TRAVERSE CITY — Kathleen “Katie” Kieren, 91, of Traverse City, passed away peacefully at home on April 29, 2014, with her family by her side. Katie was born on July 19, 1922, in Venosta, Quebec, Canada, to her parents, the late Martin and Florence (Mullin) O’Dea. She grew up in Detroit and spent summers in Venosta.
She graduated from St. Gregory High School in Detroit and attended Marygrove College.
Katie married Roger Kieren in 1944 and together they raised their seven children in Grosse Pointe Woods.
Katie was a true bouquet of flowers who celebrated her Irish heritage and lived life to the fullest. She was a power ball of energy and a true inspiration to those who met her. Despite her many tragedies, faith was her beacon; she attended Mass nearly every day and she devoted herself to doing for others.
Admired for her zest of life, she actively sought new experiences straight up until the end of her life. She was an explorer who embraced music, culture, heritage and nature and she was always actively involved in her community.
She and her husband were sailors and campers and took their seven children to nearly every National Park. Katie was a world traveler who stepped foot on every continent. In addition to the usual touring, she rode elephants in Thailand and walked among penguins in Antarctica. She was also an excellent cook and her frequent dinner parties were known for their elegance.
People will remember Katie as being a volunteer extraordinaire. In Detroit she read for the blind for 14 years on public radio, led a bereavement support group, was a teacher for breast cancer recovery groups and delivered for Meals on Wheels. She was constantly involved with church activities including serving funeral luncheons and creating floral arrangements for the altars. In addition to her services at St. Francis Church, she was actively involved in wildflower rescues at Cranbrook House & Gardens and the Leelanau Nature Conservancy. She was a past president of the Charlevoix Garden Club. In honor of her husband, Roger, Katie decided to donate her land along the shores of Lake Susan near Charlevoix and started the “Kieren Nature Preserve” as part of the Little Traverse Conservancy. She recently “retired” from her volunteer work at the “Heritage Center” but continued to enjoy working at the Traverse City’s Visitors Center.