Kathy’s first experience with cancer came like a two-fist punch. When she was 23, doctors discovered cancerous melanoma on her left leg. After a 9-hour operation, her prognosis was good. No follow-up chemo; just rehabilitation to regain strength and mobility.

But just two days after her operation, Kathy’s father, Bill, died of pancreatic cancer.

Nothing focuses your life priorities like a serious illness or the death of a loved one.

Kathy understood her own mortality at a young age. “It occurred to me that I might not spend as long on this earth as I had planned and that I had better go on living,” she said. “I thought it would be important to pursue all the things I wanted to do and not waste time on things that didn’t make me happy. I wanted to be as happy as possible for as long as I had left.

Golf was what made Kathy happy. She decided to quit her job in Denver, move back to Plainfield and focus on golf. She became one of the top amateurs in the metropolitan area and qualified for the LPGA Tour in 1975.

Life on tour suited Kathy. She enjoyed traveling the country and staying with host families. She made some good friends, including Cathy Duggan. Duggan met Kathy while she was playing golf balls on the shooting range. Duggan offered to help and became a cherished friend of Kathy and her family. “We had a deep, deep friendship; even more than a sister,” Duggan said.