Kathryn (Kathy) Howell Willis passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by family and close friends on Saturday June 15, 2019 after a courageous battle with cancer. She was a faithful member of All Saints Anglican Church.
In addition to her career as a wife, mother, homemaker and care giver for elderly parents, Kathy had two enduring passions, Republican politics and quilting. She served as Henderson County Vice Chairman, Chairman and Chairman of the NC eleventh district congressional Committee. When she started there were no Republican majority counties in the Congressional District. In 1984 serving as vice chair she orchestrated and managed the registration drives and club originations that converted Henderson county to majority Republican. During her tenure as 11thdistrict chair she added Graham, Transylvania, Macon, Clay and Cherokee Counties to the Republican majority column. She managed Congressional campaigns including Charles Taylor’s ’90 campaign that unseated the incumbent Democrat and his successful ’92 reelection campaign, which overcame a formidable gerrymandering challenge by the Democrats. As an intensely patriotic American this was her way of translating her beliefs into action.
Kathy’s career as a quilter extraordinaire began as a young girl when she bought a sewing machine and her dad taught her how to use it. She began quilting in 1976 when quilting came back into fashion. Her first classes were with Georgia Bonesteel, and after a few years Kathy began teaching. Her amazing organizational skills were helpful with the founding of the WNC Quilters Guild. She attended and led many quilting seminars with friends over the next 40 years. She was always happy being with her close friends, the Cover Lovers who have quilted together every other Wednesday for 38 years.
Kathy was always generous with her time, talents, fabrics, books and anything that was needed for a quilting project including her beautiful studio.
A new generation of quilters began because of Kathy’s devotion to teaching young people the art of quilting.
She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Candler, sister Judy (Carroll) Turner, and her two daughters, Maybre (Jon) Grunow and Amy (Seth) Peyton and six grandchildren, (Zachary, Lucas and John Candler Grunow, Kathryn, Meredith and Hannah Peyton).
Following Kathy’s wishes donations to the American Cancer Society, Trousdale School in Chattanooga, TN or Autism Awareness are requested in lieu of flowers. Services are to be held at All Saints Anglican Church, 11 AM Tuesday June 25, 2019.
Condolence cards may be sent to the family at www.jacksonfuneralservice.comor PO Box 945, Hendersonville, NC 28793.