Kathleen (Kathy) Marie McGlynn was born in Peekskill, N.Y., on the last day of the year of 1948. Her parents John and Edie McGlynn were ski instructors, so Kathy’s early passions entailed ski racing, water skiing and snow. This very athletic girl graduated with honors from the Academy of Mount Saint Vincent, a private, Catholic, all-girls high school to which she was granted full scholarship.
In 1968, Kathy married Glenn Newman; that same year she gave birth to her first son, Shayne. Second son Tyler arrived in 1971, and in 1973, Kathy and the boys headed west, living first in Aspen, and then in Triumph, Ida. In Triumph, she exhibited her disregard for conformity and love for the great outdoors, choosing to house her young family in a tipi. The boys gathered wood, keeping the close-knit family warm, dry and comfortable. Not long after, Kathy and the boys moved to Malta, Ida., where she worked on a dairy farm.
She got closer to what she would call her permanent home in 1978 when she and the boys moved to the Telluride area. After living for a time in the Town of Telluride – not to be outdone by any mountain yurts or tipi dwellers – Kathy moved herself and the boys into a treehouse in Fall Creek, working in the Flour Garden restaurant as a breakfast cook and becoming well-known in Telluride for her good eats and sparkling personality. Because she had a flair for creating things with her hands, she became a partner in Little Cone Cabinetry, designing/fashioning exquisite cabinets and woodwork for local homes.
In 1984, Kathy was stagestruck as well as lovestruck: during her performance as Peppermint Patty in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, in Telluride, she met her soul-mate Lars Lundahl; they were married in 1985, and Kathy changed her name from Kathy Newman to Kate Lundahl. Kate and Lars lived on Wilson Mesa for several years and subsequently in Placerville, until they purchased their cozy home at the west end of Grand Avenue in Norwood in 1990. Kate opened the Telluride branch of Aspen’s Thurston Kitchen and Bath in the late 1980s, successfully utilizing her creativity and ambition, but it was in Norwood that she carpentered a happy existence with husband and life partner Lars. Birding, gardening, stargazing, reading, writing, painting, creating, loving – these were the activities that kept Kate warm and fulfilled.
Now very much settled and appreciating her new home –four walls and a chicken coop to boot – Kate began writing “Backyard Botany,” a weekly feature in the Norwood Post, in 1993, telling readers how to reap nature’s bounty at home. She handwrote her article every Sunday evening, soon becoming dubbed “Earth Mother” by readers grateful for her spot-on advice about everything from birds, bees and flowers to growing tangy arugula and pulling weeds at just the right time.
Kate and Lars enjoyed traveling and their families, each other and the great outdoors. Avid campers and nature lovers, they were volunteer EMTs.
Lars died in 2000, but Kate carried on – brilliant, caring, earthy and robust, with two appearances in Norwood community theatre and enlightening readers with her botanical knowledge until 2009. She treasured her sons and granddaughters, always showing off photos and articles about her family, and never forgot a birthday. Her handmade Christmas cards, water paintings and stained-glass ornaments were special gifts.
Kate died in the early morning hours of December 9, 2009 in Grand Junction, with her two sons and her mother beside her. Family survivors include her siblings Michael McGlynn of Lake Placid, NY; Cindy Bischak of Montrose; Eileen McGlynn of Ruby, Alaska; John McGlynn of Waterbury, Vt.; Kevin McGlynn of New York City; Sheilagh Roufa of Telluride; her mother, Edith McGlynn of Montrose; her sons Shayne Newman of New Milford, Conn. and Tyler Newman of Crested Butte, and their wives; and her five cherished granddaughters Liliana, Marlee, Stella, Sylvia and Ava.
Kate’s interesting and colorful life, countless gifts and talents, warm heart and broad smile impacted innumerable lives. She was so many things to so many different people, and is loved by all in uniquely different ways.
Though one of our most captivating wildflowers has been taken from the bunch, her everlasting beauty will remind us of what living really means.
A private funeral ceremony will be held by Kate’s family on winter solstice, December 21. That evening, a potluck dinner celebrating Kate’s life will take place at the Hitchin’ Post in Norwood at 6 p.m.. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Norwood-Redvale Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services, in care of US Bank in Norwood or Telluride.