Friday, February 18, 2011

Kathy Jordan: the Life, Legacy, and Laughter

     Mary Kathryn (Kathy) Jordan, 60, died on Thursday, February 3, 2011 at home.  My family and I first met Kathy and her husband Tom Jordan the year we moved to Richmond for the first time and I was entering fifth grade at St. Mary’s School where their daughter Julie attended. Kathy was one of the parent volunteers who kept the school running back in the day.
     God works in mysterious ways. My senior year of high school I got stuck with the same math teacher I’d had my freshman year. Knowing that she wasn’t big on actually teaching the material, I found a tutor to help me get through the year without pulling my hair out. This kind, gentle woman lived around the corner from Kathy Jordan. When I found out that Kathy had been diagnosed with a serious illness, I began making cards and bringing little gifts to put in her mailbox each week when I finished with my tutoring sessions. I never signed my name or gave any hints about who I was.
     I had a lot of fun making cards and little care packages of prayers, encouragement, things to make her laugh, good books to read, etc. each week. It wasn’t until I was about to leave for the summer then go off to college that I finally revealed who her “secret friend” had been. She invited my mom, a few other friends, and me over for lunch one day. She gave me a card, a white and gold heart-shaped basket that held a stuffed white and gold angel doll. She also included in it an inspirational calendar with a reflection for each day. When getting out of the car after lunch, the little calendar dropped to the ground and fell open to a page that referred to daily angels among us.
     Kathy and my mom’s best friend Renee threw me a bridal shower that was a lot of fun! Kathy collected each and every bow, ribbon, trim from the gifts I opened and used it to create a hat I was made to wear for the rest of the party. She was so insistent about getting every one of the bows that she was aptly named the “bow nazi.”
     I’ll always remember Kathy and Tom’s famous Christmas Eve Eve parties. Since Tom usually sang with the choir for Christmas Eve Mass, they’d have a party the day before Christmas Eve and invite their nearest and dearest over for some delicious hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and some Irish coffee. Kathy was often wearing something festive for the occasion, such as her reindeer antler headband. She had a wonderful way of making people feel warm, welcomed, and loved. Kathy was also great at making people laugh. With the stories she told and the situations she got herself into, there was rarely a visit when she didn’t have some hilarious account to give us.
     Though my husband Kevin was deemed the Patron Saint of Boyfriends when we were dating; Kathy had already claimed the Patron Saint of Husbands title for her husband Tom.

     Kathy taught me many things about faith and life. Among my favorite lessons are:

1. Animals can be entertaining (particularly albino squirrels and two yappy little dogs).
2. It’s important to spend time with friends.
3. Throw parties, light the candles, eat yummy food, and use the good china and goldware.
4. Outrageous headbands, jewelry, and clothing can make things much more fun.
5. Make time for arts and crafts.
6. Never lose your sense of humor.
7. Don’t worry what the neighbors think, even if they’re right.
8. Everyone’s family is dysfunctional to some degree.
9. God’s love is never ending.
10. Pray always, God’s listening.

     A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 19, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.  The family requests that expressions of sympathy in the form of contributions be made to Little Sisters of the Poor, 1503 Michaels Rd., Richmond, Va. 23229.
     Lord, thank You for the love and laughter You brought through Kathy. May she finally rest in peace. Amen.
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