1945 - 2018
At sunrise on Saturday May 12, 2018, Kathy passed away in the presence of her daughters at the Civic Hospital, where she began her nursing career. It was the end of a seemingly endless series of issues in recent years from which she always seemed to recover as if by magic. Despite numerous medical problems she remained an active, energetic and effective Trustee of the Ottawa Catholic School Board. Community service and involvement were the core of her being. Her unwavering focus was on the individuals she cared for and served; be they family, patients, students or anyone else who needed help or an advocate. She was a determined, but thoughtful, kind and creative gift to us all.
Kathy was born and raised in Saint John, NB, daughter of the late Kay (nee Daley) and Phillip Frederick Connell. Kathy graduated from St. Joseph's School of Nursing in 1966 before coming to Ottawa but she retained close relations over the years with her many childhood friends. She is predeceased by her brother Michael and survived by her aunt Mary (William) Leahy. She is survived by her husband Richard of 47 years and their children: Suzanne (Todd), Stephen (Jessica) and Shannon. Grandchildren, on whom she doted, include: Brendan, Grace, Kalli, Makena, Isobel, Amelia, Conor and Daniel. She is also survived by sisters: Colleen (the late David), Susan (Jim), Anne (Larry), Mary (the late Doug), Ellen (Peter). Then there are the oodles of cousins, nephews, nieces and others that make up our beautiful extended family.
Kathy's professional life as a nurse and her involvement in Catholic education and community affairs overlapped. Most of her years as a nurse were spent in Family Practice with Trevor, Peter and Cheryl in the Riverside Mall making sure that patients got seen when they needed to be and smoothing the way to follow-up treatments - she could be very persuasive. At the same time she became heavily involved in Parent - Teacher activities when our children were at Holy Family School, where she loved to organize dances, fairs and became increasingly interested in educational issues. That led to increasing involvement in Board-related activities and ultimately to election to the Board which she served for 27 years, including serving on most Board committees, serving as both Vice-Chair and Chairperson. Her strength lay in dealing with every problem quickly, referring callers to the relevant people and always following up to see if and how issues were handled. She made herself accessible and went to schools and events to know what was going on and what was needed. She was particularly proud of receiving the Catholic Trustee Award of Merit.
Kathy at one time or another seemed to have been involved in most important Community organizations. She has served at various times as President of the Hunt Club Community Association, Vice-Chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board, and President of the Family Practice Nurses Group (Ottawa chapter). She seemed to know everyone and where they fit in life. She could get things done and was energized by the involvement. She wrote monthly columns for the Glebe Report and The OSCAR "Putting Students First" - and she did. Then when the annual Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure came round, she put her full energy into it - paying out of her own pocket when she misplaced donors cheques, which sometimes happened. Sadly such efforts diminished when her health started to fail - usually to be replaced by creative but less energetic alternatives.
Kathy's journey has come to an end. Thanks are due for easing the process.
Thank you Kelly (Andrew), with love. Thanks also to the Renal Transplant Unit at the Riverside Hospital for care and support on the journey. And to Yvette at Shoppers Drug Mart on Walkley Road for confirming or calming the concerns of a knowledgeable and wary nurse dealing with an ever changing flood of medications. Special thanks to Dr. Moulton and the team of physicians and nurses of the Civic NACU, together with those on the 7th Floor in recent weeks, for easing Kathy's passage into a new dawn. Our family appreciates the kind support of the OCSB at this difficult time.
Until quite recently, Kathy knew the phone numbers of dozens of people by heart. Family, friends and those who may or may not have been in her mental telephone number list are invited to pay their respects at the
Kelly Funeral Home, Walkley Chapel
1255 Walkley Rd, Ottawa, ON K1V 6P9
on May 22, 2018 from 2 to 4 & 7 to 9 p.m. Service Wednesday, May 23rd, to Our Lady of the Visitation, 5338 Bank St. (past Findlay Creek)for Mass of Christian funeral at 11 a.m. Interment in Hope Cemetery.
While this is closure, our family would like to preserve the wisps of Kathy's living being so that our children and grandchildren can appreciate the wonder that she was. We would welcome personal memories of her that you would like to share and to that end may enter them in Kathyablett.ca. Of course, the form is up to the giver as the memories are yours and a gift to the family that we truly would value receiving.
Contributions are welcomed to The Kathy Ablett Memorial Nursing and Healthcare Scholarship Fund (www.stmaryshome.com - go to icon canadahelps.org). As well, contributions to Diabetes Canada or the Kidney Foundation of Canada, for which Kathy was an aggressive fund raiser for many years, would also be fitting as would gifts to any charities of your choosing.