Kathryn Whittle Fuentes (1957 - 2021)
Kathy was born on January 27, 1957 in Evanston IL, the first suburb north of Chicago. On December 17, 2021, like her father and his father before her, Kathy’s heart gave out without warning, and she went home to Jesus. This January, she would have turned 65.
Kathy got her kind, gentle and humorous spirit from her parents Jack (Whittle) and Carol (Kennedy Davis) growing up in Wilmette, IL. She was the first born of five and as their family grew Kathy adored caring for her younger siblings Jim, John, Nancy, and Christine. Kathy had a profound love for her family and friends and treated them each with tremendous amounts of appreciation and respect. With regard to friends, Kathy’s choices mirrored her values. . .she always preferred quality, genuineness, depth, and character over quantity. Kathy thrived on interesting ideas and conversations and always had a story to share. She genuinely loved her friends, would do anything for them, and they meant a lot to her. Every phone conversation ended with a very sincere, “I love you and miss you.”
All of Kathy's loved ones would describe her as hardworking, intelligent, educated, thoughtful, funny, genuine, humble, caring, appreciative, conscientious, self-reliant, independent, and forgiving. She taught her daughter the value of selfless, unconditional love. Kathy shared a deep connection with her husband of 27 years, Raymond Fuentes, with whom she would listen to hours upon hours of music. The legacy of Kathy's kind spirit, passion for music, love of adventure, and zest for life will live on through them.
Kathy was a pioneering “foodie,” long before that word was invented. As a toddler, her first spoken words were not “Mamma” nor “Dadda,” but they took the form of a simple request while sitting in her high chair. . . “salt on?” As a young girl, she starred in a nation-wide Campbell’s Soup TV commercial depicting Kathy coming in from the cold with a big smile to enjoy a nice hot bowl of chicken noodle soup. She loved gourmet pizzas, Mediterranean food, and fresh fish, pulled straight from Monterey Bay. In high school, she and an Armenian American friend used to spend hours making delicious hummus from scratch.
Kathy loved music. As a youngster, on her modern new stereo, she listened to and sang along with albums by the Beatles, Carol King, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, the Mammas and Pappas, and Bob Dylan, among others. Growing up in the Chicago area, she was fortunate to be able to attend live concerts from time to time. Remembering now the lyrics from Kathy’s favorite songs brings new meaning and fat, wet tears. King’s, “It would be so nice to see your face at my door… doesn’t anyone stay in one place any more?” And “It’s too late baby now it’s too late… but we really did try to make it.” Mitchell’s, “Something's lost, but something's gained In living every day. I've looked at life from both sides now, from win and lose and still somehow it’s life's illusions I recall. I really don't know life at all.” And Dylan’s, “Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me. I'm not sleepy and there is no place I'm going to. In the jingle jangle morning, I'll come following you.” As a youngster and teen, Kathy took a few ski trips, which she enjoyed. But that interest ended abruptly and permanently when both she and her sister Nancy came home from a trip to Vail sporting broken legs and shiny new casts!
Kathy attended Utah State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in communication. While studying and living in the beautiful mountains of northern Utah, Kathy gained a love of nature and the outdoors. When she needed a break from the books, she enjoyed camping and fishing with friends. But it was after graduation when she found her true home. . .northern California, where she raised her family and lived the rest of her life. Neither employment nor circumstance initially led Kathy to California. Once she had visited, she deliberately chose to live there, as she loved the area for the natural beauty, serenity, and people. In her twenties, she left California once for a brief period, quickly realized her mistake, and came right back. She never had any desire to leave again. Kathy appreciated all the natural beauty and charm that has been written about so extensively by John Steinbeck and Jack Kerouac, among many others. Here she met and married Ray and together they raised their daughter Jessica. It was her true home.
Kathy was a very conscientious, hard worker. She worked almost her entire life, including several years for Seagate Disk Drives and 17 years as an administrative assistant for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, from where she retired in November of last year. Always dedicated, reliable, and thorough, she poured all her energy into her work, and took pride in all that she had accomplished. In her free time, Kathy loved going to Monterey Bay, feeding the sealions, and picking up freshly-caught fish to grill at home. She enjoyed attending the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Gilroy Garlic Festival, and the Artichoke Festival. But most of all, she enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. . .spending time with family, taking young Jessica to the playground, celebrating with friends, driving along the coast or through the Santa Cruz Mountains, and enjoying the serenity and peace of country living in beautiful Aromas.
Never forgotten but forever missed, Kathy rejoins her beloved father Jack Whittle. She is survived by Ray Fuentes (husband), Jessica Fuentes (daughter), Carol Kennedy Davis (mother), John Whittle (brother), Jim Whittle (brother), Nancy Myers (sister), Christine Moffat (sister), 22 nieces and nephews, several brothers/sisters-in-law, and several good, close friends.
Sadly, Kathy’s heart gave out, but her beautiful spirit lives on in all our hearts, forever.
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