Katherine M. Strunk was given the gift of life on January 6th, 1929 and gave it back on May 7th, 2015 at the young age of 86. For those who had the opportunity to know her knew that she was a woman of passion, strength, and adventure. Katherine was a renaissance woman who loved to change things up & reinvent herself every decade just because she could and lived by the philosophy of “why not”!
Born in McCreary County during the Great Depression of 1929 to Howard and Ruby Moore, Katherine learned to “work with what you have” and appreciate eating beans and taters for most meals. Even though living during the Great Depression, Katherine was able to quench her thirst of knowledge by devouring books and newspapers as they crossed her path.
At the age 19, Katherine found herself with a son, John Carrol Marcum and an opportunity to feed the “knowledge void” so she took her mother’s “hand up” and enrolled at Berea College. Over the years, teaching and going to school was a constant in Katherine’s everyday life which led her to Ohio and Indiana. She received her Master’s Degree from Miami University of Ohio and the rest is teaching history. The love of teaching kept her away from McCreary County but retirement brought her back to open her up to the next season of her life.
Unbeknownst to Katherine, love was going to be knocking at her door after returning home and Morris Strunk was going to be the one knocking. As children both Katherine and Morris were acquaintances but nothing more until both reached retirement and returned to McCreary County. This is a love affair that would take pages upon pages to cover but the short version of their “love story” is that love knows no age limit and distance cannot keep your soulmate from finding you. Katherine always said, “Without Morris, I would have been nothing.” Morris was able to speak to the greatness inside Katherine and silence all her fears. What once was an introverted woman became a budding butterfly to a community that loved both her and Morris.
After marrying Morris Strunk, Katherine became involved in many organizations within the community such as the Chamber of Commerce Board, Blazin’ Bluegrass Committee, Tourism Board, Job Corps Community Relations Committee, USP McCreary Community Relations Committee and one of Katherine’s proud achievements was being named Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. After Morris’ passing Katherine established the “Morris and Katherine Strunk Scholarship” to enable young folks the ability to go to college. Education was important to both Katherine and Morris and this was a way to keep Morris’ memory alive.
Retirement was just a word in which Katherine did not adhere to and being an “activist” in the community is what fueled her passion. At the age of 83, Katherine endeavored with fulfilling a life-long desire to build a retirement village called Edge Wood Acres. A sign on Hwy 27 that will stand out as you head south…a sign in which it represents, “anything is possible.” Katherine’s final wish was to build one last house but in reality she was preparing to go to her mansion in heaven.
Katherine is survived by her only son John Carrol Marcum and cousin Betty Cordell Olson. Besides her parents and husband, she is preceded in death by a brother William Gene Moore.
Funeral arrangements are provided by Pine Knot Funeral Home. The funeral service will be held on Saturday, May 9th at 8:00 p.m. at Pine Knot Funeral Home and Katherine will be laid to rest at Carson Memorial Garden in Oneida, Tennessee.