Kathleen (Keacher) Harding passed away peacefully at home on Monday morning, July 9, 2018, after a weekend surrounded by her loving family. Kathy lived in St. Anthony Park from 1974 to 1988 and returned to stay in 2008.
Kathy was born Jan. 29, 1952. She grew up in rural Stacy, Minn., with parents Joyce and Wilfred Keacher and four siblings, and attended the two-room elementary school there.
Happily married to Tim Harding for 48 years, they had two sons, Paul (Sarah) and Adam (Christine) and two precious grandsons, Huey and Roland, who also live in St. Anthony Park. She loved being a grandmother and always had toy trucks and crackers in her purse for little Huey.
Kathy’s career began with designing clothing for local boutiques, which led to her becoming the fashion buyer for the Bibelot Shop in St Anthony Park, where she was generously mentored by Roxanne Freese.
In the early 1980s, in partnership with friend and neighbor, Carol Zapfel, Kathy opened Preview, a new-wave fashion boutique at St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis. It featured unique fashions from young designers, many she found on treks to New York studios in Tribeca, Soho and the East Village.
Her next chapter was in collaboration with Tim at Harding Design Studio, where she designed art-to-wear garments for an international clientele.
Kathy was an intuitive colorist. She had a keen sense of the structure, drape, stretch and feel of fabrics.
Kathy and Tim collaborated with architects on the design of two custom-built homes, including one in St. Anthony Park at Commonwealth Avenue and Gordon Place. Her great eye for the interplay of contrasting surfaces and textures, natural light-filled spaces, and interior and exterior vistas extended to the landscapes. Like her parents, she was avid gardener. She grew vegetables, fruits, flowers and native perennials.
Kathy dabbled in ceramics, throwing and hand building vessels, and was able to build a pottery collection by trading her textile designs for ceramic artists’ work at craft fairs throughout the U.S.
Another of Kathy’s passions was cooking, creating simple yet refined fresh, often vegetarian fare, reflecting her travels. Her cooking style evolved to blend her mother’s traditional Minnesota cuisine with foodie and ethnic influences, a family favorite being seafood paella.
Kathy’s interest in world music and soccer developed from Paul and Adam. She loved live music at the Cedar, the Dakota and while traveling, for example Afro-Cuban jazz at a wine-cellar venue in Paris and cumbia at a small bar in Monte Verde, Costa Rica. Many enjoyable hours were spent at soccer fields around the cities and the upper midwest. Kathy and Tim even played for a while on an indoor soccer team of parents of their kids’ team.
Kathy had been in home hospice care for the last month, as she finished her courageous eight-year battle with cancer. Her active lifestyle, including tennis, Pilates and walking, surely helped her beat the odds of a dire prognosis again and again in her struggle.
As challenging as the last few years were, they were also among the most momentous and joyous of her life, with the weddings of her sons, Paul and Adam, to wonderful women, Sarah and Christine, and the birth of grandsons, Huey and Roland.
A celebration of Kathy’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, in the Great Hall at Silverwood Park, 2500 County Road E., St. Anthony, MN 55421.
Kathy was a kind, generous, strong, and authentic spirit. She will be profoundly missed.