Kathi Radway Raykowski

Honored by:Lindy R. Huisman
Brick location:K:10  map

My sister, Kathleen Lucille Radway Raykowski, or Kathi, as I usually call her, is an awesome lady. She was born in Elk River, Minnesota, October 23, 1942, to Richard and Ruth Radway. She grew up in Minnesota near the Canadian border in the Roseau area for her first 15 years and then moved down to Rochester. Kathi chose to become a teacher just as her mother and aunt. Kathi graduated from Bemidji State Teacher's College in 1965 with a degree in elementary education. She has been a gifted kindergarten teacher. One of her kindergarten student's parents described her as one of the finest teachers they have encountered.

Kathleen would say she inherited the spirit of her Grandmother Anderson Swanson; no matter what she has been confronted with she has dealt with it just as Grandma did straight on...

She would also say she inherited the lust for traveling and discovering new places and understanding their history from her father's side. Kathi has always had itchy feet. She has traveled the world. She loves to camp. She is a wonderful story teller.

At the young age of 14, Kathi was forced to assume the dual role of mother/older sister when our mother died.

When our younger sister, MaryEllen, was being treated for breast cancer, Kathi was there for several extended stays to assist in her care and offer support for MaryEllen's husband and children.

Kathi stayed with my own children in the last months of my dietetic internship.

Kathleen assumed the role of Auntie Mame to her two nieces and two nephews. She take great personal interest in their lives cheering them on and offering advice usually only when asked. Her niece, Laura Stagner wrote the following:

"Aunt Kathi is an extraordinary person. She is a strong, creative, and self-assured woman. The more I learn about her, the more I see how strong she is and how big her heart is. When I was having such a hard time dealing with my mother's death and with the end of a significant relationship, she always had words of wisdom and suggestions. Aunt Kathi told me 'God made the world round so you can never tell what is on the other side.' She's right, we never do know what is coming up. The point is to enjoy life each and every day and not worry so much about all the ifs, ands, or buts, but instead to live life. Aunt Kathi is always able to remind me that there is more, more to experience, more places to visit, more people to meet and to enjoy, and most of all more good memories to make."

One of Kathi's friends, Marge Fuelner, describes Kathi as an individual with unconditional loyalty. She went on to say Kathi was supportive in all areas of her life with her positive and fresh outlook on life.

Another friend Judith P. Overcash wrote the following:

"Kathleen has been my associate in education since the 1970's. She has been my friend since we ran into one another in Nagano, Japan in the fall of 1991. When Kathleen returned to the states, we found ourselves teaching at the same school and we then had time to really get to know one another. I felt our bond strengthen while she was struggling with her sister's illness and passing.

"Kathleen is such a fascinating woman. She is a fantastic, creative, and dedicated teacher but does not let her career overshadow the other facets of who she really is. Kathleen has traveled extensively throughout the world and her conversations about those adventures are so enlightening. Kathleen enjoys the arts and is a great friend with whom to share the symphony, museums, wine tastings, and other cultural adventures. She even enjoys including my adventuresome grandson in some of these events.

"Books are another of Kathleen's passions. Her eclectic menu of reading materials makes for fascinating conversation. I always appreciate times together when we discuss books, ideas, and spiritual issues and conundrums, especially over Italian or Thai food or Bailey's and coffee!

"Her healthy attitudes about life, health, politics, people, work and play make Kathleen an outstanding person. I am blessed to count her as one of my best friends,” said Judith.

Both MaryEllen and I have said there is no better friend than your sisters. Kathleen knew MaryEllen and knows me more than I know myself. I love her for her sensitivity to my feelings, her love and caring expressed during some tenuous times with my health. I enjoy her enthusiasm to try new things and her sense of art. Kathi has an infectious laugh and is able to see humor at times when it is most needed. I think her for being ready to listen when I need an unbiased ear and thoughtful, practical advice. There will always be a strong bond of love between us.

We have chosen to honor Kathleen now so that she may know how special we think she is. 

Submitted on 7/5/05