I was born on Aug. 8, 1957 in Los Angeles, Calif., in the back of a taxicab to Pauline Ridling, Tommy Byrum and my sister, Linda. When I was about 6, my mother married Doug “Cookie” Cook. Linda and I joined a new family that came with siblings Mike, Daryl and Michelle.
Doug was a famous professional race car driver in the 1950s and 1960s. He and his partners were known as Stone, Woods and Cook. Our lives revolved around racing and being at the track. Big John Mazmanian, another famous driver, was very close to our family. He was like an uncle to me. Later in life, both men were inducted into the NHRA Racing Hall of Fame. It was a wonderful time. And then, as life has a way of happening, Doug was in a terrible crash. He survived, but my family was shattered. I spent a lot of time at the beach surfing and laying in the sun. It was a difficult time.
Not long after, I found myself in Nebraska, of all places, at my Aunt Bonnie’s house. I’d spent time with her over the years and she was always a loving and stabilizing force in my life. Thank you for your love and kindness, Aunt Bonnie. Your intervention led me on the best journey of my life . . . yes, in Nebraska.
For it was in Nebraska, Valentine to be exact, that something remarkable happened to this California girl, I met my soul mate, Thomas Feltes. We were married on April 7, 1984. Shortly thereafter, we moved to North Platte. Tom got started in the car business and I went into banking. It was a natural fit for both of us. I loved helping people and had a gift for resolving issues with difficult customers. I especially loved our elderly customers and they loved me. They would often wait in line to see me.
In 1997, we purchased Plum Creek Motors and moved to Lexington. Tom and I were a team. Our business was the perfect opportunity to meet and fall in love with so many people in the community. I was a pretty good salesperson, if I do say so myself, and looked for every opportunity to promote our business. We loved to entertain and had so many wonderful events at the store and at our house. In preparation for those events, I studied and practiced cooking. I read every book I could get my hands on. I would even correspond with the chefs who wrote the books by email and phone. When we would travel for the dealership, I’d research the chefs in the area and spend time with them. They loved it as much as I did and always treated us very special. Over time, I became a legendary chef in Lexington who threw legendary parties. We always did our best to make each and every event special and a time to remember.
One of my superpowers is the ability to see the heart in people and animals. I could connect with them instantly on a deep level. Through those connections, I became very active in rescuing animals, helping stranded travelers, feeding the homeless and researching cures for friends with health challenges. My love of food provided a perfect way to support and touch many people. So many of those moments evolved my spirit and expanded my capacity for love. I believe each of us are connected to every person and everything on this Earth. Even though, we may not always remember that.
As all lives are filled with transitions, my time for transition has come. I want to thank my treasured friends, family and medical staff who weathered this storm with me. Most of you may not know this, but I stopped communicating with the outside world in my last few months. Many didn’t know how sick I was. These were especially difficult times, not just for me, but also for my husband, Tom. He cared for my every need and never left my side. My beloved friends and family were also by my side. They insisted on feeding my spirit in my darkest hours. I felt your love, but just wasn’t able to manage seeing
or speaking to many of you during these times. I want you all to remember how special each of you are. I want you to remember the great times that we had together. I want you to carry the love I had for each of you in your hearts.
Most especially, I want to thank you, Tom, for all the love and laughter and for standing by me right to my last breath. I want you to know how much I love you and how very proud of you I am. May you connect with the brilliancy of your own spirit every day. May you always remember that obstacles in the path are not obstacles . . . they ARE the path. It’s that path that allows our spirits to grow. This too is part of the path and your path continues on.
My beloved Tom, Bentley, Abby, Basil and Coconut. My beloved friends and family. How precious you all have been to me. I was given the gift of life, and now I must give it back. This is hard. But I was a lucky woman, who led a charmed life, and for this I am grateful. Knowing and loving each one of you was the success story of my life.
Until we meet again on the other side, have a beautiful day. I’m happy to have been here with you.
All my love,
Katherine D. Feltes
Memorial Celebration Of Life will be held on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church with Pastor Eddie Mariel, officiating.
Memorials are suggested to Paw Prints of Dawson County or Lexington Community Foundation.
Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington is honored to be assisting the family with arrangements. Please share online condolences with the family by visiting: reynoldslovefuneralhome.com