This memorial website was created to celebrate the life of Kathy Lanier. Please share your memories, photos, and thoughts.   

There will be a memorial service at May Memorial Unitarian Society ( on February 19th, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. with a reception afterward in the church social hall.

Kathy loved California poppies, but only in the fields, so in lieu of flowers please donate to your favorite charity.


Posted by Jack Osborne on February 6, 2020
Still -
You still bring smiles to my face often when the memories come. You're wisdom and friendship are still with me in spirit. Loving thoughts.
Posted by Lorene Lanier on February 6, 2020
Dear Mom,

For the first time I forgot this was the anniversary of your death. I guess that's a good thing, because now I'm just happy on your birthday. Still missing you every day.

Posted by Lorene Lanier on August 19, 2019
Hi Mom,

I’m driving home after visiting Jason and his family. Judi came down for a few days- the drive takes a bit longer than when you were driving :-). You’d be amazed how big the boys are! Jason has lots of projects that need finishing and could really use your cajoling....

We miss you

Posted by Barbara S Vahanian on February 13, 2018
Well dearest Kathy, yes you are missed so very much in so many instances. I think of you. I remember you. Our fun. Our 'debates'. Your ultimate wisdom. No mere passage of time will ever erase your importance to us. In the Light.
Posted by Jack Osborne on February 6, 2017
You still bring smiles to my face often when the memories come. You're wisdom and friendship are still with me in spirit. Loving thoughts.
Posted by Judith Clark on December 22, 2016
Thinking of you so much this Christmas. Spending it with all the Lanier clan in PA. You are never far from any of us. Miss you every day.
Posted by Barbara S Vahanian on February 6, 2016
Bonjour Kathy,
Am I right, is it only 5 years today? It seems like an eternity. You are forever in my thoughts for all sorts of meaningful reasons, with love,
Barbara V
Posted by Barbara S Vahanian on August 19, 2015
Bonjour très chère Kathy,
I suddenly realize you will always be one year younger than I! You are in my thoughts today, dear departed friend.
With love forever and ever,
Posted by Kathy Rudy on February 7, 2015
Hi kathylanier. I think of you almost everyday, still. I have developed a bone disease and have been in wheelchair for almost two years. A dozen operations on broken and disintegrating bones has brought no relief. At one point I thought I would lose my mind with grief and fear. You came to me in a dream and told me that growing up means giving back. I'm on medical leave from school and volunteer with elderly now full time. Just being with people who have been dumped in nursing homes, waiting to die. In our own way we find joy. So thank for forcing me to grow up once again, even from the other side, I know you are with me, I feel it, but I deeply miss talking to you in real life.
Posted by Dara Lanier on February 6, 2015
Thinking of you and missing you always.
Posted by Rene (Lorene) Hall on February 6, 2015
I still pick up the phone to call you. I still recall you perfectly from when
we were mere striplings, when we lived in the co-ops in Berkeley,
when Lorene was born, when you came to visit in a VW bus. Judi
was a truly wonderful surprise, a perfect person for you at last.
It's been four years and I'm finally writing without having to stop
and weep.  love you always, Rene
Posted by Barbara S Vahanian on August 19, 2013
Bonjour dearest Kathy, 
You are ever present in my thoughts, no matter the years.
In loving memory from your friend,
Posted by Judith Clark on August 19, 2011
Today I miss being able to love you, laugh with you, play with you. I celebrate a life lived to the fullest every day and every hour. For me you will never grow old---love you always, judi
Posted by Betsy Emery on February 26, 2011
The world has lost an angel. A soft spoken and gentle angel. I feel very thankful that I knew her. A real lady.
Posted by Rebecca Luby on February 23, 2011
The first time I met Kathy and Judy was a bbq that Jason and Dara had several years ago. Kathy and I laughed about raising children and the curve balls that fly while doing so..her patience and insightful thoughts on how to get through the tough times gave me peace in knowing in the end all would work out. She will be missed greatly even by those she only touched breifly!
Posted by Pattie Beebe on February 20, 2011
I'm so sorry that Kathy is gone. I had a very nice conversation with her last month. She agreed to look at facebook and I agreed to look at paying bills online. I thought we would see her last month but it was not to be. Prayers for Judi, Lorene and Jason.
Posted by Mary Joy Carlson on February 18, 2011
I haven't seen Kathy very often since our children grew up and left home. I have thought of her through the years and always remembered how cheerful she always seemed. I know that you will all miss her and hope that happy memories will sustain you.
Joy Carlson (Scott's mom)
Posted by Shirley DiMatteo on February 17, 2011
I have lost a treasured friend. Kathy and I met in the early 70's and shared many adventures and a lasting friendship. Kathy touched my life in so many ways. I will always cherish those memories, Last July, I spent a lovely day with Kathy, Judi and some of our grandchildren. Kathy seemed so happy and well. My thoughts are with Judi, Lorene, and Jason. We have lost a unique,wonderful person.
Posted by Noelle Vahanian on February 16, 2011
Dear Kathy,
You gave guilt no moral privileged position, nor did you see any value in pain. But what would you do with grief?
Grief born of love and care and friendship, and deep sympathy for Judi, Lorene, Jason, your family, your world of friends, a universe without you -- though through you richer, better, and in promise, hopeful.
Posted by Sue Bova on February 16, 2011
Judy and Kathy were such a great team. Respectful to each other and always working side by side. I had the pleasure of meeting them at Richmark during their many projects. I enjoyed the relationship and obvious caring they shared. My sympathy to Judy and all the family.
Posted by Donna Nelson on February 15, 2011
Kathy--my close childhood friend,from 3rd grade through college,my college roommate,matron of honor at my wedding..a huge part of my life until our mid-twenties, when a continent divided us.I was so glad to renew our friendship two years ago with a visit in California,and I regret that will be last time we meet.I love hearing from others what Kathy and her life have meant to so many.
Donna Nelson
Posted by Mary Stuhler (Donegan) on February 15, 2011
I have thought about Kathy many, many times in the past twenty years or so. She worked with my son and me while he was attending Fairmount Children's Center. I was a single parent at the time and many times my visits with her involved speaking about my older son. Her words were always very comforting. I will never forget Kathy Lanier. May God Bless her. Mary Stuhler (Donegan)
Posted by Jaime Baitsell on February 14, 2011
I think of her everyday...What can I say...She will truly be missed. LRY, May Memorial, Camping...babysitting...growing up!!! She has touched all of our lives.
Jaime Gerber Baitsell
Gerber/Osborne/Dipboye/Baitsell "Clan"
Posted by Charlene Kirchoff on February 14, 2011
We have fond rememberances of Kathy at May Memorial and Unirondack. She was an amazing organizer. Our thoughts are with Judy, Lorene, Jason and the rest of your family. Char and Mike Kirchoff, Loudon, TN.
Posted by Pam Sleeth on February 14, 2011
Kathy was a true inspiration to me. Without her and Judy I would not own a beautiful new house. She was tireless in her effort to help me finish my Habitat House. I think of her often when I am relaxing on my porch with my son and dog. She was a blessing to us.
Posted by Marilyn Clark on February 13, 2011
I met Kathy at UC Berkeley when we were both freshmen, 52 years ago. The connection remained through thick and thin. Watching her giving behavior to all, I admired her strength, intelligence, problem solving capabilities and organizational skills. I am grateful that she has been a forever friend and influenced me greatly. Marilyn Clark in Lincoln, CA
Posted by Sharon Sherman on February 13, 2011
This last year Kathy had become a constant in my life always pushing me forward in her positive supportive manner. I was already missing her thinking it strange that she had not yet made contact from California. Think of her when you pass the Salt Springs Cemetery a physical monument to her work in the community.
Posted by Brian Mitchell on February 13, 2011
She treated me like a son and always made me feel at home. Sorry J (and Lorene). I'll try to catch you sometime Friday at 1017.
Posted by Steve Nyland on February 13, 2011
God Bless You Kathy! You always took time to be kind to me, and I will always be grateful for having had you as a part of my life.
Posted by MaryAnn Zeppetello on February 13, 2011
Judy and family, What a shock to read of Kathy's death ; taken much too early.
Although our paths crossed less in these last few years, my memories date to the 60s at MMUS and the house on Edgehill.

Kathy led a varied life and brought joy to her family, friends and community. She will be celebrated and missed by many.

My thoughts are with you.

Mary Ann Zeppetello
Posted by Rosamond Rudy on February 12, 2011
I am glad that Kathy touched my life. She was a warm, refined and caring person.
It was all reflected in her contributions to life and to those she helped when they needed her. She will be missed and never forgotten
                                  Rosamond Rudy

Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Posted by Jack Osborne on February 6, 2020
Still -
You still bring smiles to my face often when the memories come. You're wisdom and friendship are still with me in spirit. Loving thoughts.
Posted by Lorene Lanier on February 6, 2020
Dear Mom,

For the first time I forgot this was the anniversary of your death. I guess that's a good thing, because now I'm just happy on your birthday. Still missing you every day.

Posted by Lorene Lanier on August 19, 2019
Hi Mom,

I’m driving home after visiting Jason and his family. Judi came down for a few days- the drive takes a bit longer than when you were driving :-). You’d be amazed how big the boys are! Jason has lots of projects that need finishing and could really use your cajoling....

We miss you

Recent stories

From Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shared by Jason Lanier on March 1, 2011

All who knew Kathy, Mom, described her as tireless. Whether it her social work, physical labor or just being a mother her inexhaustible drive to help, is without question.

When reflecting on my childhood that description “Tireless” is ever so pertinent. Those of you who didn't know or don't remember, I was a trying child. You see, at a very early age I became aware of my rights …

the right to say no

the right to refuse without comment

the right to refuse with comment

the right to say "I don't care"

and most importantly the right to argue non-disputed subjects.

I was not going to do anything until I had a full deposition on exactly how the request, or reply, or non-disputed subject reconciled with my rights.

A typical exchange might start with me asking Mom a question such as: “What's for dinner?”

Mom replied:   “We're having spaghetti“

My retort: “I don't have to eat spaghetti”

Mom calmly responded: “Your right you don't, but that's what's for dinner.”

As an adolescent absolutist I proclaimed my rights countless time. Typical decrees included:

“I don't have to pick up my clothes”

“I don't have to wear boots in the winter”

“I don't have to go to sleep now”

“I don't have to, take a shower, brush my teeth, wear shoes, do my homework, get my hair cut ….

And each time, Mom allowed me..helped me to realize why I should do something even if I didn't have to do that something.

Doing things because you should not because you're required, is how Mom lived. This simple juxtaposition, should do vs. have to do, was the underpinning of my mother tireless efforts. You should do that which is helpful.

This "should do" drive didn't stop with family members. Mom's friends knew best not to mention a yet to be completed project within earshot, lest you were prepared to complete said project. You see, to Mom, unfinished tasks hung like an albatross around the neck of ones conscience.  And mentioning a chore in front of my mom was no different then asking her out right for help.  You concluded you should do the project now just do it...completed the task, free your consciences. And Mom was always there to lean help bear the motivate by doing. 

Professionally, Mom was just as tireless. In Mom's mind her “clients” were not anonymous problems with case numbers but rather people with names.  People who needed unburdening their consciences so they could feel the freedom of less worry.  Day after day, year after year, 24-7,365, Mom was on call.  And when the government systems bogged down, Mom, just did it herself.  It was the clients-the individuals who needed her time and help, not the agencies.  Although she officially retired fifteen years ago she still remained active in many of her clients' lives.

This leads me to ask; what drives a person to tirelessly, inexhaustibly volunteer everyday for these labors ... to help strangers, family, friends...

to help her ridiculously stubborn son to gain new perspective ...

to help friends paint their house or move to a new home or organize a garage, basement or attic...

to help a returning soldier navigate government bureaucracy to receive the medical assistance he needed...

to help the grandson of a client from 30 years ago get into college...

to help a homeless man find an apartment, reestablish his identity and start rebuilding his life...

or year after year restock a freezer with homemade casseroles, cookies, and of course, spaghetti her son and his wife wouldn't be burdened with making dinner for her grandchildren... Let me restate that..she replenished with homemade casseroles, cookies, and spaghetti sauce...replenished with love.

For her, Mom was doing what should be done, lessening our physical, mental and intangible loads.

Mom was; alturism, amity, charity, compassion, empathy, generosity, goodness, heart, kindness, mercy, was humanity.

And in the grand notion of humanity, the pay it forward, geometric progression, the cascading-light notion of humanity, where one kind action leads to a dozen more equally kind actions...that cascading-light grew a little less bright two Sundays ago.


Shared by Mary Stuhler (Donegan) on February 15, 2011

I, too have fond memories of Kathy while my son was attending Fairmount Children's Center in the mid 80's. I remember one of the last times I spoke to her regarding my older son. I needed to talk to someone, so I called Kathy and asked if she could meet me after work. I worked at Syracuse University at the time so we met at the Burger King across the street around 5pm. I needed to speak to her regarding my teenage son. This visit was on Kathy's own, private time. But she took the time to talk to me because I needed someone to talk to. I remember her saying to me regarding my son, "He will be okay Mary. He has your values and morals." She was right. This son will retire from the Army in 4 years as an E9.

I will never forget you Kathy Lanier. You have touched my heart more than you will ever know. Thank you for the memories. God Bless, Mary Stuhler (Donegan)


Shared by Rebecca Raymond on February 14, 2011

Kathy and judy visited us several times while I was recovering from a fractured femur.   One Saturday I was lamenting about a lack of frogs in our small pond.  I wanted to go froggin' on my crutches but that was not allowed.  So Kathy said she would go frogging with Barbara amd Judy would keep me company.  Kathy was always up for anything!  Had she been to catch frogs before?  No!  But how hard could it be?

Kathy and barbara headed to the swamp with two nets, a garbage bag and big boots.  When they arrived at the swamp the two women waded out into the water and stared quietly for frog heads to pop up from the water.  Barbara explained that one needed to be very fast and that going under the frog usually worked best.

Kathy was determined and headed to a deeper location where she had seen several frogs.  The muck on the bottom was thick and liked to keep one from pulling their foot up.  But nothing stopped Kathy!

Barbara had made several grand attempts with no success.  Kathy now had a frog in her net and was clutching it to her chest.  Barbara quickly got the bag and Kathy grabbed the frog and dropped it into the bag.  She headed right out again as the swamp water began leaking into her boot.

Next thing Kathy knew she was sitting in the swamp with her arms in the air laughing. Barbara went to help but Kathy stood right up.  Now both women were laughing. Kathy was wet and smelled of swamp. The giggling continued as Kathy caught two more frogs.  Barbara caught no frogs but she told Judy and I the story which is and always will be one of my favorites.

We are missing you so much Kathy Lanier!

Love and Hugs,   Rebecca and Barbara