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Kathleen "Kathy" Kay Gus Kandt
Kathleen Kay Gus Kandt
- January 25, 2018

Kathy was born, February 22, 1942, to Gustav and Mildred (Saueressig) Kandt in Bismarck, ND. She was raised on the family farm and in McClusky, ND, where she graduated from high school. She received a BS degree in English from Minot State University.

In her lifetime, she taught English at Standing Rock High School in ND and at the Flandreau Indian Boarding School in Flandreau, SD. Kathy trained as a welder and was a proud member of the Sheetmetal Workers Union where she was a journeyman. She worked as a treatment parent in a supportive youth home in Madison, WI. She taught math and special relations classes at the Madison Area Technical College.

It was also in Wisconsin where she met the love of her life, Bess Brown. In 1997 she and her wife Bess moved to Tilford, SD, where Kathy worked as a home health caregiver and at a local gardening nursery where she learned about plants and trees that grow well in the local region. Kathy and Bess took care of her mother until her death in 2005.

Kathy served as the Executive Director of the Black Hills Center for Equality during a time when the Center was struggling. She worked tirelessly to raise funds and awareness and guided the Center in a new direction in developing services to Western South Dakota's LGBT community. She devoted many hours to working with state and local government and other LGBT groups in SD. Kathy was recently honored by the LGBT community for her lifelong dedication to the cause of equality.

Kathy was a proud lifelong member of the Democratic Party. She fought for worker's rights and against oppression of any kind. She set up and helped govern organizations that supported battered women. Over the course of her life, she made many gifts to organizations like this to help victims of abuse reclaim their lives and to raise their children in peaceful homes. She volunteered at the women's shelter and the Hospice House. She was a powerful role model in caring for our fellow human beings.

Kathy loved everything that grows on God's green earth. She had a passion for planting, harvesting and preserving the healthy foods that came from the amazing gardens she and Bess grew. Together she and Bess developed a particular love for the iris and their beautiful collection of irises was well-known to many. Kathy was a voracious reader and a natural teacher who loved to engage on long conversations about any topic under the sun. She was an incredibly interesting person to talk to and loved to share her knowledge and experience with everyone. Kathy trained for and became a Reiki Master.

Kathy and Bess were proudly married on September 6, 2015, along with eleven other couples at Mount Rushmore. They made a loving life together for 34 years.

Kathleen "Kathy" Kay Gus Kandt, died, January 21, 2018, at the Rapid City Regional Hospital Hospice House.

Kathy is survived by her wife, Bess Brown; sisters, Linda Brown, Eileen Luchsinger, Pemina Yellow Bird, and many other friends and family.

Anyone wishing to make a memorial in Kathy's name may donate to the Regional Hospital Hospice House. Special thanks to all the doctors, nurses and support staff at the Rapid City Regional Hospital's Dialysis Center and Cancer Clinic for your loving care of Kathy during her illness. A great deal of gratitude also goes to Kathy's circle of fellow patients; she truly loved and cared about you all.

Kathy was the kind of person who never knew a stranger she couldn't turn into a friend. She was brave, and kind and cheerful in all weathers. She was a devoted wife, friend and relative, and a fearless defender of many. May she rest in peace and may all who mourn her loss be comforted by loving memories.A celebration of Life will be held Sunday, February 4, 2018, at 2:00 pm (we are calling it a Super Bowl pregame party), at On Common Ground located at 610 St Francis St, Rapid City, SD.

Condolences may be sent to the family at www.kinkadefunerals.com.


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