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Life Story / Obituary
Catherine to her parents and brothers, but Katie to everyone else, passed away April 8, 2019 in Kalamazoo. Katie was born February 16, 1924 in Buchanan, Michigan. She grew up on the family farm in Decatur, was the third of four children and the only girl of Harry and Bessie Miltenberger. The benefits of farm life insulated her family from the challenges of the depression, and while farm life was hard work, it created her lasting work ethic.
After attending a one room schoolhouse, Katie moved into Decatur to complete her High school education. After graduating at the age of 17, she moved to the big city of Kalamazoo where she worked as a waitress at Holly’s Restaurant while attending Mahr’s Business School. A job in the tax auditing department at The Upjohn Company was her first real job and It was the “Company” that she would ultimately return to after raising her family, retiring in 1984.
Soon after coming to Kalamazoo, she met Jack Robyn. On August 23, 1944, while Jack was on furlough and about to leave for WWII Europe, they were married. Moving to Westwood in 1949, they lived on Ferndale Avenue, where for over 50 years they kept every friend they made. Saturday mornings would find many of the neighborhood friends around their dining room table having coffee and attempting to solve the problems of the day. Those friendships were important and lasted a lifetime. Through the years, memorable times were filled with family, friends, holiday celebrations, bowling, card games, time spent at the Cabin on the Pere Marquette River and travel tours with friends.
In recent years, Katie often seemed surprised when reminded of her age, but just as often, she found humor in the goal of reaching 100. She didn’t have any regrets about her life and often said, she wouldn’t change a thing. Those who loved and knew her most would agree. Katie will be remembered fondly for being cheerful, curious and a good sport about being teased. She left her family knowing that she loved them.
Catherine (Katie) Robyn, age 95, of Kalamazoo died April 8, 2019. She is survived by her two children: Jill Jean (Charlie Merrill) of Bainbridge Island, Washington and Ron (Karen Robyn) of Kalamazoo. She was the proud grandmother of two granddaughters: Emilie Ofiara and Marielle (Kyle) Bishop; great grandmother to June Catherine Ofiara, Maya Eileen and Blake Jackson Bishop; and aunt to Jon (Annette) Pellowe, Julie (Mike) Clancy and numerous other nieces and nephews. Katie was preceded in death by her loving husband Jack, her parents, brothers and other extended family members. A private memorial service and burial will take place at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or the Alzheimer’s Association.
The family would like to thank the staff of Park Village Pines, The Heritage Community, Hospice of Southwest Michigan and Dr. Mark Schauer for the care and support that was given to our mother over the years. Their dedication and friendship made a wonderful difference in her life.