Katherine Morton Nelson, 97, died November 28, 2013, at a local assisted-living facility. A lifelong resident of St. Joseph, Missouri, she was born on November 26, 1916, to Pearl Jane (King) and Joseph Morton.
On May 24, 1941, she married Roy Fairfield Nelson, who preceded her in death in 1991.
In addition to her parents and husband, Katherine was preceded in death by her son, George F. Nelson, in 2006, and granddaughter, Anna Louise Nelson in 1989; all her brothers and sisters: Margaret Morton, William (Jeanette) Morton, Sr.; David Morton; Hannah (Rod) Redmond; Joseph “Budge” (Letty) Morton, Jr,; Mary (C. Nelson) Hillix; and John B. “Jack” (Marie) Morton.
Katherine is survived by three children: Jane Nelson (Sonny Thompson), Morton (Nancy) Nelson, and John B. (Denise) Nelson; five grandchildren: Daniel Morton Nelson, Katherine Elizabeth Nelson (Jon Lu), Lauren B. Nelson (Andy Goldberg), Peter H. Nelson, and Kirstin Jane Nelson; and one step great-grandson, Caleb Thompson.
Katherine earned a B.A. degree from Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Missouri, and a degree in Library Science from Columbia University in New York. A lifelong advocate for education, Katherine found many ways to support and promote libraries, schools, nature and the arts.
Before her marriage, she served as a librarian in the St. Joseph Public Libraries. Later she was instrumental in the establishment of Rolling Hills Regional Library, where she served as interim librarian before a permanent director was hired. She promoted the establishment of the first Bookmobile. She and her husband helped to organize the Platte Valley School District and start the school that is now Bessie Ellison. Later she and her husband promoted the development of Missouri Western State College and its advancement to a four-year school.
After their marriage in 1941, Katherine and Roy moved to the “Home farm” east of St. Joseph, where they raised their four children. She was a member of the Saxton Extension Club (later Saxton Community Club) for nearly 70 years. Her children became active members of the 102 River 4-H Club and were supported in many other school and community activities.
Before her marriage, Katherine was a member of First Baptist Church. After her marriage, she joined First Lutheran Church. She served on the boards of Memorial Home and Green Acres. She was a Member Emeritus of Saint Joseph Junior League, and she took an active interest in Noyes Home and Robidoux Row Museum. She participated in the Audubon Society and many nature-related activities. She volunteered at Squaw Creek, served on St. Joseph Tree Board, and went on Owl Prowls and bird counts. She was a 62-year cancer survivor.
Katherine was generous in giving charities, including 52 local Habitat for Humanity houses, Social Welfare Board, Salvation Army. St. Joseph Museum, Patee House, Pony Express Museum, Albrecht Art Museum, Allied Arts, Martin Luther King Memorial and many more.
Memorial Services: 11:00 A.M. Saturday, First Lutheran Church 10th and Charles Street. Inurnment Memorial Park Cemetery. The family will receive friends 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. Friday, Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts to First Lutheran Church, Robidoux Row Museum, Social Welfare Board or a charity of the donor’s choice. Online guest book and obituary at www.meierhoffer.com.