Kathryn Secrest

Kathryn Secrest, 84, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019 following an ongoing battle with cancer.
She was born on Dec. 8, 1934. Overcoming a difficult childhood, Kathryn quickly developed a strong sense of purpose and desire to help others. Her love of the arts and the Lord provided her the tools and skills to make a difference in the lives of many. Initially, she began sewing and sending care packages of hand-made toys and stuffed animals to Chicago-area children's homes. From there, she began volunteering at local nursing homes “adopting” individuals who had no families, leading craft and art classes and playing the piano for resident sing-a-longs. During this time, she was blessed with the gift of performance, merging all her talents into becoming a Christian clown. As “Raggedy Patches,” she performed over 200 charitable programs-juggling, performing magic and gently demonstrating the love of God to those in need. Aside from her charitable work, she was a role model to her sons, taught piano, art and Sunday school and directed musical programs for her church.
Following the death of her husband, she moved to Chicago to be closer to one of her sons. During her time in Chicago she continued to pursue her passions-taking art classes at the School of the Art Institute, comedy and improvisation classes at Zanies and Second City and theology classes at Moody Bible Institute. Once again, her desire to create laughter and happy memories became forefront. Joining a small start-up church, she began working with the pastor to form a Christian comedy troupe. Unfortunately, her dream of creating the troupe was cut short by declining health and mobility issues.
Despite her physical limitations, she continued to provide art and piano lessons-including teaching piano to members of her nursing home staff-doing so until just weeks before her death. In addition to her generosity and dedication to people, she loved animals and was well-known in the Lakeview area of Chicago for her 365 day-a-year treks to the park to feed the birds, squirrels and, in particular, one very special white duck.
In her last months, she spent time studying the bible, playing the piano, writing poetry, drawing and most importantly, keeping up with her many treasured pen pals. As part of her legacy, she penned her life story with the goal of letting others know that God can use anyone, regardless of background or upbringing, to do amazing and unexpected things.
Kathryn is survived by her two sons, Allen Secrest, of Chicago and Michael Baker, of Honolulu, HI as well as Michael's wife, Mara and their children and grandchildren.
She was preceded in her death by her father, Nels Bakken; mother, Nora Bakken; brother, Roy Bakken and husband, William Secrest.
A visitation will be held at R.W. Patterson Funeral Home & Crematory in Braidwood on Saturday, Oct. 12 from 4-7 p.m. Interment will take place at Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens in Crown Pointe, IN.
Memorial donations can be made to the American Cancer Society.
For more information and to sign the online guestbook log on to www.rwpattersonfuneralhomes.com or find them on Facebook at R.W. Patterson Funeral Home & Crematory.
R.W. Patterson Funeral Home & Crematory, 401 E. Main St., Braidwood is in charge of arrangements.