Katherine Virginia Pell, 92, recently of Coshocton and Dover, Ohio, and previously a long-time resident of New Philadelphia, died in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on April 5, 2021, after a brief illness.
Katherine was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Fred and Ann Starritt on November 20, 1928, and had a memorable childhood there through 6th grade and then in Charleston, WV, through high school.
Katherine is survived by her sons, Bill Jr. (Nancy) of Hot Springs, AR, and Bob (Michelle) of Coshocton; four grandchildren, their spouses and one great-granddaughter in Ohio: Jessica (Aaron) Brailer of Nashport, Matthew (Stephanie) Pell of Brunswick Hills, Kaitlyn (Adam) Eckelberry and their daughter Avery of Newcomerstown, and Emilee (Andrew) Miller of Frazeysburg; one great-grandson, Nathan Pell-Cook of Hot Springs, AR; and many beloved nieces, nephews, and friends.
Her husband of 67 years, Bill, and a granddaughter, Leah, preceded her in death. When Katherine learned that Leah had passed, she spontaneously told Bill Jr., “Dad met her in Heaven, and they’re singing together.” Now we envision the three of them together again, singing old hymns and whatever else was pleasing.
Mom often shared memories of her wonderful childhood growing up with her two big brothers in Michigan, Fred Jr. and Zack, other family and friends and later in Charleston, West Virginia. Kap, as her brothers tagged her, loved to row, swim and ice skate, and she later acted in plays and gave recitations during her high school days in Charleston.
As a freshman at West Virginia University, she met her husband-to-be, Bill, a returning senior and Army veteran. Katherine finished her second year at WVU, and then the couple married on August 7, 1948, in Charleston. They celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary a few months before Bill died in October 2015.
Katherine was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and sister-in-law, aunt, schoolteacher and friend. She was always deeply admired by family and friends for her caring and thoughtful nature and will be remembered for a life well lived. She amazed extended family by consistently remembering not only nieces and nephews-in-law but also great nieces on their birthdays and anniversaries, and by writing frequent, lengthy, enjoyable letters to encourage and update the extended family.
She taught kindergarten and second grade students for more than two decades at Tuscarawas Elementary School in New Philadelphia, beginning a year or two before she earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Kent State University. Even before she retired, and certainly afterward, it was nearly impossible for her to go anywhere in that city or adjacent Dover without being recognized by at least one former student or parent. She was widely respected and liked, because she was an excellent and dedicated teacher who made a difference in the lives of many people.
Katherine loved the ocean, playing card games or cribbage with friends or relatives, dancing, sewing, reading, shopping, traveling and participating in church activities. She loved family gatherings, spending time with grandchildren, and participating fully in the life of her community.
She and Bill Sr. were long-time pillars of the First United Methodist Church in New Philadelphia, and their cremated remains will reside together in that church’s columbarium following a memorial service and celebration of life at the church at a later date.
Memorial contributions in Katherine’s memory may be directed to the First United Methodist Church, 201 W. High Ave., New Philadelphia, OH 44663.