Lodi News-Sentinel



1926 2023

Kathleen Long Tillett York was born on January 27, 1926 near La Plata, Charles County, Maryland. She left this world on January 21, 2023 at home in Palm Desert surrounded by family, 2 weeks after a fall. The 9th of 11 children, she was raised on her family’s tobacco farm. Soon after high school she moved in with her sister Alice, in Washington D.C. and found a job in the office at Sears. She always said it was a great job because, despite all the rationing during WWII, she could get plenty of shoes since her tiny feet fit the sizes of the samples. She continued collecting shoes the rest of her life!

Kathy moved to Bakersfiel­d, CA with her first husband Bill Tillett, whom she met at a USO dance during the war. They had 2 children, Theresa (aka Teri) and Bill, Jr. and raised them in Bakersfiel­d, Washington D.C. and the L.A. area until moving to Lodi in 1962. There, Kathy worked for local Lodi banks and was the first female loan officer in Lodi. During this time, she, Bill and some partners started a new manufactur­ing business making all kinds of street sweeper brooms, including the special plastic wire used in all the brushes. In the early 1970s Kathy and Bill divorced but she retained interest in Nationwide Wire & Brush Mfg.

In 1978 Kathy married Don York. They ran the

business together, started traveling in his airplane and became boating enthusiast­s. When Don’s health declined, they decided to buy a restaurant in Lodi (Chaps) which became very popular for their smoked ribs. However, she injured her back and it became too difficult to run such a hands-on business. It was a lot of fun though! They also invested in vacation houses in Pine Mountain where they moved to begin retiring. Eventually Don’s health became more of an issue, so they moved back to Lodi and that’s where Kathy lived until 2005. When Don preceded her in death, she decided to move to Palm Desert because she loved the sun and the desert. Her children Teri (Brooks) and Bill (Jana) and their families visited often and eventually Teri moved there. Kathy dearly loved her 4 grandchild­ren and their spouses, Susan Chisholm (Jason), Stephen Smith (Jessie), Jennifer Jewell (Artie) and Jeff Tillett (Jennifer) as well as Don’s granddaugh­ter Chelsea (Paul). She adored her 11 awesome great grandchild­ren, Holly, Joshua, Tim, Megan, Jason, Riley, Antonia, Sage, Kizze, Chloe and Cooper. And for the past 6 years she’s been happy and proud to enjoy her 3 great-great grandchild­ren, Cole, Chance, and Everlee. She knew she was a lucky woman to be part of 5 generation­s of living family.

Kathy was a smart businesswo­man who was generous, kind, fun, always ready to laugh, a great cook, wonderful hostess, good friend and very much loved by all who knew her. She will be sorely missed by her family and friends. So raise a glass in her honor, because as she always said, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!”

Kathy supported many causes and charities so, if inclined, make a donation to your favorite charity in her name.

Please sign the guest book at www.lodinews.com/ guestbook.

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