Kathryn Elaine Mikesell Smedema

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Kathryn Smedema, beloved wife, mother and grandmother, died unexpectedly on Wednesday, August 29 of a heart attack while hiking in Yosemite National Park with her husband David and friends.  The trip was a celebration of their 47th wedding anniversary.

A Keizer resident for over twenty years, Kathryn was the Director of Human Resources for Holiday Retirement Corp. and then in the personnel department of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde before her retirement in 2002.  She was also very active in the Salem First United Methodist Church with a special interest in hunger issues.

Kathryn was born and grew up in Des Moines, Iowa.  She met David while a student at the University of Iowa.  They were married on September 4, 1965 and she later graduated with a BA in social work in 1967.  Upon David’s graduation from the University of Iowa Law School in 1968, the couple moved to Salem, Oregon.  Their daughter, Susan, was born that August.  Kathryn and David moved to Corvallis, Oregon in 1969 and lived there for more than twenty years.  Son Michael was adopted at his birth in October of 1970.

While in Corvallis, Kathryn was a homemaker and volunteer with her children’s many activities.  The highlight of her volunteer service was her election to the Corvallis School Board in 1979 where she served for four years, including two years as chair.  When she returned to the work force, she was employed in David’s law office and then at the Benton County Health Department.

Among many interests, Kathryn was an avid reader and closely followed politics.  She also enjoyed live theater, especially the Pentacle Theatre in Salem and the Oregon Shakespearean Festival in Ashland.  She loved hosting large family gatherings and excelled as a baker of pies.  She took great pleasure in all of her grandchildren and their various activities.  She will be missed dearly.

In addition to her husband and children, survivors include son-in-law Paul Curtin, daughter-in-law Jessica Smedema, grandchildren Christian Smedema, Maggie Curtin, Grace Curtin, Gunner Smedema and Gage Smedema, sister Mary Price of Bozeman, Montana and brother Ken Mikesell of Des Moines, Iowa.

A memorial service will be held Monday, October 1 at 3pm at the Salem First United Methodist Church, 600 State Street.  The family suggests remembrances in the form of contributions to the Salem First UMC/Marion County Food Bank fund or the hunger related charity of your choice.

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