Kathrine (Kay) Ann White Airmet Lee
1932 – 2022
Our mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother, and neighbor Kathrine (Kay) Ann White Airmet Lee chose to pass on to the next life on a crisp and beautiful Autumn morn October 28, 2022. She passed with peace in her home in Rose Park, Salt Lake City, Utah with her many cats along with her children and grandchildren close at hand to say Goodbye to their Mama and Grandma Kay. Her last words were spoken the day before when she opened her eyes, smiled at those in the room with her and said “I have such beautiful grandsons. I love you all so much!” to her two grandsons paying their final visit. They will always remember that.
Kathrine was born late in the night of September 12, 1932 in the LDS hospital in Salt Lake City to Anne Christiansen White and Don Everett White, the second child and first daughter of an eventual nine siblings including Don, Barbara, Richard, Robert, John, Michael, Frederick, and Jeffrey. Kay and her brothers and sister were raised in the home where their father Don E. was born and also raised.
In what could only be described as a 2-acre Eden the family lived in one of the original homes of George Q. Cannon in the Cannon Stake, just east of the Jordan River. The small urban homestead was nearly self-sufficient with a large vegetable garden, an artesian well, various fruit trees and even a cutting floral garden. Chickens, rabbits and pigeons, dogs and cats, even horses in the back near the river and a dairy cow (named Bossy, of course) provided sustenance and companionship.
The lessons of hard work and being responsible, for caring beyond yourself through service and sacrifice, the struggles and joys of working with nature, and the adventure of just being outdoors in this idyllic garden and home profoundly impacted and shaped Kathrine’s entire life. Their home was also an oasis of culture with good books and literature close at hand, music filled the house ranging from the extensive classical music of her father to the raucous piano duets her parents would play to the soulful hymns that Kathrine loved to play on the piano. The appreciation of and immersion into music and art and Philosophy and history and current events together created a sustaining and deep-seated curiosity about the world and its peoples and cultures that continued throughout Kay’s life.
After graduating a year early from West High School in 1949 Kathrine worked in a variety of jobs and that included part of a Summer in Yellowstone National Park, going on tour with Neil Maxwell through the southern part of the state as Miss Freedom Crusade to help encourage people to buy War Bonds during the Korean Conflict. She spent a few months in Florida working at the LDS church-owned cattle ranch, but probably the experience she treasured most was to take a few classes from scholar Hugh Nibley at Brigham Young University.
In 1954 when singing in a production of the opera Aida, an audience member came backstage wanting to meet Kathrine. That young man was Robert L. Airmet and a few months later in November they were married in the Salt Lake City temple and began their family. A year later, with a new baby in tow, they moved to a bigger home in the Rose Park suburb development just as the first Rose Park Stake was being organized. Bob and Kay had seven children while in that 2nd Ward house and Kay has been constantly involved in various pursuits to help serve the members of her neighborhood and her faith including working with the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Camp Fire Girls, Parent Teacher Association, serving as an Advocate for many of the Thai/Myanmar Refugees.
In 1984 Kathrine found herself “suddenly single” and decided to use this opportunity to serve a full-time proselytizing mission for 18 months in Southern California. She loved every minute of her time there. Upon return she worked hard to get educated on various software systems and after graduation she secured a position with the LDS Church Educational System. Kay worked there until she retired and counts that job as one of her greatest blessings. She loves her church and she loves the gospel. She has always had a strong testimony and she shares it freely.
In 1990 she met and fell totally in love with Glen Edmond Lee. They were married on September 21st, 1990 and then sealed a few months later in the Mesa Arizona temple on March 26, 1991. They lived and loved together and were both thrilled to meet each other’s children and grandchildren to become part of their lives. These included Glenna, Terry, Holly Sue, Rodger, and Shannon. Kay and Glen spent 27 years together until Glen’s passing on May 27, 2018. Glen was a wonderful step-father.
Together Kay and Glen served as Stake Missionaries and their favorite calling - that of Ward Greeters!
Kay is survived by her brother Michael (Deanne) White along with all seven of her children including Matthew (Terri), Bradley (Shell), Don, Arla (Ken) Kester, Aleta (Brooke) Tew, Angela Betz, and Jamison (Tiffani) who together have 23 grandchildren, numerous great grandchildren, and even one great-great-grandchild! Kay counted each grandchild as a miracle and a blessing! She especially felt blessed to meet and love as her own every one of Glen’s grandchildren and great grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life will be held this Saturday, November 5, 2022 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm in the West Chapel Relief Society Room of the Rose Park Stake Center on the corner of 800 North and 1200 West.