Kathryn Ann “Kay” Crosby, 86 years old, of Sheridan, WY died Sunday, December 20, 2009 in Westview Healthcare Center in Sheridan. She was also known as “Besta,” her Norwegian name for Grandmother.
She was born January 23, 1923, in Aberdeen, South Dakota to G.H. “Pat” and Anna (Strand) Ryan. Kay was the second oldest of four children, all born within six years. She was raised in Deadwood, SD during The Great Depression, and graduated at age 17 from Deadwood High School. One of the highlights of her senior year was “skip day,” where the seniors hiked to the top and walked on the heads of Mount Rushmore. Although she wanted to be a nurse, she was too young to go to nursing school and instead began her business career in Denver at the War Office, issuing gas rationing coupons. It was there that she met her future husband, Harold. Kathryn took a job and moved to Seattle while Harold enlisted in the Coast Guard and shipped out to sea. Unbeknownst to Kathryn, he requested a 3-day pass for the purpose of getting married. They walked the beach all night long while he tried to convince her to marry him. She finally consented after he explained that he could not return to the ship unless he was married. They were married on March 8, 1943. Harold returned to duty and they did not see each other again for nearly three years. The couple subsequently moved to Deadwood, SD, where Harold joined the Army Air Force and served at Ellsworth AFB. Their first child, Mike, was born in 1946 and the family was transferred to West Germany in 1948. After another tour at Ellsworth, Harold was sent to Hickam AFB in Hawaii, where the family lived for three years. Daughter Pat was born there in 1954. In 1957, the family was transferred to FE Warren AFB in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and from there moved to Vandenberg, AFB, CA. After five years in California, Harold accepted a four-year tour of duty at Goose Air Base in Labrador, Canada. It was there that Kay reentered the work force as secretary to the superintendent of schools. Harold and Kay left “The Goose” for Hastings, Nebraska -- Harold’s final assignment in the Air Force. When he retired in 1968, the family moved back to Rapid City, where Kay continued her school duties, this time in the library at Stevens High School. She continued working there until she retired.
Kay was a gifted artist and spent many hours tole painting and crocheting. She and Harold were also avid “Good Sam” motor home campers. They traveled throughout the west and southwest, enjoying the good life with their friends. They remained in their Rapid City home for 37 years, and celebrated 61 years of marriage in 2004. In 2005, one year after Harold passed on, Kay moved to Sheridan, WY to be near her daughter, Pat and her family. During her time there, she enjoyed attending the many sporting events her grandchildren participated in.
Kay was also preceded in death by her sister Mary Jane Hardin & brother John Ryan.
Kay is survived by her two children, Mike Crosby (wife Marsha of Long Beach, CA) and Pat Quist (husband Hal of Sheridan, WY); brother Larry Ryan (wife Margaret of Deadwood, SD); five grandchildren: Kelly Crosby (husband Jonathan Kaplan of Davis, CA), Heather Sorensen (husband Erik of Portland, OR), Adam, Jeremy and Laura Quist (Sheridan, WY); two great-grandchildren: Zoe and Raisa Kaplan; and two nieces and four nephews. A third great-grandchild is expected in March.
Funeral service will be 1:00pm on Tuesday (Dec 29th) from the Episcopal Church in Deadwood, SD. Interment will be in the Black Hills National Cemetery. Arrangements are with Champion Ferries Funeral Home, Sheridan, WY. Memorials may benefit the Sheridan Senior Citizen’s Center, 211 Smith St., Sheridan, WY 82801