Manawa - Kathryn Jean Tews, age 64, departed from this life while at home on Saturday, January 15, 2022, after a lengthy journey with cancer. She was born Kathryn Jean Abraham on May 16, 1957, in New London, Wisconsin, the youngest daughter of Donald and Betty (Nelson) Abraham.
As a child, Kathy decided on the first day of school at St Paul's Lutheran School that she didn’t need school. She refused to get out of the car and her mother drove her back home. Eventually she was convinced that school was an ok place to be. Kathy grew up spending her summer days roller skating, swimming, and fishing at Bear Lake with her sisters, riding her bike with the neighborhood kids, and driving go-carts at her grandpa’s service station.
Despite her early resistance to school, Kathy graduated from Little Wolf High School in 1975, and went on to earn a diploma in Early Childhood Education from Fox Valley Technical College. She went on to inspire a love of reading with children throughout her life and career. Kathy’s love of reading reached beyond her own children and grandchildren; countless school children benefited from her nurturing as she worked as a teacher’s aide and reading specialist at St. Paul’s Lutheran School, New London Head Start, and Sugar Bush Elementary School.
On Christmas 1994, Kathy married Tom Tews, and their two tribes of children came together. Kathy, Tom, and their five children learned how to squeeze in around the kitchen table, survive family road trips in a van, and share the bathroom on Sunday morning. In true “Yours, Mine and Ours” fashion, Kathy would often remark there was “never a dull moment” in the house.
When Kathy wasn’t running her children to orthodontist appointments, athletic events, and after-school activities she found reasons to travel. You never had to ask her twice if she wanted to get out of town; camping trips up north, road trips out West, and jet setting abroad were a fixture on her calendar. Most notable were her frequent fishing trips with Tom to Custer State Park in the Black Hills and fulfilling a longtime dream to visit Dollywood and the Smoky Mountains.
Kathy will be remembered for how much she loved decorating for the holidays and being a grandmother. The only thing bigger than the Christmas tree she decorated each year was her love for the grandchildren. Maybe this is why the grandkids gave her the unusual, yet appropriate name “Dinosaur Grandma” to make sense of her larger-than-life character.
Kathy is survived by husband, Thomas Tews; five children, Anthony Flanagan, Megan (Justin) Timm, Jakob Tews, Sarah (Randy) Backman and Meagan (Thomas) Schweinert; seven grandchildren, Declan and Delta Timm, Logan Tews, Jayden and Whitley Bachman, and Lena and Eli Schweinert; her mother, Betty (Nelson) Abraham; sisters, Jan (Dale) Zettler, Pam (Clayton) Moorehouse and Deborah Krueger; nieces and nephews. Kathy was preceded in death by her father Donald Abraham; and infant sister Sandra Hendricks.
Per her wishes, the family will forgo a funeral service. Instead the family is holding a Celebration of Kathy’s Life on Sunday, June 26, 2022 at Bear Lake Resort, Manawa. Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery, Weyauwega. Invitation and details to follow.
The family would like to extend sincere gratitude to Dr. Augelli of ThedaCare Cardiovascular Care Appleton, the hospice nursing team, and Kathy’s supportive, lifelong friends, especially the “St. Paulie Girls.”
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. You may also remember Kathy by planting a tree, taking time for conversations with people with special needs, and reading a book with a child.