Katie Lou Gardner Westerfield passed away at the age of 86 in Ridgeland on May 22, 2015. A lifelong resident of Mississippi, she was born in Neshoba on May 30, 1928 to James Alton and Nannie Pearl Gardner. She grew up in Philadelphia with sisters Fannie Bee and Lyda.
Visitation will be from 3-5pm on Sunday at Ott and Lee Funeral Home in Richland. The service will be 10am Monday, May 25, 2015 in the chapel of the funeral home and interment will be at Lakewood Memorial Park on Clinton Blvd.
After graduating as valedictorian from Philadelphia High School, she moved to Jackson and began a secretarial career. Katie placed her working career on hold after the births of her children. She retired in 1991 from the Mississippi Department of Education, Vocation and Technical Division, where she worked as Secretary for the State Supervisor of Health Occupations Education and the Assistant State Director of Programs Operations Services. She continued her education while working and obtained a Bachelor’s in General Studies from Mississippi College.
After her move to Jackson, she was a faithful member of Southside Baptist Church where she met Robert H. (Bob) Westerfield, to whom she was married in 1949. At Southside, she sang in the choir, taught preschool Sunday School, and was involved in church activities for many years. After moving to Florence in 1972, she and Bob joined First Baptist Church Florence, where she was a faithful member singing in choirs, Sunny Seniors, and a teacher of children’s Sunday School. She became a member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Jackson in 2011. She was a devout Christian and these principles guided her life.
She served as the PTA president of Galloway Elementary and Enochs Junior High schools, as well as vice president of Central High PTA. She was an active member and past Worthy Matron of the Capitol Chapter of Eastern Star in Jackson.
She will be remembered by many for the poems she wrote for or about them. Whether it was a retirement, birthday, birth of a child, or some other event, she loved to share her gift of a poem with others. Her most precious ones were the prayers she wrote such as one entitled “Going Home.”
Katie was preceded in death by her husband of more than 50 years, Robert H. (Bob) Westerfield, and sister Fannie Bee (Dixie) Spitzer of San Jose, CA. She is survived by her sister Lyda Tingle of Meridian; son Robin Westerfield and wife Lynda of Ft Worth, TX; daughter Debra “Debbie” Christie of Jackson, MS; grandchildren David Westerfield (Courtney) of Ft Worth, TX, Stephen Westerfield (Olivia) of Colorado Springs, CO, Colleen Christie of Moscow, ID and Carley Christie of Jackson, MS; and six great grandchildren.
Special thanks go out to Angie Nelan and the staff at The Orchard’s Rose Garden Unit for their care, love and support. They will miss their “helper” and “other worker.”
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the FBC Florence Building Fund, PO Box 97, Florence, MS 39073; or St Luke’s UMC Building Fund, 621 Duling Avenue, Jackson, MS 39216.