OBITUARY

Kathi Lee Weldin

June 2, 1957December 19, 2020

Kathi Lee Weldin passed away in Longmont, CO on December 19, 2020, at the age of 63 after contracting COVID-19. Kathi was born in Long Beach, CA on June 2, 1957, to Lee and Caroline (Ridgeway) Weldin, and was the second born of five girls. She was preceded in death by her mother, Caroline, and her nephew, Jeffery Giles. Kathi is survived by her father, Lee Weldin, four sisters: Teri Salerno (Tony), Nancy Kuhlman (Keith), Vicki Weibel (Curt), and Wendy Ickes (Ed), three uncles: Ralph Ridgeway, Terry Ridgeway, and Robert Bonar, and three aunts: Virginia Askew, Jeanette Aguilar and Judi Darnold. Kathi is also survived by six nieces and nephews: Jamie Giles (Jason), Lauren Gundy (Guthrie), Nick McDougall, Faith Weibel, Anna Weibel, and Jeremiah Allen, plus five great nieces and nephews: Elissa Giles, Jacob Stewart, Joey Stewart, JJ Stewart and Carter Gundy. Additionally, Kathi was blessed by Poppy Helgren, of Hendersen, NV, with 52 years of true friendship.

Kathi spent her early years growing up in southern California until her family moved briefly to Nevada in 1972 and then finally to Colorado in 1973. Kathi graduated from Golden High School in 1976. The Weldin family moved again in 1982, settling in Estes Park.

Kathi was a very special soul. She was born with schizophrenia and this mental illness colored every aspect of her life. Kathi lived at home with her parents for nearly all of her days, until the age of 58. She moved in early 2016 to Collinwood, an assisted living facility in Ft. Collins. Her final residence was Applewood Living Center, a skilled nursing home in Longmont, Colorado.

All who knew Kathi loved her generous spirit and kind heart. Kathi lived for the mail, and loved writing and receiving letters - it was the highlight of her day. Kathi sent letters to everyone who wrote to her and her cards were filled with gratitude and kindness. Kathi also loved to count her money. Family and friends frequently sent her mail with stickers, pictures … and often small amounts of cash. Kathi loved money, but her love for money was born from her desire to give people gifts. She loved to go shopping to buy presents for others. There was also another reason she loved to shop, and that was to buy candy for herself. Kathi especially loved chocolate and she ate it every chance she got! A funny thing Kathi would always say when we were planning to have a meal was, “I am not hungry, but I’ll eat” …and she always did! There was always room for dessert too, chocolate or not.

Kathi taught us about faith and what it truly means to never give up. Kathi always believed that one day she would be cured of her illness, and no one ever put a damper on the dream she held so dear. Her entire life she would announce how old she would be when the world would discover a cure for schizophrenia … only to have to keep moving the time to an older age! She never gave up on getting well. All who loved her told her when she died, her spirit would be free of schizophrenia, but Kathi thought she could postpone death, beat the odds, and told her family she was going to live to be 200! There was no convincing her otherwise, in spite of reminding her what living to 100 looked like. Kathi’s spirited nature and strong will was always apparent to those who knew her.

Sometimes that spirit taught us about patience and humility too. One time while at a garage sale with one of her sisters, Kathi found something she wanted to buy. The owner kindly told her that she could have the item for free and Kathi refused. She insisted on paying the woman because it was “the right thing to do” and proceeded to make everyone wait while she paid her in pennies – counting them one at a time!

Kathi loved music and was usually able to tell us the name of the performing artist or band on the radio. She also was the one in the family who could remember many details about our past (sometimes things we wanted to forget!), but Kathi had the “elephant’s memory” we could always count on. Kathi loved animals too, and cared for her various pet cats throughout her life. Kathi would also often surprise us with some wit and wisdom we called “Kathi-isms”, saying such gems as, “I have a brain, but unfortunately, it is a nutty one!” and “You know … you just have to know what you know. You don’t have to think about it, you just know it!” Kathi also expressed delusions of grandeur and would tell us she was “the prettiest girl … or the funniest, the smartest, the most generous, or the nicest person in the whole wide world!”, and of course we would agree with her each time.

Kathi’s niece, Lauren Gundy, sums up our feelings about Kathi. “If a person’s life could be defined by selflessness, kindness, strong faith and the ability to teach profound lessons, Kathi’s would be. Our family has a big hole through our collective heart right now without her. Knowing her was definitely one of the greatest joys and true gifts of my life. She taught me truths that will travel with me through my entire lifetime. Kathi was sweet and feisty, having an ability to interject funny phrases with the perfect comedic timing. She was always hopeful for the future and for herself, all while having a difficult load to carry. May she rest in the most beautiful paradise, be free from a heavy mind, and know that she truly was loved by so many people. I love picturing the image of her dancing with the angels to all of her favorite songs. Maybe send a hand-written note to someone you love in her honor. I know my mailbox will never feel quite the same without my cherished “Kathi Letters”. Be free and may your spirit be lifted with love, Aunt Kathi. You’ll always be ‘the smartest girl we know’.”

Kathi’s family plans to hold a celebration of life for her in 2021.

Memories

Kathi Lee Weldin

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Teri Salerno

December 29, 2020

Kathi and Teri at Kathi's 60th birthday celebration in 2017 at Collinwood Assisted Living in Fort Collins.

Teri Salerno

December 28, 2020

Teri Salerno

December 28, 2020

Teri Salerno

December 28, 2020

Teri Salerno

December 28, 2020

A picture of Kathi from her school days ... she was a beautiful girl!

Teri Salerno

December 28, 2020

This is a funny memory I have with Kathi - this happened about three years ago.
Kathi LOVED candy. One time, while in King Soopers grocery store, Kathi told me all of the candy she was planning to buy. I told her that was not a good idea, and that she could not afford ALL of that candy. (Of course I would have given Kathi the money for anything she needed, but not for candy.) Kathi protested in her stubborn way, quite loudly, and a woman in the next aisle must have heard our discussion. She apparently felt sorry for Kathi not having enough money. The woman walked over to us, and handed Kathi a $20 dollar bill. Kathi's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree, and she must have thanked the woman for five minutes -- with all the sweetness and smiles she could muster!
...so much for me trying to help Kathi eat healthier...

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY