Katherine “Kac” Carr Giele, 94, Lawrence, died Friday, Dec. 1 at her home. A service to honor her life is planned for 2 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1101 Vermont Street, Lawrence. A private interment service is planned for a later date at Pioneer Cemetery, University of Kansas West Campus.
Kac was born on January 29, 1923, in Port Arthur, TX to Dr. J.E. and Willis Carr. She was raised in Boulder, CO, where she graduated from Boulder High School and the University of Colorado.
She moved to Lawrence in 1956 when the late Frank Burge hired her to be Assistant Director for Programs at the Kansas Union and she remained there until her retirement in 1988. She was an influential force, guiding student leaders and setting the tone for much of the entertaining and educational programming on campus, touching the lives of countless people. She worked through the campus unrest and arson fire in 1970 that heavily damaged the Kansas Union, helping to rebuild it in less than a year.
During her career, Katherine served on many national committees and led the Committee on the Arts for the Association of College Unions-International. In 1980, Katherine was inducted to KU’s Emily Taylor Women’s Center Hall of Fame. Student Union Activities alum honored her by establishing a scholarship for student leaders in her name.
After retiring, Katherine helped catalogue the late Ed Ruhe’s extensive aboriginal art collection, which is now in the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Collection at the University of Virginia. She assisted the late Marilyn Stokstad with her art history textbooks, completing the word processing for most of the first edition of Art History from Marilyn’s handwritten notebooks. She also worked part-time for several years at KU Parking Services, where she enjoyed her co-workers and keeping up with technology. Katherine remained active until nearly the end with KU Retirees and several bridge clubs.
At her home, Kac welcomed all, including many KU students with whom she remained in touch long after they graduated. Some of our favorite stories are of Kac’s famous dinner parties. Her Thanksgiving gatherings in particular were treasured through the years by her family, friends, students and faculty members. Everyone remembers her perfect pies and the ease with which she could produce one, two or five.
Katherine married John Haskell Giele. They later divorced, remaining friends until his death in 2001.
Kac is survived by her son, John Carr Giele and daughter-in-law Jill, Lawrence; and by her granddaughters, Amanda and Jenna, Lawrence; brother and sister-in-law Bill and Corliss Carr, Anderson, CA; brother-in-law and sister-in-law David and Janet Giele, Wellesley, MA; many nieces and nephews; her in-laws Dennis and Jean Casey, Lawrence; best friends Chuck and Sara Sack, Parsons, KS; and many more friends near and far. Her parents, brothers and sisters-in-law Earl and Emmy Carr and Jim and Parky Carr preceded her in death, as did her longtime companion, Ray Cuzzort.
Her loved ones are sincerely grateful for the compassionate care Kac received from Douglas County Visiting Nurses as her passing approached. The family suggests memorials in lieu of flowers to Douglas County Visiting Nurses or to the Katherine C. Giele Student Scholarship through KU Endowment.