Katherine Joanne Layden, 67, of Oakwood, Ill., passed away at 8:40 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Ill.
She was born Sept. 22, 1949, in Danville, the daughter of Max and Winifred (Houldridge) Thomas.
She married her grade school and high school sweetheart, Steve Layden, upon college graduation on Aug. 21, 1971. He survives in Oakwood.
She is survived by one daughter, Abbie (Ryan) Layden-Rogiers of St. Joseph; one son, Matthew Layden of Oakwood; one brother, Steve Thomas of Missoula, Mont.; five grandchildren, Raenen Pettit, Ollie Pettit, Taddy Pettit, Yelka Layden and Avè Pettit; two honorary grandchildren, Allison Mann and Christopher Mann; two godchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her father, Max Thomas.
Katherine obtained a bachelor's degree of education from Illinois State University in Bloomington. After college, she taught fourth grade at Honeywell School in Hoopeston for four years and later taught first grade at Heritage Grade School until her retirement.
She was very active in volunteering her time in her church community, helping with vacation Bible school, teaching Sunday school and was a nursery volunteer. Katherine also volunteered at the Danville Boys and Girls Club and helped with the annual cleanup at Lincoln Park and Kickapoo State Park.
Her experience as a grade school and high school cheerleader carried on throughout her life and she enjoyed watching all the sporting events that Steve, Matt and Abbie participated in. She was of course the No. 1 fan for all of her grandchildren and they were always her No. 1 love and concern. She enjoyed vacationing with her children and grandchildren, and took trips to Florida with her grandkids every year since they've been born.
Her most cherished moments were spent reading stories, singing songs and playing silly games with her grandkids. All who were fortune enough to know Katherine appreciated her sweet, kind, gentle, loving persona.
Cremation rites will be accorded and a visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, at old Rossville Grade School gym, 351 N. Chicago St., Rossville. A memorial service will be at noon Friday, Oct. 28, at the family lakeside property, 21 Ayrshire Court, Oakwood, with Rev. Christopher A. Layden and Pastor Tony Thomas officiating. A private burial will be held by the family.
In lieu of bouquets, the family requests perennial plants or memorials be made to Rossville Grade School Library, 350 N. Chicago St., Rossville, IL 60963.
Please visit www.anderson-funeral-home.com to view Katherine's eternal tribute page and to send the family condolences. Anderson Funeral Home in Hoopeston is handling the arrangements.
Published on  October 25, 2016