Kathleen Kauffman passed away on April 22, 2021 from complications due to ALS. A graveside service will be held at Media Cemetery in August or early September 2021, once pandemic restrictions ease and we can gather comfortably after the service to celebrate her life. Details will be posted on this web page.
Kathy was born in Swarthmore and raised in Media, Pennsylvania by her parents James and Agnes Kauffman, who preceded her in death. She lived in her beautiful, old Lansdowne home for nearly 40 years and passed away there, just as the songbirds which take residence in the fragrant garden outside her windows were announcing the day.
Doyenne of Gladstone Manor, treasurer of the Gladstone Civic Association, and captain of her block, Kathy took a hands-on roll in all of the community’s welcoming events- tree lightings, public space clean ups, 4th of July cookouts. Her friends and neighbors in Gladstone Manor were invaluable to Kathy. While she battled ALS with her distinctive strength and optimism, she was often home alone during the pandemic. The care and comfort they provided was heroic.
Kathy graduated from Widener University with a BS in Finance, Phi Beta Kappa. From the late 1960s until the early 2000s, she worked for several companies, including FMC Corporation, IU International Corporation and Harper Collins Publishing, where her position as Vice President of Finance meant she had to take the 6:30 AM train from 30th Street Station Philadelphia to New York for nearly 10 years. Before retiring altogether in 2016, she worked part-time for 14 years at Gadsden, Schneider & Woodward LLP, a trust and estate law firm in Wayne, PA.
From the time she was in her early 20s until 2019, Kathy could be found on summer weekends and vacations in Avalon, NJ, sharing rentals and hanging out on decks around the Princeton Canal, with her closest and most beloved friends to this day.
Passionate about many kinds of music, Kathy leaves behind a room lined with vinyl and CDs. She also enjoyed live concerts, and one early highlight was seeing David Bowie at the Tower Theater in 1974. Her love of music never waned. During retirement, she often hopped the regional SEPTA line into Philly for many of WXPN’s free World Cafe concerts at noon. Indeed, it was listening to Van Morrison, Sam Cooke, Roxy Music, Jason Mraz and an eclectic mix of current and classic artists that helped Kathy get through the roughest days of having ALS.
Please remember Kathy when you hear one of her all-time favorites: Van Morrison’s ‘Into the Mystic’. Imagine it cranking in her car on a humid summer Friday evening, as she made her way through the dark back roads of the South Jersey Pine Barrens, heading for Avalon.
Kathy is survived by her devoted sisters and their husbands: Kristine and Frank Grahek and Nanette and Michael Giles, and their children – the nieces and nephews whom she adored and doted on: Jocelyn Gross, Joey Gross, Warren Gross, Jaime Grahek, Lowie Giles and Will Giles. She had cousins, extended family and friends whom she loved immensely and enthusiastically, in Gladstone Manor and Lansdowne, across the greater Philadelphia region, in Wilmington, DE, Brooklyn, NY and Los Angeles, CA.
If you would like to send a gift to remember Kathy, please consider these three organizations:
- ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter, 321 Norristown Rd #260, Ambler, PA 19002 or
- The Neurology and ALS Program at Penn Medicine, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 10104 or
- WXPN, 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Kathy and her family would like to express their deepest appreciation to ALS Association’s Greater Philadelphia Chapter and to the Neurology and ALS Program at Penn Medicine. Thank you for bringing us into your communities and for the many ways you supported Kathy and our family over the past two years.
We are grateful to WXPN for the delight it brought Kathy for decades. You rocked her gypsy soul and continuously introduced her to new music and artists, to which she sang and danced until the end, until the early spring morning when she flowed magnificently into the mystic.