Katharine Bissell Seeley
August 30, 1922 – April 5, 2019
Kate Seeley passed away peacefully from natural causes on April 5, 2019, at the age of 96. She led a full and happy life. She graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Art from the University of North Carolina. She then enlisted in the Navy, where she served for three years as a Communications Officer in Washington, DC during World War II, achieving the rank of Lieutenant (J.G.). Kate married Mervil John Seeley in 1947, and they enjoyed a wonderful marriage for almost fifty years until his death in 1995 from pancreatic cancer. Kate herself was a survivor of breast cancer for over 45 years.
In Kate’s own words, from a recent art show biography:
“After leaving the Navy, I studied occupational therapy at the Graduate School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. At the age of 25 (that was old to get married in those days), I married my husband, Merv, a family friend I had known for years. We had three daughters—all over 6’ tall! Over 23 years as we were raising our family, I taught art in high school and some college in 5 different states. My husband was a Civil Engineer, and when the schools or roads or bridges were finished, we moved on. Our whole family was quite athletic when young and true fans of all sports as we grew older.
“I have specialized in watercolor painting for many years. I’m fortunate to have my paintings hanging in several states in the United States, as well as in Europe, and a few in Asia. In recent years, I have taken up Zentangles—a spontaneous, creative art form involving pen and ink. A few years ago, I was blessed to become part of a small group called Artemis—women military veterans focused on using our art as an outlet for expression and growth.
“I have been committed to church service throughout my adult years. I served as Elder and Deacon at Sandy Springs Christian Church and as Moderator at Brookhaven Christian Church in Georgia. I was a member of the National Council of Churches USA, as the women’s representative for the Christian Church USA (Disciples of Christ).
“It has been a great life—many valleys and many mountaintops. God has truly been faithful. My life would be nothing without Him. Among many other blessings, He has given my body one terrific miracle (I’m still here today!). I thank God for having had a wonderful husband, three beautiful daughters, four beautiful granddaughters, and seven great-grandchildren. And I thank Him for always being with me through this life.”
In her later years, Kate was closely connected to three communities. She was an active member of Unity Church of the Hills, where her interactions included participating in Zentangles classes, as well as a song-writing group and various spiritual growth activities. Her many friends of all ages at Unity remember her smiles and jokes with them, as well as her loving outreach to both those she knew and those she didn’t. She considerably enjoyed being part of the Artemis group she notes above, interacting around art with women who have served or are serving in the military. She was by far the oldest member of the group, and she both learned from and enjoyed sharing her experiences and expertise with her Artemis women friends. Finally, she was happy to be living at Parsons House for the last several years. The Parsons House staff and residents have been an important part of Kate’s life, with the management hosting an art show at Parsons House for the Artemis group and supporting their ongoing meetings and get-togethers.
Kate was passionately patriotic. She always got a thrill from seeing the American flag flying high in the wind, and she loved wearing red, white, and blue on every holiday. She became an avid Texas Longhorn fan from the moment she moved to Austin in 2006. Friends enjoyed seeing her in her burnt orange attire after every game, and she chose to decorate her apartment at Parsons House wall to wall in UT orange, much like a college freshman. Kate was particularly drawn to the majesty and beauty of eagles. She created many wonderful paintings of eagles and other birds of prey. Much of her art, and her life, was also inspired by an immense respect for, appreciation of, and connection to Native American life, values, and themes.
Kate and Merv are survived by three daughters: Cathy Lynn Seeley, Patricia Carol Seeley (and her husband, Gary S. Charlson), and Janet Seeley Blouin (and her husband, Michael R. Blouin III). They have four granddaughters: Dawn Rebecca Marsh (and her husband, Nathan Marsh), Kelly Peeler (and her husband James Peeler), Miranda Jean Peavler (and her fiancé Josh Mueller), and Morgan Blouin Mayer (and her husband Chris Mayer). Kate and Merv also have seven great-grandchildren: Hanna Lynn Martinez, James Andrew Dornwell, Jr., Christian James Martinez, Blake Daniel Giddens, Maisey Dawn Peavler, Hailey Ann Giddens, and Braxton Alexander Marsh.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Unity Church of the Hills, www.unityhills.org, the Lustgarten Foundation, www.lustgarten.org, or a charity of your choice.
A celebration of Kate’s life will be held at Unity Church of the Hills, 9905 Anderson Mill Rd, Austin, Texas, at 11 am, April 11, 2019, followed by an informal reception at the church.
- Celebration of Life Thursday, April 11, 2019
Katharine Bissell Seeley
Janice Johnson Hume
April 16, 2019
During the late 1980’s and early 90’s, I was part-time associate minister at Brookhaven Christian. Knowing Kate and Merv was a delight. I have two of her water colors. One of them was done from a photo of my grandparents’ barn. Thank you for putting the notice in the AJC obituaries. I shared the link with the current Sandy Springs Christian Church minister and with a few of the Brookhaven folks. We are all so grateful to have known Kate. Also, it is good to know how full her life has been in Texas.
Ken and Sharon Livers
April 10, 2019
Ken and I loved picking this Chatty Cathy up on Sunday mornings for church, I so enjoyed her each time we made a trip to the doctors, we both loved taking her to lunch and the precious gift of her friendship! She was an amazing woman, great encourager, and always up for adventure!