April 16, 1941 – March 22, 2013
Kathy passed away peacefully in the company of her husband on Friday, March 22, 2013, from pancreatic cancer. She enjoyed life to the fullest from the time of her diagnosis in December 2011 until the onset of her final days in February 2013.
Kathy was born April 16, 1941 in Trenton, New Jersey, the daughter of Elizabeth and Ted Riedmiller. She grew up in Eureka, California, where she was an active member of First Presbyterian Church and sang in its choir. She graduated from Eureka High School and Humboldt State University with a BA in Economics and a minor in Political Science.
A pivotal experience in Kathy’s life was her service in the Peace Corps from 1965 to 1967 in Luleburgaz, Turkey, where she taught English to 60-student classes, and to adults in night classes. She maintained heartfelt ties with many of her Turkish friends all through her life. In 2009 Kathy returned to Luleburgaz where she introduced her family to her old friends and spoke at an assembly of today’s English students at her old school.
In 1968 she moved to Sacramento, where she worked for the California Employment Development Department and the Center for Health Statistics of the Health Services Department. She was the principal author of the landmark California Occupational Mortality Study (COMS) Report.
She joined Westminster Presbyterian Church and was a 45-year member there, serving as elder, deacon, choir member, Mission Chair, and member of the Sanctuary Renewal Committee. In 1976 she married her best friend, Doug Griebner, in the sanctuary she helped renovate. Doug had served in the USAF in Turkey and had studied Turkish at the Monterey Language School, and when they met they figured God was trying to tell them something! Their son, Matthew, was born in 1981, and Kathy enjoyed making costumes for Halloween for him, and for children’s musical productions at Westminster. In 1987 they designed their own home with an eye to entertaining friends and cooking, especially for their legendary Christmas Open Houses.
Kathy loved tutoring children at Alice Birney School, and non-English-speaking adults at Belle Cooledge Library. She, Doug and Matt hosted foreign visitors from many lands through the Council for International Visitors. She was a long time member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, whose company she came to regard as family. She enjoyed learning and reading her entire life, and was rarely seen without a book or three. Her intelligence, compassion, integrity, thoughtfulness and devotion to others, keen insight, and passionate sense of Justice were hallmarks of her entire life. She will be sorely missed.
Kathy is survived by her husband and soulmate, Doug Griebner, her beloved son, Matthew Griebner, of Kirkland, WA, her brother and sister-in-law Doug and Fran Riedmiller of Rio Vista, her niece Ann Riedmiller and Ann’s son Jonathan, niece Linda Mensonides, her husband John, and their children Sydney and Emily of Turlock, her cousin Nancy Kuncis of Winter Park, Florida, and several other cousins.
Kathy’s family would like to express their gratitude to all the members of the Kaiser South Sacramento medical staff who cared for her during her illness. These include, but are certainly not limited to, Drs. Steven Ferronato, Gerald Kohn, Angela Anantharaj, the staff of the Emergency and Oncology Departments, Volunteer Fran Tatro and the incredible Hospice personnel, all of whom guided us through Kathy’s illness to a peaceful and pain-free passing.
Kathy felt richly blessed by her life experiences and many friends. A memorial service will held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1300 N Street, Sacramento, on Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 2 PM. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Westminster Presbyterian Church Deacon, Mission, Music, or Youth Funds, the Sacramento Food Bank, Loaves and Fishes, Francis House or any cause to which the Spirit moves you and of which you think Kathy would approve.