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Katharine D. Herzog
August 8, 1933 ~ March 18, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old
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Katharine Dora Herzog (Kathy) passed from this life peacefully in the early morning hours of March 18, 2023. Kathy was born on August 8, 1933 in Lyndonville, NY to William Adam and Dora Charlotte Herzog. She was preceded in death by her brother William and her sisters Dorothy and Marie. She is survived by her brother John.
Kathy graduated from Wheaton College, Illinois in 1956 with a major in Christian Education and began what was for her a life-long love and vocation to teach and mentor children and young adults. This began with a position in a church school in northern Indiana teaching kindergarten, followed by a similar position in Florida, and ended about 60 years later in Kazakhstan, where she both taught and worked with special needs children.
While in Florida, she perceived a need to develop her teaching gifts further and enrolled in Florida State University in an Education program with a specialization in reading. She was awarded an MS in 1973 and a PhD in 1979. That fall she began teaching in the Department of Elementary Reading and Special Education (later renamed the Department of Curriculum and Instructions) at Morehead State University, Kentucky. She remained there until her retirement in Spring of 2001.
The impact of Kathy’s life and career at MSU was considerable! One of her colleagues notes that “Kathy taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in reading and language art in the Department. . . . She often taught night classes at regional centers across eastern Kentucky. She was a highly respected professor who was very dedicated to her profession and her students. She was also a valued colleague. She served on committees at the department, college, and university level as well as state committees. She served as chairperson of the committee that prepared for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) accreditation visit. She made presentations at state and regional conferences as well as conducting inservice in many schools.” From another colleague: “I can say that during the approximately 40 years I spent teaching in higher education, I never had a more delightful colleague than Kathy Herzog. She was a joy to work with on committees and in the department. She had a reputation as a wonderful, caring teacher among the students she prepared to be reading teachers. She had a great work ethic and a quick and wonderful sense of humor that could lighten any situation. Later in my career I served as a department chair, assistant dean, and interim dean. What I would not have given for a dozen more faculty like her.”
During Kathy’s final years at MSU, she took on the care of her aging father even as she also began to look beyond university teaching. With retirement in 2001, she became involved in several short-term service projects in Russia, and when these ended, she pursued others in Kazakhstan, becoming associated in 2005 with an agency called The Mission Society (TMS). There she taught English as a Second Language (TESOL) and worked with special needs children in a program called Tree House. Life in Kazakhstan required that she acquire at least a rudimentary comprehension of Russian, a daunting task at any age but a near herculean one for a person of advanced years. While language limitations may have caused her problems like getting lost, which Kathy regarded as “adventures rather than calamities,” they did not diminish her relationships with the children. Kathy recalled one experience with a student who had lost a grandmother: “We went for a walk, and when we came back, I was her grandmother!” “Everyone,” a TMS colleague remarked, “called her Babashka Katya” (Grandmother Kathy).
Kathy’s second retirement from Kazakhstan at age 80 only slowed her a trifle. One TMS colleague observed, “The last time I saw Kathy was in January 2017, when she was 83 years old and still driving from Charlotte NC to Columbia SC weekly to study Russian, still being a lifelong learner even though she was herself a professor. I'm so grateful for her example and role in my life.” At age 89 when her life forces were ebbing, she was a joy to her Hospice caregivers as she had been to so many before.