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Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017 12:00 am

Spread love everywhere you go

ALFREDA “FREDA” “ALLIE” KATAUSKI: Oct. 25, 1925 - April 15, 2017

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She was a ray of sunshine whose sparkling eyes never met a stranger. My mom, Alfreda “Freda” “Allie” Katauski – a timeless beauty with a heart of gold and passion for fun.

Growing up in Gillespie, she was the first grandchild and only granddaughter and niece for many years, making her quite spoiled by her extended family. She was, understandably, everyone’s favorite. It was always entertaining to hear the stories of Mom’s youth in Gillespie, surrounded by so many aunts, uncles and cousins. She took that small town by storm, often dancing the night away to the big bands featured at the Coliseum.

From moving to St. Louis to “see the world,” to partaking in the celebrations when the end of WWII was announced, she lived life to the fullest.

Throughout her life, Mom’s house was full of antiques and adorned for every holiday, a trait that has certainly rubbed off on all of us. She loved all things Abe Lincoln and anything patriotic.

She was an extraordinary cook – her strawberry pie, fried chicken, French dressing, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, fudge, sugar cookies and pizzelles were the best. Her personal favorites, though, were simply a cold beer and a piece of chocolate.

Mom had the wardrobe of a movie star, silver jewelry and frosted hair. She was undoubtedly stylish and often told her 18-year-old granddaughter, Allie, to “be careful with those shoes” so she could have them once Allie was tired of them.

Oh, how she loved her family. Her children, grandchildren and great-grands meant the world to her. Every morning she would ask me, “How’s my Allie Girl? How’s Will? Can I do anything for you? Can I get you anything from this end (of town)?”

Mom spent her life taking care of others, and even at 89 continued to send cards and notes to those she loved, to remind them of the place they held in her ever-giving heart.

At her funeral, a cousin said she always thought my parents looked like a Hollywood couple, and I would agree. They met on a blind date and married in 1949. Mom often teased Dad about the Gillespie/Benld rivalry, as he was from Benld. They had a wonderful life together and I was blessed to be their youngest child. Dad passed away in 2010, just before their 61st anniversary. She missed him very much, but tried so hard to stay her upbeat, fun and happy self.

Just about a month before her passing, she was talking about Dad and called him her “perfect person.” I think all who knew them would agree. In that same conversation, Mom asked me if I would like to live my life over again. Before I could answer, she interjected that she had the best life and would love to live hers over again.

What a blessing!

Mom was so excited to have tickets to see her old heartthrob, Tony Bennett, this past June. Sadly, she didn’t get to go as she passed away in her sleep, rosary in hand, on Good Friday. I attended the concert and it was comforting to imagine Mom and Dad dancing together once again, next to Tony and his band. Tony’s song “Smile” seemed like a private message to me from my dear Mom.

I miss our daily phone calls, shopping trips, lunches, wonderful advice and endless support. I am certain that Mom’s love of life is the reason we have such wonderful memories of growing up. She made every occasion more fun and left everyone she met feeling more loved and joyful. She truly lit up every room she walked into.

My sister shared this Mother Theresa quote with me, which really sums up the life of our special mom: “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” That is exactly what she did. Our world will never be quite the same without her sparkle.

–Submitted by Lisa Moffett, daughter

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