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Kathy's Story

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Kathy Kilgour, 59, passed away in Norman, OK on August 25. Born on July 30, 1958 to Ross and Mildred, she was raised in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada.

In 1977, while attending Ryerson Polytechnic in Toronto, she met her future husband Steve Westrop. They were married in 1981 and, following the path of Steve's academic career, they subsequently lived in Toronto, Ontario; St. John's, Newfoundland; and then St. Catherines, Ontario. Their son David was born 1989; their son Jeff in 1991. In 1998 Kathy and her family moved to Norman, Oklahoma. A few years later, she joined the staff of Norman Public Schools to assist with special needs students, and it was here that she found her professional calling.

Kathy was a bright, talented woman who could have turned her hand to almost any career, but she chose to work with autistic and other children who needed help. She started out as a volunteer at Monroe Elementary while her own children were there. She found that she enjoyed working one-on-one with students, and felt that she could make a real difference in their lives. It was a calling, and she eagerly accepted an opportunity to become an aide in the autism program at Monroe. Over the years working at Monroe, Cleveland, and Lincoln Elementary Schools, at Norman North High School, and most recently at Reagan Elementary, she gained experience and knowledge. But she emphatically did not want to be a certified Special Education teacher. She wanted to work individually with kids; that was her forte, and it was where she could have the most impact on their lives.

Kathy made a point of waving a greeting at every car that entered the school while she was on duty as crossing guard. She was the first person that students and parents saw in the morning, and she wanted to make sure that they were welcomed. Kathy was upbeat, vibrant, and at times radiated energy. She wanted to create a positive, supportive and nurturing environment. She loved the children that she worked with as her own, and she helped many over the years. She was in the classroom at Reagan Elementary School on the day that she passed away, and those who love her take solace in the fact that she died while doing something that she believed in; something that she thought really mattered; something that she was proud to do.

Kathy was always excellent company, full of good humor and peppery observations. Her patience with children did not extend to the foolishness of politicians and the waywardness of power brokers. But her exasperation never took her to the dark side. She was always a source of light, a positive force, a lover of good conversation, of good wine, of nature, and of life. She was happiest outdoors, hiking in the Wichitas or the mountains of New Mexico, or camping on the shores of Lake Erie with family and friends, or simply working in her garden.

Kathy is survived by her husband Steve Westrop, her sons David and Jeff, her sister and brother-in-law Connie Kilgour and Peter Frey, her brother and sister-in-law Marc and Joan Kilgour, and her nieces Valerie and Julia Kilgour.

The family will be receiving friends on Tuesday, Aug 29, 2017 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Havenbrook Funeral Home.
Published on August 28, 2017
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