Kathryn Marie “Kitty” Knoblauch Felion, 96, died May 1, 2021, at her home in Erie, Pa. She was born in St. Paul, the daughter of Marcellus Knoblauch and Justine Knoblauch of St. Anthony Park.
The middle child of three children and the only girl, Kitty displayed a unique talent at a young age of bringing folks together with her childhood girls club, “The Silver Spider Secret Society” and for entertaining folks with her role as the Monkey in a Minneapolis radio production of “Little Orphan Annie.”
Kitty followed her mother’s path by dedicating her life to civic engagement, serving on the boards of directors for many arts organizations, most notably the Board of Directors of The Barber National Institute from 1970 until her retirement in 2020.
Kitty attended her mother’s alma mater, College of St. Teresa, in Winona, where she served as senior class president of 1947. She remained active in the alumni association and planned class reunions for her college as well as her high school, Murray class of 1943.
After graduating from St. Teresa’s, Kitty moved to Toledo, Ohio, where she worked as a social worker for Catholic Charities. She later returned to Minnesota to teach junior high school in Stillwater, where she was selected by the American Service Committee to represent Minnesota in an exchange teacher program between the U.K. and the United States in 1953-1954.
During her stay in the U.K., Kitty had the honor of being one of five teachers invited to have tea with the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth, at Lambeth Palace. The Queen Mother told her she had a lovely hat and Kitty kept that hat for decades. At her death, she still had the dress she wore then.
After her return from Europe, Kitty married Thomas R. Felion, a decorated WWII veteran, at Corpus Christi Church on June 11, 1955, in St. Anthony Park. They lived briefly in Duluth before moving to Erie, Pa., for the first time. Thomas became assistant administrator of St. Vincent Hospital, where Kitty served as a lifelong member of the Saint Vincent’s Women’s Auxiliary.
Tom and Kitty moved to Marshfield, Wis., where they started the hospital auxiliary at Saint Joseph’s Hospital. After productive years in Marshfield and then a move to Battle Creek, Mich., where Tom was involved in the St. Luke’s building project; the couple moved back to Erie in 1968 where Tom went to work at St. Vincent’s Hospital and they spent the rest of their lives in Erie.
While back in Erie, Kitty was active in, among other things, the Board of the Erie Playhouse, the Board of Directors of the Erie Civic Ballet and the Erie Arts Council.
In addition to her parents and her husband, Kitty was preceded in death by her daughter Margaret, brother Harry Knoblauch and his wife Priscilla, brother Joseph Knoblauch and his wife Margery, and son-in-law Lt. Co. William Bradford Davis. Kitty’s survivors include seven of her children: Mary Fran Felion (Michael Domach), Michelle Felion-Davis, Matthew Felion (fiancée Courtney Smith), Madeleine Felion, Monica Felion, Martin Felion (Jackie), Marc Felion (Fausto Fernos).