Cover photo for Katherine Ann Meyer-Thomas's Obituary
Katherine Ann Meyer-Thomas Profile Photo
1958 Katherine 2021

Katherine Ann Meyer-Thomas

January 20, 1958 — April 27, 2021

Katherine Ann Meyer-Thomas, 63, passed away on April 27, 2021 at Luther Memorial Home in Mayville, North Dakota, under the care of staff and Hospice of the Red River Valley.

   Kathy was born on January 20, 1958 in Mayville to parents Alvin and Helen Meyer and graduated from Mayville-Portland High School in 1976. She went on to graduate from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota in 1980, majoring in Biology and Math, and completed a Master’s Degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation at South Dakota State University in 1981.

   As a child, Kathy helped work at the Dairy Queen that her parents owned, learned to play the piano and became enthralled with sports. She became an accomplished athlete in several sports, including softball, volleyball and basketball, and helped the May-Port basketball team win the State Championship title her senior year. She loved watching her father coach baseball, and spent hours discussing the game and all of it’s strategies with her dad. While at Concordia, Kathy played volleyball and basketball all four years, and was named to the All-Conference team 3 times in both sports. She was a selfless and enthusiastic leader to her teammates and was loved by all who played with her. Her infectious smile and fun and positive personality drew everyone together, and her hard work and dedication to the team and to her teammates was admired and is still remembered. Kathy was a Minnesota AIAW Division III All State selection all 4 years in basketball, was the AIAW Region 6 pick in 1980, and was named the All-Lutheran Outstanding Athlete in 1979. In 1992, Kathy became the first woman inducted into the Concordia College Hall of Fame, notably holding the record to this day of 750 career rebounds. Coach Folstad said of Kathy during her senior year as a Cobber, “the team can’t win without Kathy Meyer. Kathy was never a big offensive scorer, but instead, preferred to open things up and pass the ball to others so they could score, and she played great defense.” Kathy’s method of playing said a lot about her character and kindness to others.

   In 1981, Kathy accepted a position at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, teaching Physical Education and Adaptive PE. She also coached the women’s volleyball and basketball teams. While at Wartburg, she was also involved in the Special Olympics program, and had a special place in her heart for those athletes with Down’s Syndrome. Kathy later worked as a Behavior Disabilities teacher at Cedar Falls High School in Cedar Falls, Iowa. When Kathy wasn’t playing sports you could find her curled up with a good book, playing the piano, going to movies and being the “life of the party” with her magnetic and empathetic personality. She made everyone feel important and was a great personal cheerleader and inspirational force to her friends.

   In May of 1987, Kathy married Dani Thomas, a fellow professor at Wartburg College, and instantly gained two step-daughters, aged 5 and 7. Aside from all of her athletic accomplishments, Kathy’s daughter and step-daughters state that her greatest accomplishment was as a devoted and loving mother and step-mother to the three of them. Kathy poured all of her energy into raising them, and never missed a sports competition, swim meet, school performance or band concert they were in. She went “above and beyond” planning family vacations and road trips, and made holidays and birthdays extra special, creating memorable games to play and baking special frosted character cakes, long before Pinterest was around to get ideas from. Kathy shared her lifelong love of sports with her girls and instilled in them her philosophy that once you have committed to something, you do not quit. Kathy was a gifted conversationalist who wasn’t scared to talk to anyone. She could easily turn those chats into life lessons, by asking probing and caring questions to get to the heart of things. She didn’t stick to “small talk” and all of her friends, her children and their friends turned to her for advice and knew she could be trusted with their problems. Kathy was a “tomboy” through and through – never caring about makeup or clothes, preferring to be comfortable.

   In 1996 Kathy underwent brain surgery to remove a cancerous growth and as a result, became disabled. Kathy returned to live with her mother in Mayville after her divorce in 2006, and enjoyed playing pinochle with friends, eating at Pizza Hut and enjoying her favorite meal at Red Lobster. Kathy moved into the Good Samaritan Assisted Living Facility in Fargo, North Dakota in 2008, moved to the Arthur, North Dakota facility in 2012, and in 2016 returned to Mayville to live at Luther Memorial Home until her passing. No matter what Kathy was facing in the last 15 years of her life, she did it without complaint. She continued to project a positive, loving and fun personality and held on to her faith. She was a favorite among staff and fellow residents alike - always willing to help where she could and to offer a kind word or humorous story. Kathy’s spirit will long live on in the memories of friends and family, but she will be sorely missed.

   Survivors include her daughter Jordan Thomas, Los Angeles, CA, stepdaughter Heather Thomas (Jason Echols) and grandchildren, Lillian and Gavin, Wethersfield, CT, stepdaughter, Alison (Cody) Ross, North Port, FL, sister, Patty (Bob) Aasen, Big Lake, MN, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Kathy was preceded in death by her parents, Alvin and Helen Meyer, and sister, Pamela Lerfald.

   Memorials are preferred to the Concordia College Women’s Basketball Summer Camp Program, c/o Concordia College, Advancement Office, 901 8th St. S., Moorhead, MN 56562. Cards may be mailed to Baker Funeral Home, 38 1st Ave NW, Mayville, ND 58257 to be delivered to the family.

    A public graveside memorial service will be held at 2 PM on August 27, 2021 at the Mayville Cemetery.

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