Kathryn “Kathy” Marie (Majireck) Strait
Kathryn “Kathy” Marie (Majireck) Strait, age 81, of Mechanicsburg, passed away on Saturday, April 29, 2023. Kathy was born on Tuesday, August 26, 1941, in Monessen to the late John Majireck and Edna (Fordanich) Majireck. In addition to her parents, Kathy is preceded in death by her brother, John “Sonny” Majireck.
Kathy’s survivors include her husband of 57 years, Melvin “Mel” Raymond Strait, Jr.; her daughter, Rebecca Strait-Firestone and her husband, David, of York; her two grandchildren: Madison McCarron and her husband, Thomas, of Dover; Ian Firestone and his wife, Lizzy, of Tremont; her great-granddaughter, Arawen; her sister, Joyce Collins and her husband, Glenn, of Charleroi; and several nieces and nephews.
Kathy was born in rural Westmoreland County, PA, in the comfort of her parents’ home. She spent her childhood days growing up around small farm animals and other woodland critters, starting her life-long love for animals. At the age of three, she became an older sister to twins John and Joyce, she quickly became the readymade babysitter and the scapegoat for them. She graduated from Charleroi High School, then went on to California State College (now known as Pennsylvania Western University California) where she graduated with a BS in Education, before reaching her 21st birthday. That fall, she began teaching in the Central Fulton School District in McConnellsburg as a High School English Teacher, and while teaching, she came to direct the annual Senior Play, something she enjoyed very much.
Around Christmas that year, she met Mel, an alumnus of the school she was now a teacher at, who was on leave from the Army. Unfortunately, he would soon be reporting to the Army Special Warfare School for training prior to his deployment to Vietnam. During his deployment, they kept in touch and within four months of him returning home, she married him. She continued to teach until the birth of her first and only child, a daughter – Rebecca, who quickly became her pride and joy. Kathy took leave from teaching until Rebecca entered kindergarten, at which time she returned to work as a substitute in the Forbes Road School District until openings at her former school were available. After another five years of teaching, she moved with her husband, daughter, and two pets to the Mechanicsburg area. As teaching positions were scarce, Kathy worked at a local printing firm as a proof-reader, and later at the same company, she became an editor. She retired in 2002 to enjoy life, reminisce on her accomplishments, and spend time with her grandchildren.
Kathy had always been an avid reader of many genres and through the books, she fostered interest in the places she read about. She loved to read and would often be found with a book in her hand while on vacation. She visited Florida, Virginia, New England, New Mexico and Alaska, Hong Kong and China, where she and Mel spent five days on a river boat on the Yangtze River. Kathy has cruised around the British Isles, kissed the Blarney Stone and seen the Loch Ness Monster, toured Denmark, Sweden, Finland, cruised the Baltic Sea with stopovers in Russia, Poland, Estonia, and Germany, where she stood on the Berlin Wall and visited the WWII museum. She took multiple cruises to the Caribbean and Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, and made numerous islands stops. She jumped out an airplane (due to a broken gangway door), held a sloth, saw Juan Valdez’s donkey, met the man who discovered the Terracotta Army, got lost in the Forbidden City in Beijing, rode a hydrofoil to Macau, travelled the Hong Kong Harbor from mainland to the island via subway tunnel. When asked about her trips, she was most likely to say what bird or animal she saw or petted.
Kathy loved Bunco, puzzles of any kind, solitaire, and never turned down a chance to beat her grandchildren in card games. She loved baking and was famous in the family for her Christmas cookies. She was always a caring host for family dinners and made sure that no one left hungry. She always found time when working to proofread her daughter’s and later, grandchildren’s book reports, compositions, and term papers for grammar and spelling errors. Kathy was a volunteer at Central Penn Foodbank, tutored students on her own time, and always helped when asked.
She was quiet, patient, graceful and kind. She was knowledgeable about almost any place and yet, would rather talk about her family, animals that fascinated her, things she has seen, or people she had met. She has always been a happy person and enjoyed being with her many friends. The most frequent comment heard about her was, “she’s a nice lady.” Her passing is a loss to everyone who has known her.
All are welcome to join Kathy’s family at her celebration of life open house and gathering of family and friends on Thursday, May 11, 2023, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., with a service beginning at 12:30 p.m., at Buhrig’s Gathering Place, 25 East Main Street, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055, (717) 766-3421 (next to Buhrig Funeral Home & Crematory); with Reverend Roger Keller officiating. Interment will follow in Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville. Cremation was private.
Kathy’s family has entrusted her care to Buhrig Funeral Home & Crematory in Mechanicsburg, (717) 766-3421. Read Kathy’s full obituary, view her memorial video and portrait, offer condolences and sympathy, share stories and memories, upload photographs and videos, light a candle and sign her official guest book by visiting Buhrig.com.
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