Loving Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Sister, Friend to all, and Helena’s former First Lady, passed away peacefully at her home, with family members present, the evening of November 5th, 2017.
Cathy (Katie, Kate) was born and raised in the small but proud community of Judith Gap, Montana, to Charles (Charlie) Joseph Volf, and Marliealena (Lena) Boutsen on November 20, 1929. She was the third born to a family of three sisters (The 3 blonde towheads) and two brothers. She received her early education in the Judith Gap (Go Tigers) School and was the Senior class president and Salutatorian of her senior class, as well as the Bugler (playing Trumpet taps) at the Judith Gap Cemetery.
Upon graduating from High School, Cathy enrolled in Dental Nurse’s School in San Francisco. Upon receiving her degree she worked at Veteran’s Hospitals in San Francisco, Spokane, and then Helena, where she met a handsome, young, Second Lieutenant. Steve and Cathy were married on July 12th, 1952, in the Cathedral of St. Helena.
Cathy was a full-time mom and homemaker for their daughters and ten years later for their two sons. She was a gourmet cook, not only for her family, but many of her children’s friends who came and were always welcomed to the Keim home for Cathy’s lemon pies, tacos, hamburgers, corndogs, cookies, and any other goodies she would prepare for “The Bengal Brunch.” At one time she fondly recalls a taco eating contest. The winner being a running back, devouring eleven tacos, and runner up, son: Chris, consuming nine. She never turned down her children’s friends for a meal or sleep over. During Cathy’s and Steve’s early marriage years, she cared for other children to assist Steve’s tuition at Carroll College, as well as other family expenses.
Cathy was truly “Helena’s First Lady” in the late sixties and early seventies during Steve’s tenure as Mayor and Commissioner. She was not only a busy homemaker and mom, but also volunteered to serve as Chairman of the Lewis & Clark Cancer Committee, in charge of the Cancer assistance grants and Cancer Closet, keeping Steve busy delivering beds, wheel-chairs, etc. in their 1964 Ford pick-up. Cathy was on the board of Directors for the “Home of Good Shepard” later called “the Florence Crittenton Home,” for twenty five years. She volunteered for the Cathedral of St. Helena, PTA and the Bengal Booster Club. Together Steve and Cathy hosted many foreigners from the Far East and Europe, during their “Friendship Force” years.
Cathy endured moving nine times during their sixty five years together, including Fort Knox, KY., Fort Lee, VA., Fort Benning, GA., and Washington, D.C., before settling down at their small Ranchette in the Bitteroot Valley. During their retirement years, they enjoyed well deserved cruises, camper traveling, and their ranch lifestyle. When Cathy’s long term illness became apparent, they returned to Helena, their beloved Hometown. Cathy’s other interests and hobbies included attending their children’s and grandchildren’s sporting events, hiking the Bitteroot Mountain range, identifying Montana’s wild flowers, and teaching friends to dance the Polka.
She was preceded in death by her parents, sister, and two brothers.
She is survived by her husband, sister; Elizabeth (Bette) (Mike DeBiase), daughters; Susan (Gary) Doran, Marilyn (Channing) Yong, Stephanie (Brad) Munk, sons; Steve (Michelle Marie) Chris (Michelle Lee), fifteen grandchildren, and six great grandchildren, and numerous nephews and nieces.
In lieu of flowers or cards, memorials are suggested to the Florence Crittenton Home, 901 Harris St., Helena, MT., the Montana Military Museum, Fort Harrison, or the Carroll College Athletic Fund. A Viewing will be held from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Monday, November 13, 2017 at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home, 3750 N. Montana Ave, with a Vigil Service to follow at 6:00 p.m. at the funeral home. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 12:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 14th, 2017 at the Cathedral of St Helena, 530 N. Ewing St. Burial will be held at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery, Ft. Harrison. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer condolence to the family or to share a memory of Catherine.