KATHLEEN A. (GAUL) HUITINK, 68, of Hawarden, Iowa, formerly of Spirit Lake, Iowa and Ireton, Iowa, passed away Wednesday, April 1, 2020, surrounded by her family at Oak Hill Assisted Living in Hawarden after a long and brave battle with ALS.
We will be having a Celebration of Life luncheon for Kathy on Saturday, September 4th from 12pm-2:30pm at the Ireton Community Center (402 4th St). Lunch will be provided and served at 12:15. We welcome all who want to attend this casual gathering to share memories of Kathy and celebrate her life. Thank you. Mike, Jon, Dan, Zach and families.
Kathy was born on November 5, 1951, in Hawarden, Iowa, the daughter of Robert and Audrey (Anderson) Gaul. Kathy attended West Sioux schools, graduating from West Sioux High School in 1970. Kathy was West Sioux’s 1969 Homecoming Queen, a wrestling cheerleader, an “A” student, and an avid Falcon supporter.
At age 16, while attending West Sioux, Kathy met the love of her life, Terry Huitink. They married in Hawarden in 1971, and enjoyed over forty years of marriage. That included raising four boys in Ireton and in the West Sioux School system, and attending countless sporting and other events. Kathy and Terry retired to their dream lake home and their “lake neighbors” in Spirit Lake in 2009.
Kathy’s life was marked by her commitment to teaching and West Sioux Community Schools. She obtained education degrees from Drake University (B.S., 1976) and Morningside College (Masters of Education, 1994). She was a member of the West Sioux Education Association, the Iowa Education Association, and the National Education Association. Kathy taught children for 33 years, both as a preschool teacher in Ireton for 16 years, and as a West Sioux physical education and special education teacher for 17 years.
Kathy had an unwavering commitment to her communities. She treasured her time as a member of the Lambda Pi Sorority of Ireton. She was a church youth group leader. She spent her life supporting West Sioux activities and athletics, and was named the Falcon Wrestling Fan of the Year in 2019, and was recently visited by the Falcon Wrestling Club youth wrestlers at Oak Hill before they traveled to their state tournament. She was an avid Iowa Hawkeyes fan. The staff at Oak Hill lauded her positive attitude and impact on its community, residents and staff, even as she battled the ALS disease that ultimately took her life.
Most of all, Kathy treasured her family. She proudly lived her final years as “Grandma Kathy” to her eight grandchildren, treasuring her time with them through visits or FaceTime. Kathy served as a virtual second mother and grandmother to her nieces, nephews and cousins. Kathy loved and treasured her four boys, and she told a local journalist that she took pride in their choice of spouses who, in her words, “were perfect fits for them.” Kathy persevered through both the devastation of her husband Terry’s untimely death in 2014 and her own ALS battle, to lead her family and remain a fixture at West Sioux and in the community.
Survivors include her children, Michael and Sandy Huitink, and grandchildren Lucas and Kathryn, of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin; Jonathan and Melissa Huitink, and grandchildren Lauren and Alex, of La Grange Park, Illinois; Daniel and Jenna Huitink, and grandchildren Thomas, Allie, Katelyn and Haley of Pella, Iowa; and Zachary and Chelsea Huitink of Syracuse, New York; sisters, Karen (Gary) Marshall of Vermillion, South Dakota and Connie (Ron) Koopmans of Ireton; brother, Steve (Renee) Gaul of Hawarden; sister-in-law, Kim (Dave) Hegedus of Urbandale, Iowa; and many nieces and nephews.
Kathy was preceded in death by her husband, Terry; her father and mother, Robert and Audrey Gaul; her father-in-law and mother-in-law, Willard and Bert Huitink; her brother-in-law, Douglas Huitink passed away on November 10, 2020.