Obituary: Katharine Lenore Kalafat

November 16, 1934 - March 8, 2024
Katharine Lenore Kalafat
November 16, 1934 - March 8, 2024
Posted at 8:52 AM, Mar 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-15 10:53:15-04

The rollicking good times of Katharine Lenore Kalafat came to its final conclusion on March 8, 2024, in Great Falls, MT the only way it could have, in the loving presence of her devoted children surrounding her bedside. Katharine was born in Los Angeles, CA on November 16, 1934, to Dudley and Kittie Shumway. Upon graduating North Hollywood High School , she followed her boyfriend north to Pullman, WA to attend WSU, where her life took a dramatic turn. She met and fell in love with the antithesis of all she had known, a rough and tumble Montana boy. A golden gloves boxer and Cougar Defensive End, Ron Kalafat. And everything she knew about the easy life, warm weather, and sandy shores went out the door.

They both left school and Ron took his fiancé home to Montana. Soon they were married in 1955, at Saint Ann’s Church in Great Falls, and the Hollywood girl soon found herself on the edges of the Bob Marshall wilderness as co-owner and operator of a hunting ranch, hauling ice cold pails of water from the creek to the cook house where she’d prepare breakfast and dinner and make bunks up for hunters or Dudes as they were referred to in those times. The cold, the snow, the changing seasons, the hard work, and hearing tall tales from entertaining characters – she loved all of it, every single minute of it. To her it was an adventure. She would make her home in Montana for the next 70 years.

She quickly adapted to life in the rugged country, and they settled in Great Falls. She had four kids – Jody, Jim, Jane, and Joe. Ron and Kathy divorced in 1981, and although he said she never cooked a good meal in all that time and she said he never could figure out which way was up, they remained lifelong friends. She completed her college degree at UGF to pursue her calling, which was thought to be that of a teacher. Kathy taught for the next 25 years at St. Joseph’s, Emerson, Mountain View, and Valley View and made numerous life-long friendships with so many of her colleagues.

She bought a house in Riverview shortly after her divorce and made her kids the primary focus of her life. Of course, she hadn’t counted on those 4 kids being wild hellions bent on being hard to handle. But, like she handled all things with grit, calmness, and strength she handled them and kept them (mostly) in line.

She is survived by her children, Jody of Great Falls, Jim (Tonya) of Denver, Jane (Gary Burford) Davidson of NC, and Joe (Kara) of Missoula; numerous grandchildren, Katie, Cole, Bree, Garrett, Bridger, Jack, and Bodie; along with great grandchildren, Landon and Noa. Our hearts will forever be missing her, but full of gratitude that we got so much of her while she lived.

To read the complete obituary and share condolences, click here to visit the O'Connor Funeral Home website.