Kathryn (Kite) M. Healy Thorne passed on to everlasting peace, May 1, 2022, at McKay Creek Estates, Pendleton with the support and love of her daughters by her side. Her circle of life on earth is complete. Kathryn was the first-born child to her parents Henry Lazinka Jr. and Jennie (Johnson) Lazinka. She was born October 19, 1930 in Portland, due to the fact that her mother Jennie thought delivering amongst her nursing school graduate classmates was a more favorable choice. From Kathryn’s childhood forward, there was no doubt Kathryn would choose the country over the city in everything she did. She was a very young, red headed, freckled faced little girl when she acquired her nickname “Kite”. Because of her unbridled energy and ambition, a Portland lawyer visiting the ranch thought she was “as busy as a kite”. And for the next 91 years she proved them right.
She loved everything about the ranch and recalled spending many days horseback with her childhood hero, Granddaddy Henry Lazinka Sr. Adventure was nothing new to him as he had sailed around the Horn of South America not once, but twice. He Left Poland with the dream, determination and desire of a better life in America. With many trials and hardships, he somehow-someway made his way to the beautiful Ukiah country where his dream of building a cattle ranch became true. After Henry’s return trip to Poland, he brought back his bride Minna, and sister Clara. Kathryn grew up in the family home with 2 languages spoken at the dinner table- German and English. It is easy to understand why Kathryn and her Grandad were a great pair. For Kathryn’s first 12 years she cherished their time together as there was always an adventure on the horizon. With the abundant love of her parents, good years continued with her siblings, Jean, Bobby, Judy and Mary Lou.
Kathryn started her early grade school years at Ukiah. Tap dancing and sledding off the hill at Ukiah were vivid memories. The family had a home in downtown Ukiah so when travel from the ranch was difficult they stayed in town. After a couple years the family moved into Pendleton during the school year. She was involved in many extra curriculum activities and excelled in sports. Every opportunity given, on weekends or summertime, she was at the ranch. She dreaded the drive over Battle Mountain as she always suffered with car sickness. (The car sickness didn’t seem as bad if they were hauling horses). On another occasion, her “Daddy” had Kite (16 years old) and sister Jean (14 years old) haul a load of 2-year-old steers from Ukiah, down the Columbia River Gorge, delivered to the Portland Stock Yards. They learned responsibility young and were capable. She graduated from PHS in 1948. Kathryn attended OSU just long enough to know “I learned that the downpour of rainstorms every day wasn’t for me.” She happily went back to wonderful dry Eastern Oregon.
She competed in Mustangers Horse Shows, Ukiah Rodeos, Heppner Rodeos and others. She was a standout on the Mustangers Baton Relay Race teams and roping in the prestigious Round-Up arena. She had no fear and only determination when she was aboard a horse. She was a princess on the 1949 Pendleton Round-Up court and Queen in 1950. Kite handled jumping the wooden rail fences with grace and enthusiasm all in one package. A memorable highlight of her reign was presenting First Lady Margaret Truman a bouquet of red roses during President Truman’s May 10, 1950 “major address from a platform” stop at the Union Pacific Railroad Depot. There was an estimated crowd of 20,000. Another adventure was driving her court princesses to the Calgary Stampede. Her court director told her she was “a way better driver than me.”
She was employed by the Oregon State Hospital as secretary for many doctors. She excelled in taking dictation by Shorthand. She loved bookkeeping and worked for many businesses. She wrapped meat for Shea Lockers and later they hired her for their bookkeeper. In her sixties, she conquered learning how to run a computer and updated the ranch books to Quicken.
On May 1, 1954, Kathryn married William J (Bill) Healy and the Healy Ranch on Butter Creek became her home for life. They both shared a love for ranching and a family with 6 daughters was the bonus. Yes, 6 girls and no boys! Her mother-In- Law Annie Healy lived with them for several years. Kathryn said Annie was a wonderful woman and she admired her kindness immensely. Kathryn was busy being a housewife, raising six girls, preparing meals for 9 people, and every once in a while, working with Bill and his brother Tom Healy on the ranch. Kathryn said that Uncle Tom was the one who taught her about the sheep. It didn’t take long before the sheep joined her favorite list with the cattle and horses. Many KY Healy Ranch raised quarter horses became champions in the rodeo arena throughout the Northwest and beyond. She had cow dogs throughout her life, and they were treated like her best friend.
It wasn’t unusual for the Healy girls to take 30 head of livestock to the Morrow County Fair. Kathryn’s roping skills came in handy when a rather uncomfortable situation arose when one of the steers became a wild runaway. Ironically, the steer went on and won Grand Champion Market Steer. Bill and Kathryn gave their daughters endless opportunities. Although the Healy ranch was a 50-mile round trip to school in Heppner, Kathryn and Bill always encouraged their girls to excel in school, sports, and 4-H. Kathryn and Bill weren’t able to attend all their girls’ events, but they were their greatest supporters. Until the girls were old enough to drive, they stayed in town with relatives. Kathryn said she always knew they were in good hands. Similar to her childhood, work on the Healy Ranch was a family affair. Moving sprinkler pipe, haying, harvesting and moving cattle were a priority. Rock picking and pulling rye were dreaded. During the summer, it wasn’t unusual to see 6 horses tied all day to the hitching post in front of the house. It was simply the means of travel and pleasure. A family vacation was going to Lehman Springs for the day.
Her husband Bill died on October 2, 1993. She continued sharing her knowledge and passion for the ranch with family members Butch and Mary Knowles, and grandsons Brian and Blake. She married Glen Thorne on June 17, 1995, who also had been widowed, and they had several years of good times until his death in 2003.
A cherished special time for Kathryn was when Patti was a princess and Queen of the Pendleton Round- Up (1970/1971) and Janice followed in (1979/1980). It was summers filled with many good people, creating friendships that lasted a lifetime. One of the greatest thrills of her life, at 80 years young, was riding in the Western Ho Parade at the 2010 100 Year Anniversary of the Pendleton Round-Up. She enjoyed watching and cheering on many family members competing in rodeos.
Kathryn is survived by daughters; Patti (Robert) Adair, Joan (John) Hays, Susan (Paul) Hisler, Mary (Butch) Knowles, and Maureen (Shane) Crossley. Brother Robert (Sandy) Lazinka, Sisters; Judy (Ron) Currin and Mary Lou (Robert) O’Rourke. 18 Grandchildren, 34 Great-Grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Jennie Lazinka, husband William J Healy, daughter Janice Healy Davis, grandson Shad Hisler husband Glen Thorne and sister Jean Lazinka Barbouletos.
A Rosary will be held Friday, May 6, 2022, at 7: 00 pm at St Patrick Catholic Church, Heppner, Oregon. A Celebration of Life Catholic Mass will be held Saturday. May 7, at 11:00 am, also at St. Patrick Catholic Church.
For charitable contributions please consider, Shriners Hospital for Children, 3101 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd., Portland OR 97239, or Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, 700 SW Campus Dr., Portland, OR 97239 or the Pendleton Round-Up Hall of Fame, PO Box 609, Pendleton, OR 97801.
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