Eva Kathleen “Katie” Price went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Mother’s Day, May 10, 2020. She was surrounded by family, who sang softly to her, held her, and prayed for her merciful release, which God indeed granted.
We, her children, would like to share some highlights of her glorious and colorful 97 years and 7 months on Earth. Born September 23, 1922, to Oscar L. Nading, Sr. and Gila Frances “Fannie” Cooper, she grew up in the Donaldsonville area of Brazil, the neighborhood directly across from the current Walmart.
Mom attended Brazil High School but left school in ninth grade to care for her own mother, who was grieving the loss of Mom’s older sister, Dorothy. Our mother always saw herself as “uneducated” but we knew it was far from the truth. Diplomas and degrees cannot teach people the most important thing of all: how to love.
To tell Mom’s story, we must tell about the magnificent love she shared with our dad, Fredrick Arnold “Freddie” Price. They first met at the local Blondie’s Roller Rink. As Dad was leaving the rink for the evening, he saw Mom entering and “paid another dime” to get back inside to meet her. It was, according to Dad, the best dime he ever spent.
On their first date, he was too shy to even look at her until she broke the ice by handing him a piece of Juicy Fruit gum. They married on a wintry October night in 1941 while Dad was home from Basic Training. For the duration of his stateside Army service, Mom followed him around the country wherever he was stationed, from North Carolina to California to Florida to Mississippi, renting places to live to be near him. In one apartment, she battled bedbugs. Her long journey to California on a coal-fired train left her and her belongings covered with fine soot. Her comment years later was “They took that thing out of retirement. It even had gaslights!” Some of Dad’s assignments lasted only a couple of weeks, but she made the best of it, and could make anyplace feel like home.
While serving overseas in the Pacific Theater, Dad wrote letter after letter after letter to Mom, numbering them on the outside so she could read them in the correct order when several arrived together. There are around a thousand of those still in our possession. He would slip small treats into the envelopes, like a tiny bit of cotton growing near his camp in New Guinea. Mom also wrote to him every day. When asked how many times he would read each of her letters, Dad said “Until the next one got there.”
As a farm wife, Mom loved to drive to whichever field Dad was working in, to take him a meal when he wasn’t able to come home for one. On the hottest of days, she’d sit in the shade with him and keep him company while he ate his sandwich and drank his ice-cold Pepsi. Once the cutting-edge invention of the CB radio came along, she could call from “home base” to his tractor radio, KBR-1877, though static usually prevailed. When Dad arrived home in the evening he was often saturated in field dust. We kids enjoyed watching Mom walk out to the patio to “whack” him with a broom, releasing great clouds of it from his overalls.
She was a no-nonsense mother. We had a healthy respect for her, and did not want to raise her ire, having witnessed various targets of her wrath, including the neighbor’s mutt, Willard, who made a nuisance of himself doing his business in our backyard. Mom shrieked “Getouttahere!” in a single, slicing syllable that all four of her children have tried, and failed, to imitate for decades. Willard, though, got off easy compared to the snakes that made the error of crossing her path. If one ventured into her flowerbed, she would stop tending flowers long enough to hoe the poor sucker’s head off. Even into her 80s, she pulverized a snake hiding between two pieces of cardboard in the shed. When asked “What did he ever do to you?” her answer was “He came into my shed.”
As tough and hoe-wielding as she could be, her lovingkindness for her family was unmistakable. In her constant daily care of us, her uncountable small touches were the best. She loved spending time with her kids, grand- and great-grandkids, in person and on Skype. She relished beautiful landscapes, was fascinated by birds (rivaling them in her whistling talent), and adored all little dogs and cats in the entire world.
Mom never lost her sense of humor, even while hospitalized for a recent stroke. The nurses at Union Hospital were entertained by her regular reports of “I ain’t dead yet!” She was up for any and all kinds of silliness, and posing for ridiculous pictures. A favorite: At an annual Christmas “white elephant” gift exchange she donned a purple Mohawk wig while Dad wore a fake rubber comb-over. They both wore “Billy Bob” teeth.
While our dad was in ill health, Mom took care of him by herself at home until she was 87. When his memory was failing, he sometimes woke in the night upset that he couldn’t remember the names of extended family members. Mom made him a chart of the names, and got up in the wee hours to read it to him at the kitchen table.
When Dad resided in Cloverleaf, she visited every day, doted upon him, shaved and lotioned his face, fed him lunch, brushed his teeth, and made sure he was tucked in for a nap. She missed her daily trips to care for him only in extreme weather.
While living these past two years at the Villas of Holly Brook, Mom was nicknamed “Princess” and it stuck. She would often help other residents by cutting up their food into bites, claiming, “I need to help these old people.”
Our parents were lifelong Christians, humbled by the beauty God provided for them, especially on their farm, and by the many blessings he poured onto their life together. By living their faith, they passed it along to all of us.
They were married 69 years, and she’s waited nine years to be with him again. Picturing their ecstatic first embrace in heaven helps us to continue with our own lives, immensely grateful for having her for so many years.
Kathleen was preceded in death by her sister Dorothy Nading and her brother Oscar Lawrence (Buck) Nading, Jr.
Survivors include their children: Janella Knierim (Brazil), Ritchie (Mary) Price (Fairfield, OH), Dan (Elise) Price (Cincinnati, OH), Julie (Scott) Pinkerton (Champaign, IL); grandchildren Michele (Gary) Neese (Poland), Rob Knierim (Terre Haute), Erin (Jeff) Williams (Cincinnati, OH), April (Ben) Lewis (Cincinnati, OH), Ashley (Josh) Joyce (Grand Rapids, MI), Abigail (Tyler) Schumacher (Cincinnati, OH), Clint (Emily) Price (Athens, AL); great-grandchildren Cole (Tori) Neese; Mikayla Knierim (Greenwood); Daniel and Joanna Williams; Evan, Delaney and Darcy Lewis; Brooke and Samuel Joyce; Elise, Elodie and Brett Schumacher; Bo and Crosley Price.
A private service will be held for the family on Saturday, May 16 at Lawson Miller Chapel. Kathleen was the oldest member of the Eliza Rizley Stacey Chapter – Daughters of the American Revolution. If you so desire, you may send donations in her name to: ERS – DAR, 10988 N. Kennedy Crossing Road, Brazil, IN 47834.