Katherine Anne Stern
Katherine Anne Merrell Stern died peacefully in her sleep early Monday morning, October 28, 2019 at age 90 from natural causes.
Katherine was born on March 28, 1929 in Lock Haven, and she lived on her family’s farm growing up. She attended Lock Haven High School, graduating in the class of 1947, and then attended Lock Haven Teachers College, graduating in the class of 1951 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She followed that with work toward a master’s degree from the Pennsylvania State University. She married Earl Irvin Stern on June 6, 1953 at the Liberty Methodist Church on Island Route in Lock Haven. Together, they managed a family farm with as many as 1200 acres of land in Clinton County and earned the distinction of “Master Farmer” in 1975 by the Pennsylvania State University Cooperative Extension Service.
Also known to friends as Katy Anne, she taught first grade students in Philadelphia (’51-’52), South Williamsport (’52-’54) and at the Dickey elementary school in Lock Haven (’68-’74). She used music to make learning more enjoyable for her students, saying “I love music and I think that my children are happier and more enthusiastic about their work when they can relax and do it with music.” Katherine was an accomplished pianist who could not only sight-read music but also play most anything by ear. She was also an active member of the Lock Haven Music Club and organist and pianist for the Great Island Presbyterian Church. She particularly enjoyed serving as a talented and attentive accompanist. Among her many musical activities she accompanied her husband, Earl, who was a tenor soloist, the Lock Haven Community Chorus, the Rotary Quartet, and played in the pit orchestra for musicals at Millbrook Playhouse and Lock Haven University.
She is predeceased by her husband, Earl, who died in 1997, her mother, Frances Baird Tallman and her father, John H. Merrell. She is survived by her three sons, Stephen Earl Stern who lives in Arizona, Mark Irvin (Mary Ellen) Stern who lives in Lock Haven, and Phillip Baird (Susan) Stern who lives in Massachusetts, as well as eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her best friend, John Bowes, with whom she shared a close and tender relationship for the last 15 years.
Music was an integral part of Katherine’s life, and she encouraged her family to participate fully in many musical activities. In addition to playing the piano, each of her sons played musical instruments in bands and orchestras, and they were deeply engaged in the musical offerings at Great Island Presbyterian Church as well as Lock Haven High School and their respective colleges. In 1973, primarily due to Katherine’s dedication and drive, the family was awarded the “Annual Amateur Music Making Family of the Year Award” by the American Music Conference. She said at the time, “Music is a wonderful way to communicate. It’s the nicest way of sharing I know.”
After her years of teaching and raising a family, Katherine worked at the Bon-Ton (now Macy’s) at the Lycoming Mall. She received awards for her excellence in working with customers and her sales ability.
Katherine was an individual with very high standards for herself and her family, always full of grace and class, and dedicated to ensuring that whatever she did was completed in the very best manner. She was recognized as the 2009 “Citizen of the Year” by the Rotary Club of Lock Haven for her many hours of dedicated community service which included volunteering as a “Gray Lady” at Lock Haven Hospital as well as caring for those with polio and arthritis.
A memorial service will be held at Great Island Presbyterian Church on November 23rd at 3 o’clock. Family and friends will be received one hour prior to the service, and a luncheon will be provided following the service. A private interment ceremony will be held at the family’s convenience at the Dunnstown cemetery with arrangements provided by the Yost-Gedon funeral home at 121 West Main St., Lock Haven, PA 17745. Memorial donations in her name may be made to the Great Island Presbyterian Church at 12 West Water St., Lock Haven, PA 17745 or Gideon Memorial Bibles at www.SendTheWord.org. Thoughts and memories can be made at www.yost-gedonfuneralhome.com.
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