Mary Catherine Holmberg

Mary Catherine Holmberg


Holmberg, MaryMary Catherine (Kay) Holmberg was born on a farm in Seneca, Kansas- the eldest of ten children born to William Clement and Edith (Olberding) Kokenge.

She graduated from Saint Peter and Paul High School and played the violin in the school orchestra. After graduation she moved to Topeka Kansas where she was employed at the Santa Fe Railroad Company as a statistician.

Kay met Army Lieutenant Jean Holmberg who had returned from fighting with General George Patten in Anzio Italy. They married on November 3, 1944 in Saint Peter and Paul Church in Seneca Kansas. The union lasted 60 years until Jean’s death in 2003.

She traveled with her army husband to several states while he was stationed at German prisoner of war camps. When the war ended she accompanied her husband, a geophysicist, across the Western United States as he searched for oil. Along the way Jean and Kay became the proud parents of four daughters and one son.

Kay was devoted to her family and friends. The Holmberg family lived in Bartlesville, OK for a number of years where they purchased a ranch and raised Angus Cattle and quarter horses. As an accomplished seamstress, Kay made beautiful clothing for her four daughters and herself as well as western suits for her daughters to wear in horse show competitions.

Throughout her life she remained active in the Catholic Church, serving on numerous church committees and actively participated in other volunteer activities including Cub Scouts, Sooner Saddlers, garden and bridge clubs.

The family was transferred to Oklahoma City in 1967 when her youngest child was a junior in high school. It was then that Kay decided to work for pay in addition to volunteer activities and found work as a file clerk at Founders Bank and Trust. Over the course of her 19 year tenure, she was steadily promoted, retiring in 1985 as Auditor, Vice President.

After retirement she continued to actively volunteer with the E.A.R.C and “Hopefully Yours” up until her death.

Kay is survived by her children Patricia (Jerry) Strang of McMinnville, OR; Michelle (Danny) Silver of Depew, OK; Judy Becker of Edmond, OK; Carole Holmberg of Oklahoma City, OK; William (Angie) Holmberg of Edmond, OK; James (Betty) Grollmes of Perry, KS along with eight grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.

She is also survived by 5 siblings, Alice Serres of Woodburn, OR; Jerene Champoux of Yakima, WA; Deanna Nault of Seattle, WA; Dr. Roy Kokenge of Yakima, WA; and Dan Kokenge of Redding, CA.

She was preceded in death by her parents William and Edith Kokenge, a sister Elsie Gress and 3 brothers Harry Kokenge, William Kokenge and Albert Kokenge.

She truly lived the American dream. In the course of her life, she lived on a farm prior to the availability of electricity and other modern conveniences, lived through the Dust Bowl and Great Depression; married and raised a family, witnessed the first atomic bomb detonation in New Mexico, man’s first step on the moon, first female governor and the first African American President of the United States.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Edmond, on Thursday Dec. 11th at 10:30 am. Interment will follow at Gracelawn Cemetery.

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