Kathleen R. VanDenberg

April 25, 1948 ~ February 21, 2019 (age 70)


Kathleen R. VanDenberg, 70 of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma died on Thursday, February 21, 2019.
Kathy was born on April 25, 1945 in Marshall to George and Ruth (Kenyon) Leach.
Kathy was very active in her community and high school, earning many awards and trips and also giving 10 years of 4-H service. Kathy played piano for Sunday School and especially enjoyed doing the Children's sermon at her church, First Baptist Church of Marshall.
Even though Kathy sat in front of Tony VanDenberg in Latin Class from September to April, he did not know who she was until she asked him to dance at a Sadie Hawkins Day Dance on her 15th birthday. He knew he had seen her around, but finally recognized her by the back of her head. Kathy started working at the age of 15 as a clerk for a local dry cleaner for 50 cents an hour. She also did clothing alterations for $17.50 a week as she saved for college.
She graduated from Marshall High School in 1966, and was able to obtain a position of teller/secretary for the Michigan National Bank, earning $1.25 an hour; she was able to earn more money for college. When drive-thru banks first started, she was one of the first to serve a window. In 1968 she graduated from Kellogg Community College with an Applied Commerce degree. She was also taking classes with the American Banking Association. All this training was preparing her to move up in the banking industry. Within three months of being a Vice-President at the bank, Kathy and Tony were married.
She continued her banking career at a credit union, while Tony was stationed at the Antigo Radar Site. When Tony received orders for 13 month tour in Korea, Kathy now five months pregnant, moved back to Marshall to await the birth of their daughter, Julia. While in Korea, Tony volunteered to fix a radar site on Monkey Mountain in Vietnam before returning to the states. Talking to loved ones on short wave radio during the time he was overseas, was not easy. They were able to talk to each other for five minutes, once a month, and it took the Red Cross five days to find and notify him in 1972 that he had a baby girl!
Port Austin Radar Site, Michigan was their next assignment and their next child Jason, was born in 1974. Kathy went back to work as a bank teller in a small town of 350, when Julia started school and Jason was three years old.
On to Fortuna Radar Site, North Dakota, often referred to as "In the middle of unfortunate." However the VanDenberg's enjoyed their tour! While at Fortuna, Kathy was nominated by her supervisor and chosen for the 1979 and 1980 editions of "Who's Who in American Women" for her work as a legal secretary for a sole practioner who also served as the county district attorney.
Next Stop Colorado Springs, living at the Air Force Academy. Kathy continued teller work at the main branch of the Air Force Academy National Bank. After a just a few months at the main bank, Kathy was chosen to become the head teller at the cadet branch.
When HQ ADTAC moved to Langley AFB, VA the family was one of 20 families in the advance cadre who aided those families who joined later. Again, Kathy worked in banking, until she was hired for a NAF position in HQ TAC, Langley AFB, VA as a clerk-stenographer in the Morale, Welfare and recreation office, and she had the only IBM Memory Typewriter in the office.
Kathy's first position as a GS employee was at Fort Monroe Army Post. At that job Kathy mastered an innovative new office machine called "the word processer." The HQ TAC Surgeon General's office at the Langley AFB then selected her for a clerk-stenographer. Kathy enjoyed being back on the Air Force Base. However, she spent a bit of time every day for the processor to catch up to her typing.
As Tony neared retirement, he received orders to Wanna Radar Site, North of Bremerhaven, Germany. Kathy became the Administrative Assistant for the Army's Drug and Alcohol Abuse program helping clients in the Army and the Air Force in all of Northern Germany.
Their last assignment brought them back to Tinker AFB. Kathy obtained a position with the Family Support Center. She volunteered for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Later, she would be asked for by name, by the electronic tax software company to teach the Tax Conference at the JAG School at Maxwell AFB, AL when the software company was unable to furnish an instructor. As her tax involvement broadened she also was asked to instruct other parts of the Tax Conferences and sat on the panel of instructors as well.
At the end of that first tax season, Kathy was hired as a legal assistant in the General Law Division of the Jag office. Two weeks into the job, Desert Storm was gearing up and Kathy typed continuously on wills for those being deployed immediately.
She typed thousands of wills for the first six months. When the Environmental Law Division was started, Kathy was selected to begin work there. During the day she assisted the attorneys researching environment and general law, writing legal briefs and conducting interviews. At night, she attended Rose State College and graduated with a legal assistants degree. She also became a member of the Phi Theta Kappa.
After the 1999 tax season, Kathy became a Survivor Benefit Plan Counselor, briefing all military retirees on the program and estimating their retirement pay. She also aided the Casualty Assistance Representative with processing active duty and retired military deaths. Kathy Retired after working 21 years with the government and she retired where she began in the family support now called Airman and Family Readiness.
Kathy and Tony are very proud of their children ad their accomplishments. They are a definitely an Air Force Family. Tony retired with 24 ½ years and Jason followed in his father's foot steps and retired after 22 years of service. Julia married Christopher, and immediately became a military spouse. Chris retired after 23 years of service. Anyone who knew Kathy knows she was ready to talk about her children and grandchildren to anyone who would listen.
Kathy enjoyed traveling with her husband to visit relatives in Michigan, Indiana, Florida, Virginia, North Dakota, Washington, Arizona, Alaska, and Georgia. She also enjoyed crafts and gardening.
She is survived by her husband Tony VanDenberg of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Children Chris and Julia Renfro of Wasilla, Alaska and Jason VanDenberg of Wasilla, Alaska; grandchildren, Chance Renfro of Scobey, Montana, Kali and Kati Renfro of Wasilla, Alaska; Great Granddaughter, Bailey Rose Renfro of Napoleon, North Dakota, brother: Mike Leach of Marshall, Michigan; sister: Pat and Verser White of Saugatuck, Michigan; Sisters-in-Laws, Margaret Leach of Marshall, Michigan and Amy VanDenberg of North Ft. Meyers, Florida; Family in Love, Ken and Mary Douglas of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Kevin and Amanda Douglas of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She was preceded in death by, her parents Ruth (Kenyon) and George Leach; Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law, Ruby (Case) and Harold VanDenberg; brothers, Curtis Leach and Thomas Leach; Sisters-in-Laws, Helen Leach, Shirley Leach and Louise Bryan; and a nephew, John Leach.
Family will gather with friends on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 from 4-7pm at the Marshall Chapel of the Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services 723 US North. Funeral Services will take place at 2pm on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at the Marshall Chapel of the Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services with Reverend Brad Gardner officiating. Interment will follow at Lyon Lake Cemetery. Family will gather with friends following the committal services at the Marshall VFW Hall.


FEB 26. 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM (EST)

Marshall Chapel of Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services
723 US HWY 27 North
Marshall, MI, 49068


FEB 27. 2:00 PM (EST)

Marshall Chapel of Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services
723 US HWY 27 North
Marshall, MI, 49068

Luncheon Following Committal Services

FEB 27. 4:00 PM (EST)

Marshall VFW Hall
800 East Michigan Ave
Marsahll, MI, 49068

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