Sunday, February 13, 2005

Obituary: Katherine Clara "Kate" (Wergin) Hardy

MADISON - Katherine Clara "Kate" Hardy was born in Madison, on July 9, 1907, to John and Clara Wergin. She grew up in Madison, where she attended Holy Redeemer Elementary School and Central High School. In 1926, she married Kenneth Hardy. Kate entered the workforce as an employee of the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. She spent the majority of her career at FPL, retiring from the computing section after 30 years of service. But Kate had too much energy and drive to stay retired for long. She accepted a part-time position with Strang Architects and, predictably, was soon working full-time. Eleven years later she retired again. During her many years of employment, Kate and her husband also owned and operated a mink farm and glass business in Middleton and the Lakeview Drive-in on Madisons Northeast side. In addition, she sold real estate and helped develop the Larwood Hills subdivision on the site of her grandparents' farm in Westport. In her 80s and 90s, she helped distribute books on card-playing written by her brother. Kate lived on her own well into her 98th year. Despite failing eyesight and other age-related problems, she had a wonderfully positive attitude. She was a kind, humble person who could always be counted on to lend a hand or write a check for someone in need. She maintained an active social life with frequent telephone calls and meals out with family and friends, Saturday trips to Edwards of Hilldale Hair Salon, and occasional excursions to Ho-Chunk Casino. She was proud of having voted in every presidential election for which she was eligible, including November 2004 when she went to the polls with her wheelchair and oxygen tank. Kate was blessed with a remarkable memory. One of her last projects was to record recollections of life in Madison from 1907 to 1920. Kate is survived by her brother, Joseph Wergin, Madison; sister, Julia Harris, Spring Valley, Calif.; daughter, Marjorie Schneider, Phoenix, Ariz.; granddaughter, Pamela (Gary) Mork, McFarland; granddaughter, Patricia Dawson Phoenix; grandson, David Schneider, Phoenix; and several great and great-great-grand-children. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; grandson, Thomas Harrison; sisters, Agnes Goede and Martha Koch; and brother, Gary Wergin. Kate was lovingly supportive of her family until her death at Hebron Oaks Nursing Home (Oakwood) on Jan. 16, 2005. She was cherished by her nephews and nieces and many dear friends.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on February 13, 2005

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