Devoted wife, mother and grandmother, Kathleen Walls, 66, peacefully passed away surrounded by her loving family on July 24, 2015, at Providence Hospital in Anchorage after a lengthy illness.
Born Kathleen Margaret Patsch, April 13, 1949, in Klamath Falls, Ore., to parents Margaret Miller Patsch and Max Patsch, Kathleen was the youngest of seven children. She graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Klamath in 1967.
In 1968, Kathleen married William Walls and started their family in San Jose, Calif., where Bill finished his carpenter apprenticeship training and they had their first daughter, Marie, in 1969 and son, Russell, in 1971. Shortly after they moved northward to Spokane, Wash., and on to Chewelah, Wash., where their second daughter, Robyn, was born in 1973. Together they built a beautiful custom home overlooking the Chewelah Valley. During those years Kathleen would sew lovely two-piece outfits to send her children to school in. These outfits would be admired by all the staff throughout the school day.
In 1976, Bill landed a construction job in Alaska and soon brought his family in tow — and straight into the Bush of Western Alaska, Bethel. This town with one fenced in evergreen tree in a barren land of tundra and snow was no match for this city girl who begrudgingly adjusted to the customs of the country and quickly made comfortable the Atco/trailer/house of a home for her family. Without Christmas amenities she rose to the challenge, making ornaments and stringing glittered styrofoam packing peanuts for the “tree” that Bill had cut and strapped to his back for 30 miles on a snowmachine. During those years in Bethel, Kathleen worked as the dispatcher at the City Public Works Department and was respectfully known as the “Honey Bucket Queen.”
Bill and Kathleen moved their family one last time to the end of the road, Homer, Alaska, in May of 1979. This is where they have happily resided for the past 36 years. During those early years Kathleen worked several jobs around the community, from dental reception, furniture sales, hanging wallpaper, fish processing to cleaning, etc. As her children grew and became more independent she began to develop her craft as a highly skilled seamstress, designing and sewing elegant prom dresses, unique classy clothing, and several one-of-a kind quilts. Known for her professional standards, Kathleen’s quilts were greatly admired, and in 2001 she won Best of Show at the Kachemak Bay Quilters Show for her “Bird Bath” quilt. She loved cranes, the Bird of Paradise and the 100-year-old family legacy peonies that grew in her front yard.
Kathleen also was an avid outdoors woman, ruthlessly providing for her family subsistence and sport fishing, making midnight moose roadkill meat salvage runs, and canning, canning, canning meat, salmon and berries every summer. She self proclaimed being a “hot house flower who could quarter a moose, haul a fish net, buck a cord of wood, raise a family, put a gourmet meal on the dinner table and still dress to the nines.” Her gourmet cooking drew many friends, family and neighbor kids to her kitchen on a regular basis.
In her later years, Kathleen (and Bill) owned and operated a banquet/party rental service which she kept to a highly professional business standard in the lower peninsula area.
Kathleen was preceded in death by her parents Max and Margaret Patsch, and her sister Maxine Robson.
She leaves her loving husband of 46 years, Bill Walls; daughters, Marie (Pete) Alexson and Robyn Walls; son, Russell Walls; Alaska nephews Mike Walls and Robert Say; and five precious grandchildren she was so very proud of, Lake (7), Lawson (9), Mia (15), Riley (17) and Jordan (21). She also leaves behind her brothers, Frank and Ronald Patsch of Klamath Falls, Ore.; and sisters, Phyllis Patsch and Susan Say of Placerville, Calif., and Elaine (Bob) Garrison of Solano County, Calif.; as well as brother-in-law Walter Walls of Gilbert, Minn., and many nieces and nephews in California, Colorado and Minnesota who always looked up to her as “the Fun Auntie.”
“She will be greatly missed by those who knew her magnificent personality and vibrant, classy style. Her passing leaves us with great sadness yet blesses us with the knowledge to attain our best craftsmanship for her sheer determination and excellence in skill surely inspired many who witnessed her creations,” her family said.
In lieu of flowers, in Kathleen’s memory, please share a kind smile or helping hand to someone today. For information, please contact Bill Walls at 299-3072.