ISHPEMING, MI – If there’s a penny in a puddle, pick it up. The smallest things in life tend to be the most important ones, and Kathy embodied that mantra throughout her entire life. She was born in Ishpeming, MI on October 27, 1952 to Donald “Shorty” and (Mary) Joyce Millman. Most of her childhood was spent in downtown Ishpeming “a block in any direction”. She enjoyed school and all the hoopla that it entailed, exploring her love of music, friendship, and service to her community. She went on to earn a Bachelors of Education from Northern Michigan University, focusing on early childhood development, a trait (among many) that passed on to both of her children who have had careers in education themselves.
Kathy was a true local and was proud to call Ishpeming her life-long home. Her value of community and the love that glued it together was something that often seems to be forgotten in today’s time of being rushed, impersonal, and unintentional. Her values were organized based on the needs of the people she loved the most, and their lives were uniquely enhanced by her kindness, selflessness, and ability to find humor in most situations.
She was quick witted, sassy when she needed to be, stood up for what she believed in, and was always up for a cruise and conversation on the backroads of anywhere. She was known as a skilled pool player and even luckier at bingo, where she’d claim her lucky seat an hour early and “go to work”. And if you were ever fortunate enough to hear her play piano, you were in a very select group.
Floating on a mid-summer’s calm lake, rounding an unknown corner on a dirt road, belly laughing with your best friends, being up for a jackpot at bingo, finding a quarter in the vending machine, getting in a little mischief, laughing about it, fiercely defending your closest comrades, tenderly loving the small things in this world. If any of those experiences resonate with you, Kathy would have called you a friend and welcomed you into her world.
She is preceded in death by her parents and her partner George Fredrickson. She is survived by her children and grand children, who were among the only things she would proudly boast about: Libby Nelson (Ogea) of Rhinelaner, WI (husband Doug, children Carter and Abby) and Peter J Gummerson of Marquette (Elsa Jensen, children Ayler, Etta, and “blueberry”), as well as her sister Susan of Oregon and former husband Peter R Gummerson of Big Bay. Her closest and invariable friends were her sisters from another mother and other mothers to her children.
A celebration of life will take place on Sunday, June 4th from 2-6 p.m. at The Hygge Center, formerly Grace Episcopal Church, in Ishpeming. Friends are invited to come share stories, food and drink, and celebrate the spirit of Kathy in a relaxed and welcoming environment.
Kathy’s obituary may also be viewed at bjorkandzhulkie.com where relatives and friends may leave a note of remembrance.