She was born to James F. and Ruth M. Gorman on January 2, 1942 in St. Louis, MO, the elder of two daughters (younger sister, Sharon). A wartime job took her parents from St Louis to southern California in 1944, where she and her sister grew up in Manhattan Beach, CA. In 1957, upon the transfer of their father’s company, they relocated to Dallas, TX. Kathie graduated from Hillcrest High School in 1959, and soon entered Southern Methodist University, where she pledged Delta Zeta. She worked as a young volunteer nurse at Baylor hospital and for Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance. While attending SMU, Kathie met and soon after, married the love of her life, Edward (Ed) O. Russell, Jr. on November 25, 1961 at First Christian Church in Longview.
Their first child, Rusty, was born in Dallas, May 11, 1962. Soon thereafter, Kathie and Ed, along with their infant son, Rusty, moved to Longview to join her parents (Jim and Ruth Gorman) in operating a new Volkswagen dealership, Gorman Motors (which later became Gorman McCracken VW-Mazda).
Kathie was a true definition of servanthood, and in her new community, she quickly became involved. She devoted her life to her family, volunteerism, and helping others in need. She loved to entertain, to decorate for holidays, especially her favorite time of year Christmas, to read, to ballroom dance and to travel. She was blessed with a lifetime of love, beautiful memories, and happiness with her husband, children and grandchildren, family, and friends.
During her earlier years in Longview, Kathie joined Good Shepherd Hospital Auxiliary, the Jaycee ‘Ettes, the Lion’s Club production of “Brigadoon”, and worked on various civic and medical fundraisers and projects. She also assisted the Longview Museum of Fine Arts in writing a grant to hire an “Artist-in-Residence” for Longview, as well as serving on their Board of Directors (LMFA).
She also joined First Christian Church where she became very active. She was involved in the following: sang in the choir; taught preschool and kindergarten, Sunday school and vacation Bible school for 14 years; directed the Angel Choir; taught in the P.R.E.P. school; sponsored the high school youth group (CYF-Christian Youth Fellowship); planned CYF and church ski trips; belonged to the CWF (Christian Women’s Fellowship); and served on the education and membership committees.
Kathie was very involved with the Junior League of Longview which she joined in 1970 and remained a sustaining member. During her active years, she served on many committees and, among others she chaired the Student Art Show, Day at the Museum, Children’s Theatre, Puppets, and the Yearbook, and Annual Report. Through Jr. League placements, she taught dyslexic children, CPR and Hypertension classes. Throughout her service, Kathie worked at The Bargain Box, on the Charity Ball Committees and various fund-raising activities.
Kathie was a Cub Scout den mother, a Brownie and Girl Scout leader. She served on the Tejas Girl Scout Council, where she represented Texas and the United States at an international leaders’ conference in Mexico. She spent many years volunteering at schools in the Longview ISD, where her children attended and was active with their PTA. Because of her many hours of volunteer time, she was awarded a lifetime membership award by Judson Middle School PTA. Through the East Texas Literacy Council, Kathie became a tutor and worked with many adults, teaching them to read and write. Many of these included Hispanic students whom she was able to assist in speaking, reading and writing English.
For several years, Kathie served on the Citizens Advisory Board for the Gregg County Juvenile Probation Department to which she was appointed by County Commissioners. Through this role, she attended conferences in Austin, where she represented Gregg County in seminars concerning changes in the juvenile law. While on this board, she also raised over $8000.00 in funds and assisted in furnishing a temporary shelter which housed up to 14 children, many of whom did not meet the criteria to stay in the detention center.
Kathie served on the advisory Board for The Salvation Army of Longview (formerly the Gregg County Salvation Army), where she was sworn in as a lifetime member along with her mother, Ruth Gorman. With her ambition over the years, she worked to recruit bell ringers for the Red Kettle Campaign, assisted the elderly and disabled, helped the food kitchen supply to feed the hungry and homeless, assisted the Salvation Army with their shelter for the homeless and went above and beyond to make sure all the “Angels” on the Salvation Army Angel Trees had the Christmas they had always wished for.
In 2007, Kathie was nominated by her delightful friends of the Belles Lettres Book club group, and she was selected as a 2008 Star Over Longview by Longview Regional Medical Center’s Women Advisory Council. It was one of the most memorable times for Kathie.
Kathie was married to her beloved Ed for 48 years, before his passing in April 2010. She was also proceeded in death by their wonderful son, Rusty (Edward O. Russell, III), her parents, Ruth M. and James F. Gorman, and her in-law’s, Catherine H. and Edward O. Russell, Sr.
She is survived by her devoted daughter Kimberly (Russell) Brown and her daughter, Gorman Elisabeth Brown, of Longview, TX. Her daughter-in-law, Jana M. Russell of Longview, and children Ryan O. Russell of Tyler, TX, and Ruth Ann Russell of Fort Worth, TX. Her most cherished sister and brother-in-law, Sharon (Gorman) Gredler, and Dr. Erich W. Gredler, nephew Dr. James E. Gredler, his wife Dr. Michaela Gredler and their two children, Theresa and David, her niece Jennifer (Jenny) Gredler, and her wife Sabine Pawikovsky, all of Austria, and her many special cousins.
A celebration of life will be held at First Christian Church Longview January 2, 2019 at 12:00 (noon), under the direction of Rader Funeral Home and Rev. David Farmer. The family will have a private burial at Rosewood Park Cemetery.
Kathie was truly blessed to be surrounded by so much love, concern, prayers, family and friends, gifts of gratitude, and many kind deeds. To our loving “family of closest friends” (too many to name), who were devoted to visiting with, checking on, and calling her daily for all these years, we would like to express our sincere appreciation and love to each of you - you enriched her life and made it a beautiful world! To Carol Butler, her devoted caretaker, and “mom’s true angel”, who has become an extension of our family, along with her husband, Darrin. To Kim’s partner, Jim Malone, who dedicated so much of his time during her last weeks to making our lives more gifted. To her amazing medical team at DCOL, Good Shepherd Home Care, LRMC, and DaVita; her Church family of First Christian Church Longview; to the care of Heart’s Way Hospice and Summer Meadow’s Nursing Home.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to First Christian Church, The Salvation Army of Longview, Northeast Texas Habitat for Humanity, Heart’s Way Hospice, or the charity of your choice.