March is National Women’s History Month and this year’s theme, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives,” is an opportunity to write the contribution of women back into the essential fabric of our nation’s history. Accounts of the lives of individual women are important because they reveal exceptionally strong role models who share a more expansive vision of what a woman can do.
I couldn’t end this short series about remarkable women of Perham without including Kathleen Guck; not so much for her feats or accomplishments, as for the way she lived her life.
Called “Kathy” by everyone who knew and loved her, she was remarkable in that she always showed the world a positive attitude by having a smile on her face and a kind word for everyone she met. Many people would say after knowing her for a short time, “That’s the way I want to be when I grow up.”
Kathleen Ruth Wasche was born in 1923, the daughter of Edward and Helen (Oswald) Wasche. She grew up around Bluffton, graduated from Wadena High School and attended St. Cloud Teachers’ College, where she distinguished herself in the declamatory contests. She taught commercial subjects in Morton, Minn. for three years. In 1947, she married Arthur “Johnny” Guck, who took over the management of his father’s farm. Two children were born to them, David and Kenny. Johnny died in 1985.
Kathy continued to live in the Perham area. She was an active member of the Perham VFW Ladies’ Auxiliary, the American Legion Auxiliary, the Perham Red Hat Club and TOPS. She volunteered at the History Museum of East Otter Tail County and the In Their Own Words Veterans Museum in Perham and was involved with a variety of community and church activities ranging from Turtle Races to Catholic Daughters.
She loved to travel and had a social calendar that was second to none as she attended concerts, art shows, plays and community events with an enthusiasm that was contagious.
Kathy was a very, very active lady who lived life to its fullest, right up to the end. She died last year in June at the age of 91. A tough act to follow, but I’m going to try.
Information for this article came from the National Women’s History Project, the Perham Enterprise Bulletin, and the East Otter Tail History Books, available online at www.HistoryMuseumEOT.org. Lina Belar is the founder and retired director of the Friends of the History Museum of East Otter Tail County.