Katherine Stettinger was born to Frances Wright on July 12, 1943 at Fort Davis, Nome, Alaska.
Katie passed away from pneumonia at the Alaska Native Medical Center on May 27, 2017, with her niece Sherri Lewis and nephew Brian James by her side. Katie was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer “Mycosis Fungicides.” She was the first person in the State of Alaska to be diagnosed with this rare form of cancer, which she courageously battled for nearly the last 20 years of her life. Anyone who knew Katie knew she put up one hell of a fight as she had the will to live for her mother.
At a young age Katie’s mother became very ill and Katie and all of her siblings were taken away and split up because her mother could not take care of them. Katie went to a Catholic orphanage until the age of 14 when her mother was able to get her back and later on she graduated from high school.
Katie was known as a hard worker and in fact she could outwork most men. Katie worked as a housekeeper, maid, bartender and then eventually she went to school in Tulsa, Oklahoma and she got certified in gas and arc welding, unlimited thickness and in all position and she could also wire feed weld as well as TIG/MIG.
Katie was married for a little while in Sparks (Reno), Nevada to her husband and friend Donnie O'Halloran until a strong calling pulled her back to Alaska as she was to independent and strong willed.
Katie did not have any children of her own, but she was a mother to lots of nephews, nieces, cousins and she was a dear friend to all whom were lucky enough to be called a friend.
Katie was a straight shooter and she was not afraid to tell you exactly how it was and her word was her bond.
Katie worked a welder on the Alyeska Pipeline, on the world’s largest offshore gold mining dredge known as the BIMA, Nome Gold, Q-Trucking, City of Nome High school project, City of Nome’s new Power Plant, Ted Stevens International Airport and many other projects. She was unusually known as the only female welder on the job where she worked till her late 60s.
Katie also traveled out to the villages working as a welder and she belonged to the Iron Workers Local Union in Anchorage. Katie also worked as a laborer during construction of the Solomon Bed N Breakfast and as a housekeeper, maid and host for the Village of Solomon.
Katie proudly served on the Village of Solomon Tribal Council, Kawerak Board of Directors, Migratory Bird Council, Kawerak Elder representative and Norton Sound Health Corporation Board of Directors.
Katie loved playing cards and she was an avid pinochle player and she loved to read. Katie also loved being out in the country, especially at Solomon riding four-wheelers, going for snow machine rides, boating and gold mining. She especially loved her pets Buddy and Tuffy and being with her close family and friends.
Katie is preceded in death by her brother Jack and sisters Carol, Julia and Elsie.
Katie leaves behind her sisters Frances “Ducky” Moncrief of Seward, Natalie and John Walker of Tularosa, New Mexico, Rose Totten of Seattle, Washington, her brother Bobby Bahnke of Nome, and her beloved 99-year-old mother Frances Wright of Solomon in QCC and lots’n lots of nieces, nephews, cousins and her best friend Susan.
A funeral for Katie will be held at the Covenant Church on May 13 at 3:00 p.m. with a potluck to follow. Her ashes will be placed in Solomon this summer on July 15, 2017 during her Celebration of Life Service.