Life Story / Obituary
Kathryn Henkes (Kathy) passed away on May 31st 2022 with her children by her side. Born on January 30th, 1938, to Eleanor and Leonard Kaufman in Manitowoc, Kathy was the youngest of four siblings (all of whom affectionately called her Katie). She attended Marquette University in Milwaukee and began working as a nurse after graduation. She met Jerome (Jerry) Henkes through a relative of Jerry’s, fell in love and the two were married on October 28th, 1961. They raised two children, Sheila and David, in Racine and were just starting to enjoy Jerry’s retirement when he passed in 2002. Undeterred by her own health problems that later developed, she nonetheless remained active and engaged with family and friends as a beloved mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend.
Kathy’s most defining characteristic was her unrelenting positivity, and she always remained upbeat, cheerful and gracious to all that she met. Her passions included cooking, sewing, crossword puzzles, playing bridge, traveling, pulling an occasional slot machine lever, rooting for the Brewers and Packers, collecting pewter figures, and doting on her loving family. She hosted countless family gatherings - birthday celebrations were nearly always celebrated with a hand-made customized cake and homemade shirts or other clothes, while Christmas celebrations were memorable for the gingerbread cookies, bottomless Christmas present bags and stocking stuffers, and the best beer cheese soup ever made in the state of Wisconsin. She was the central presence at so many family events – a hole that will forever remain in the family. Kathy had a knack for making all feel comfortable in her presence, even in her later years where nurses would often comment on how much they enjoyed having Kathy as a patient.
Kathy’s positivity also led to lifelong engagement in arts and philanthropic activities. She taught at the 1888 Schoolhouse in Racine, acted in the Racine Children’s Theater, and belonged to a number of organizations including the Junior League, the American Association of University Women, and the P.E.O. women’s group. She and Jerry were part of several gourmet clubs where she continued to hone her cooking skills, and she remained active in bridge clubs until close to her passing. She also remained active at her parish, St. Edward’s Catholic Church, until she wasn’t able to drive anymore.
She is survived by her daughter Sheila (Lance) Reschke of Minnetonka, MN, son David (Keri Fair) of River Forest, IL, grandchildren Jenny (Chris LeGrand), Katrina and Andy Reschke and Peter, Eric and Luke Henkes, her sister Janet Breuer, sisters-in-law Mary Jane Horlitz and Amy Kaufman, and many loving nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Jerry, parents Len and Ellie, brothers Richard and Robert, and brothers-in-law Ned Breuer and Lee Horlitz.
Funeral services will be held Friday, June 10, 2022, 11:30 AM at the funeral home. Entombment will follow at Calvary Garden Crypts. Relatives and friends may meet with the family Friday at the funeral home from 10:00 a.m. until time of service at 11:30 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, if you would prefer to memorialize Kathy’s legacy, please consider the following organizations:
The Sewing Machine Project is based in Monona, WI. https://thesewingmachineproject.org/giving/donate/
Senior Companion Program Inc, 5111 Wright Ave., Racine; https://www.seniorcompanionprogram.org/about