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Katherine Raper

May 28, 1922 February 24, 2017
Katherine Raper
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Obituary for Katherine Raper

Katherine Raper of Birmingham, Michigan died February 24, 2017 at her home. She was 94 years old. Katherine was born on May 28, 1922 in New Jersey to parents Frances and Fred Aldrich.

Katherine Aldrich Raper was the middle child of Fred and Francis Aldrich of Nashua, Minnesota. Adopted along with her two siblings into a large Irish Catholic family, holidays and summers were spent with cousins at their grandparents lakefront cottage; often sharing that the only way to church in the winter months was everyone bundled up in an open sleigh. Katherine developed a love for piano and violin which was fostered by her mother, a music teacher, who would often take her children, via train, to the symphony in Minneapolis. Her family was grounded in their parish, supporting educational, music and spiritual needs for many years.

Katherine pursued a degree in education at the University of Iowa where she met her husband, Garland. They were married and lived in Colorado after WWII, where their son, Dennis was born. A few months later a job offer in Alaska took them to Anchorage, where their daughter, Patricia was born. There were many stories about their experiences living in the one of the last rugged territories, including moose running in the main street, charging cars and peeking into windows! Not her favorite place. Another job offer brought them back to the mainland eventually settling in Jackson, Michigan. Katherine, in addition to caring for her family, taught kindergarten for many years, later returning to school to earn her second master’s degree to teach secondary math. She continued to pursue her love of music as well as playing bridge, reading, following politics, traveling and enjoying her dog and gardens. Later caring for her loving husband in their home after having suffered a stroke Katherine never wavered in her dedication and love in caring for her husband as well as her son until their passing.

Katherine and Garland continued to generously support those schools that enabled them to pursue their dreams as well as instilling a social consciousness in giving back.

Later moving to Birmingham to be closer to family, Katherine loved the opportunity to be free to walk into town to enjoy the library, church, playing bridge and volunteering at the Community House. She continued to enjoy European cruises and traveling to Palm Springs. The last two years, with her mobility and eye sight limited, Katherine could still hold her own in Jeopardy, loved politics, enjoyed family gatherings, weekly Dinner and a Movie or Antiques Roadshow night with family.

Katherine is survived by her loving daughter, Patricia (Bob) Gervason and her cherished grandchildren, Lauren (Adam) Kochenderfer and Joe Gervason. She is also survived by her great-grandchildren, Claire and Elise Kochenderfer. Katherine is preceded in death by her beloved husband of 43 years, Garland Raper and her son, Dennis C. Raper.

Visitation will be held at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 1368 N. Crooks Road (between 14-15 Mile Rds.), on Thursday 4-7pm. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Holy Name Catholic Church, 630 Harmon, Birmingham, Friday at 10am. Friends may visit at church beginning at 9:30am.

Memorials appreciated to the charity of donor’s choice.


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