. In 1986, the couple divorced, but Kathy and the kids remained in Issaquah.

A young single mom, Kathy enrolled in the University of Washington to obtain her master’s in library science and graduated in 1988. She was then hired as the librarian of Issaquah Valley Elementary School (Chris was one of her students) and remained there until 1997, when she became the Issaquah High School librarian — Amy was a senior and Chris, a sophomore there.

In 2001, she was elected president of the Issaquah Education Association, where she worked relentlessly for five years as a staunch advocate for the teachers in the Issaquah School District. When her term was over in 2006, it was time to go back to the library, this time at Skyline High School in Sammamish, where she worked until her recent surgery in August.

Kathy was diagnosed with cancer on Christmas Eve 2003. She endured so much in the last six years (multiple surgeries, as well as numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation) — all while continuing to work. Her resolve never faltered, her good humor rarely failed and she bravely accepted the next hurdle. She often said, “You just do what you gotta do!” And she always did it with a smile and a dismissive shrug. She exemplified how to live with cancer.

Kathy is survived by her children Ross Linderman (Seattle), Amy Linderman (Tri-Cities, Wash.) and Chris (Heather) Linderman (Tri-Cities, Wash.); her mother Betty Sechrist (Vashon); siblings John (Carolyn) Sechrist (Norfolk, Va.), Mike (Melinda) Sechrist (Seattle), Jan (Jeff) Sandstrom (Seattle), and Polly (Bob) Caprye (Whidbey Island); nine nieces and nephews — Michael, Brian, Todd, Johnny, Brett, Andrew, Holly, Kalie and Jack; and her granddaughter Hadley. She was preceded in death by her father Jack Sechrist.

We miss you and love you, “Skeets” — we know that you and Daddy are spending some well-earned “staring” time together. Hold a place for all of us and we’ll see you in awhile…

A memorial service celebrating Kathy’s life was held Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009, at Burton Community Church on Vashon Island (23905 Vashon Highway S.W., Vashon, WA 98070).

Donations may be made in Kathy’s name to the Issaquah Schools Foundation (www.issaquahschoolsfoundation.org), the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) or the Burton Community Church.

Please visit www.legacy.com and sign Kathy’s online guestbook.

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