Kathryn Delores “Kathy” Sams Zeller
Mass of Christian Burial for Kathryn Zeller, 82, Lawrence will be held at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, January 8, 2014, at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. Burial will follow at 12:30 p.m. at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery.
Kathryn was born in Gastonia, North Carolina in 1931. She was the fifth born of eight children in the Sams family. Kathryn’s two brothers, Ralph and Howard, served in the U.S. Navy during WWII. Her baby brother, Bobby, served in the U.S. Navy and Army during the Vietnam War. Sisters Ruby, Joy, Becky, and Marie worked and raised their families in North and South Carolina. Her mother and father were employed in the textile industry in southwestern North Carolina, later opening a small retail store in Gastonia.
In her early twenties, Kathryn left North Carolina to find her fortune in Washington D.C. While working as a model in an elegant Washington D.C. department store, she met a dashing young U.S. Army Sergeant by the name of Leonard J. Zeller. She married Len on Valentine’s Day 1951 at the Fort Myer Chapel, Arlington, Virginia.
Army life was a whirlwind. Shortly after the two were wed, Len was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and they transferred to Bavaria, West Germany. Len and Kathy enjoyed two assignments in West Germany, one in Arizona, and four in the Washington D.C. area. Len left Kathryn and their children alone to serve a year in South Korea and a year at war in South Vietnam. Those familiar with military life appreciate the demands and uncertainties Kathryn dealt with while keeping the household together and raising four beautiful children. They retired from the U.S. Army in 1976.
Kathryn and Len arrived in Lawrence Kansas in the summer of 1976. They worked together to establish the Electrolife Battery Company. As small business owners and proud members of the Lawrence family, they were active in their community. They were known for treating their customers and business associates with the utmost respect and dignity. Many remember Kathy as “The Butterfly Lady” at the Battery Shop in North Lawrence. Her daughter, Robin, and son, Ronald, will continue the business in Kathryn’s absence.
Kathryn passed away on January 4, 2014. She was a great woman, loved dearly by her family and all that had the pleasure to know her. She will be profoundly missed! She is survived by her children Robin, Ronald, and Randel, and their families. She joins her husband Len, daughter Katrina, as well as her parents, brothers, and sisters who have passed on before her.
A Rosary will be said 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 7, 2014 with visitation to follow until 8:00 p.m. at Warren-McElwain Mortuary.
Memorial Contributions may be made in her name to St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, the Disabled American Veterans, Dorsey-Liberty Post #14 American Legion, USO of Metropolitan Washington, Inc. and may be sent in care of the Mortuary.