OREGON – Kathy Lynn (Hilliard) Colbert, 63, of Oregon, passed away Jan. 4 at the UW Madison Hospital. She died a peaceful and contented death with family by her side, six months after being diagnosed with cancer.
Kathy was born Sept. 14, 1956 in Rockford, the daughter of Richard and Delores Hilliard. She grew up in Holcomb, before moving to Carbondale, Colorado, where she graduated from high school. It was there she developed a life-long appreciation of mountains and inklings of being a grade-school teacher.
In her first semester at Kishwaukee College in 1976, she met her future husband Andy Colbert. The two were married on March 31, 1979 at Elim Reformed Church in Kings.
A son and daughter were soon born and Kathy interrupted her studies to stay home to raise her children. In 1988 she graduated from NIU with a degree in teaching, making her mother and father very proud. Later she would obtain a master’s degree.
Her first elementary teaching job was at Ashton for a year, followed by stints at Rahn Elementary in Mt. Morris and Etnyre Middle School in Oregon.
Kathy’s favorite subject to teach was history, with math her least favorite. School kids were her first love, as borne out by the wide number that consider “Mrs. Colbert” their favorite teacher.
Kathy especially appreciated the relationship with fellow grade-school teachers and they appreciated her quiet manner and willingness to take on any project.
She was also grateful for all the support and help offered by the retired teaching community in her time of need.
Kathy favorite past-times were reading and watching football on TV. She was also noted as a quilter and home decorator.
Her greatest joy was spending time with twin 6-year old granddaughters. On her very own, Kathy relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah two years ago to be with them. She stayed for six months before returning to Oregon.
She is survived by her husband Andy of Oregon, son Blair Colbert of Salt Lake City, daughter Jorie (Carlton) Getz of Salt Lake City, grandchildren Alexandra and Liliya Getz, father Dick Hilliard of King, Wis., brother Rich Hilliard of Tampa, Fla., brother Rob Hilliard of Tomah Wis., mother-in-law Bobbie Colbert of Rochelle, brother-in-laws Bo (Cindy) Colbert of North Carolina and Tony (Catherine) Colbert of Wyoming, sister-in-laws Jodi (Brett) Kemp of Montana and Suzie Colbert of Virginia.
She was preceded in death by her mother Delores.
The visitation will be from 4-7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 13 at Farrell-Holland-Gale Funeral Home, 110 Seventh St., Oregon. The funeral will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 14, also at the funeral home with Pastor Chris Bradshaw of Crossroads Community Church of Polo officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Kathy’s name to the Oregon Educational Foundation. Cremation care has been provided by Farrell-Holland-Gale, with the ashes to be scattered over the mountains of Salt Lake City by request of the deceased.