Katherine Jean Tibbles, 75, died May 23, 2021 at Lighthouse Memory Care in Anacortes, Washington, after a long illness.
She was born on May 21, 1946, in Seattle to John “Jack” Tibbles and Wilma Hoffman Tibbles of Ketchikan.
“Her childhood was filled with family fishing and hunting adventures,” her family writes.
She sang in the United Methodist Church choir in high school, worked as a camp counselor during summers, and was a Rainbow Girl. She graduated from Ketchikan High School in 1964 and served as the Grand Worthy Advisor of Rainbow Girls from 1964 to 1965.
She attended Willamette College and Western Washington University, graduating with a degree in psychology. She worked as a juvenile probation officer for Skagit County in Washington for a year, then moved to Juneau, where she worked for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services as a social worker.
Her daughter, Katrina Lee, was born in 1974. In 1978, they moved to Ketchikan when Katherine Tibbles was hired to work for the Regional Office of the Family and Youth Services Division, where she later became the regional supervisor.
“Kathy was passionate about her work protecting Alaska’s most vulnerable children and families,” her family writes
In 1986, they moved to Juneau so Katherine Tibbles could take a job as a program officer, supervising the dispersal of federal funds for children in need of aid and testifying before the Legislature on legislation. Before retiring in 1999, she had been named Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers. At her retirement, she was awarded a certificate of thanks from the federal Region 10 Child Welfare staff.
She enjoyed making improvements around the house, working in her garden and gourmet cooking. She also enjoyed spending time with her granddaughter Fae, baking and beachcombing.
Kathy married Beverly Haywood in a Unitarian Universalist ceremony in 1997; they were later legally married on Lopez Island, Washington, in August 2014.
“Kathy and Beverly treasured their life together in Juneau, her family writes. “They also enjoyed traveling, including one memorable summer in Oxford, England. Their home was the base for holiday gatherings for the entire blended family.
Katherine Tibbes was preceded in death by her parents; sister, Arlene Jackson of Haines; and a stillborn sister, Virginia.
She is survived by her wife Beverly; sister, Marlene Giedd-Clark of Lopez Island, Washington; daughter, Katrina Lee, granddaughter, Fae Lee, both of Juneau; stepchildren, Jennifer Haywood, Beth Parsons, and John Haywood, Jr.; and five step-grandchildren.
A memorial will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on July 3, 2021, at Glacier Gardens in Juneau.
Donations may be made to Juneau PFLAG, AWARE, or to a charity of your choice.