Friday, March 02, 2007

Kathy Worthington

Kathy Worthington 1950 ~ 2007 Kathy Worthington was born Oct. 20, 1950 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She died at her home in Taylorsville on February 22, 2007. The fourth child of six, Kathy grew up in Utah, Arizona and California. Kathy loved school and loved to learn about the world. She discovered her love of languages at the University of Utah. Never one to do anything halfway, Kathy went to Mexico in 1972 to study Spanish. While there, she met and married Rudy Juarez (later divorced) and had two girls: Rita Lucia (Lucy) and Sonia Cristina (Cristy). Kathy also busied herself helping to build a community for the poor, and taught English for three years. Upon her return to the U.S., Kathy's hands were full raising two children and working full time. In 1989 Kathy came out as a lesbian. She immediately immersed herself in the gay community and soon gained celebrity status via her prominent role as a gay rights activist. She organized women's social and support groups, planned political rallies and was on the board of the Utah Stonewall Center in its early days. She founded the Womyn's Community Newsletter in April of 1991, which was published for four years. This influential publication played a pivotal role in creating a cohesive lesbian community in Utah. In 1992 Kathy's heart was utterly won over by Sara Hamblin, the woman whom Kathy described as her "wife, life partner and best friend." The two participated in political rallies, marched in Washington, and were married at "The Wedding," the huge group union ceremony performed at the 1993 March on Washington for gay rights. Kathy and Sara were legally married in Canada in 2003. In their 14 years together they traveled widely, visiting 17 countries as well as much of the U.S. Sara was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995. They immediately became experts on the disease. Through their studies and determination, they successfully fought off the disease for 11 years.

After a battle with the U.S. Postal Service, her employer from 1986 to her death, Kathy was granted leave in May of 1997 to care for Sara during her cancer treatments, a highly celebrated victory for the gay community. Sara died at home in Taylorsville on February 21, 2006 with Kathy and their family by her side.

Kathy's reach extended beyond even her own imagining. Her name is everywhere, from her direct and poignant postings regarding Sara's battle with breast cancer on, to her prominent work in the ex-Mormon community. She was the founder and administrator of the preeminent website providing information on resignation from the Mormon Church,

Her work in the gay community cannot be overstated. Kathy's generosity reached even further. She agreed to translate for a woman who was shot by her husband. Once, while discussing this series of events, Sara summed up Kathy's irrepressible drive to reach out to others: "Kathy gets confused about words sometimes. Maybe in Spanish the word 'translate' means to take someone under your wing and do everything you possibly can for them, no matter what time of day or night, no matter the distance, no matter the danger. If that's what the word means, then Kathy did an excellent job of 'translating.'" Kathy was a healing and informative force unleashed upon the world. Kathy changed lives, from Sara's, who said she went from being in the closet to "out on the front porch with spot lights turned on," to close friends, to those she never even met through her work in the community and on her websites.

Kathy is preceded in death by her wife, Sara Hamblin, their "Big Boy" Chiffy, mother Luella, father Dale and brothers Rick and Allen. She is survived by daughters, Cristy and Lucy, former husband Rudy Juarez (Ronnie), sister Dolly (Larry), brothers Marty (Gayleen) and Craig (Debra), and her cats Missy and Squeaky. Jude, Dianna, Kathy, Annette, Chuck, Penny, Mandy, Marie and Misty are special friends who were very close to Kathy, and have been especially supportive in this last year. Marilyn knows what comfort she brought to Kathy, and her family is overwhelmed by their appreciation for her. Special thanks to Margie and Alma for their support. Kathy's family extends their thanks to those who loved and followed Kathy through her eventful and influential life. Kathy's wish was to be cremated and her ashes joined with Sara's. The two were never meant to be separated.

A memorial for those who wish to celebrate Kathy's life will be held Sunday, March 4, 6-8 p.m. at the I.J. and Jeann' Wagner Jewish Community Center at 2 North Medical Drive, SLC; 581-0098. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Utah Pride Center ( or Best Friends Animal Sanctuary ( A tribute to both Kathy and Sara may be found at

"Sometimes I feel downright wealthy," Kathy once said. "We are managing to do so many things that are exciting and fun that I feel very fortunate." Those of us whose lives were touched by Kathy's spirit feel just as fortunate to have known her.


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