With profound sadness we announce that Kathryn Lucinda Mueller, at the age of 71, passed away on October 22, 2019 at Harrison Hospital in Bremerton, Washington. She passed peacefully with her husband, Del, and her daughters, Jackie and Vanessa, by her side.
Remembering Kathy Mueller will likely spark images of her beautiful dream home. The home that hosted Halloween for children from miles around to be spooked and frightened with a reward of the largest candy bag in town. The house rivaled the North Pole and became a destination for Christmas light drives. This house was designed to be a Southern style home for a woman that embodied all the truth of what it means to be warm, kind, generous, and most of all, strong.
Kathy was born on July 20, 1948 in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. She was one of 8 children born to Ruby Weister and James Martin. Her family relocated from Beaver Falls to Carnation, Washington and then finding their home in Thorne Bay, Alaska. Kathy graduated from Thorne Bay High School in 1966 as one of the two graduates from a class of four. She married Charles Brown in 1966 after graduation. Charles was killed in 1967 while serving in Vietnam, leaving behind a young wife, pregnant with her first child. In March of 1968 Jackie Brown was born to a woman who was finding out early in life what kind of strength she had.
Fairbanks, Alaska became home to Kathy and baby Jackie, and the location where she, and her car, would be pursued by Del Mueller. Kathy owned a blue 1967 Chevelle Super Sport. While Del was stationed with the U.S. Army in Fairbanks he took a special interest in following her car around town. It became a mission to see if his nearly identical blue 1967 Chevelle Malibu was faster than Kathy’s. While the verdict is still out on who owned the faster Chevy, a wedding was confirmed between Del & Kathy on November 6, 1970. This year would have marked 49 years of marriage. Together, with baby Jackie, they moved back to Del’s roots in Washington and made their home in Suquamish where they would begin a life of successful entrepreneurship together and grow their family.
Kathy’s first job in her married life was alongside of Del where they worked together for Faler’s Garage. She worked as a service attendant, helping to bring in the vehicles her husband would repair. This cohesive partnership in automotive repair turned in to the start of what would become a local success in business. In 1974 they began to build their own business at home in Suquamish, and by 1980 they would open their doors to Del’s Automotive with a large repair facility and property that has helped countless families get back on the road. The opening of their business was a grand New Year’s Eve celebration, complete with cars lining the street, a band, and dancing the night away. Later years in life kept Kathy’s career busy with real estate and property management through the many rental homes that she and Del acquired, but the love of collecting cars remained a constant in her life. A fresh off the line 1978 White Dodge Magnum brings back fond memories of a woman that claimed it as her own. Before its first cruise through town, it was lowered to the ground, and remains a memorable part of her life for her friends and family. Kathy remained behind the scenes running their books until six months before her death, when her illness would no longer allow it.
Kathy’s most important job in life was that of being a mother and later a grandmother. In 1979 a daughter, Vanessa, was born to Kathy and Del. At the age of 12, Vanessa would start to learn the family business and work with both of her parents. In 1984, Del Jr. was born and affectionately named “Little Del”. Little Del brought so much joy to his family through his adorable demeanor. He was given a tragically short amount of years with his family. In 1987, Little Del preceded his mother’s death. To know this about Kathy, to know how long she lived without her child, was a testament to how strong she was. With a loss no parent could recover from, she continued to shower generosity on her family and friends.
Love and education were imparted to Kathy’s children and grandchildren through her many hobbies and interests. She was an avid baker, filling the memories of those that she loved with smells of apple pie and lemon meringue. Kathy’s kitchen was always filled with her next meal being readied. The dinner table was often set with extra places. The family dinner of four frequently extended to six or eight on account of Kathy’s reputation as an outstanding cook! Her living room with a freshly stoked fire, rocking chair and a James Patterson novel, while her garden was filled with her favorite flowers. Scary movies, funny sitcoms, and some daytime TV were a favorite past time. Kathy had years of playing on a women’s softball team. She loved her trips to Reno and finding the winning slot machine. Throughout her life, trips in the car were surrounded by her favorite music. Kathy could tell you of the many concerts she attended to see the likes of the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Fleetwood Mac, & Dolly Parton. In her final days she found peace dancing in her bed to “Lady” by Little River Band, played in her hospital room by her son-in-law, Jared.
Vanessa married Jared at her parents’ iconic home. Together they gave Kathy two grandchildren, Annaliese and Isabelle. Little girls that brought an insurmountable amount of joy to a woman with so much to give. Kathy loved family, even taking on ones that became special to her by life circumstance. In 1982, Todd Garringer, an 8 year old neighbor boy, became a regular visitor and a staple in their home. Todd quickly became a big brother to Little Del and Vanessa, and a younger brother to Jackie. In addition to being a special part of the family, he became a pivotal part of the family business. In true Kathy fashion, she also cared for Todd & Jaci’s daughters, Carmen and Leah, becoming an adored caregiver and sharing her love for life with them. Grandchildren could always be found at her kitchen counter drawing pictures and being spoiled with her affections.
Kathy is survived by her dedicated husband Del, her loving daughters Jackie (Brian) and Vanessa (Jared), her adoring granddaughters Annaliese (11) and Isabelle (8), her siblings Jack, Linda, Thelma, Jim and Phyllis, along with several nephews and nieces, and many friends.
Predeceased by her beloved son Little Del, father Jim, mother Ruby, brother Larry, and sister Beverly.
Kathy will be dearly missed and forever in our hearts. A service for close family and friends will be held on November 23, 2019 at 10:00 AM at the Poulsbo Mortuary, 22272 Foss Rd NE in Poulsbo. Kathy will be laid to rest next to her son, Little Del. Following the service, a large celebration of life will be held from 12:00 to 4:00 PM at Kiana Lodge, 14976 Sandy Hook RD NE in Poulsbo.
The celebration of life is welcome to all who would like to attend. In lieu of flowers or gifts, please donate to a charity of your choice.