Kathleen “Kat” June Szalay (McMahon) left this world on her final journey to be with her Lord and Savior on April 5th of 2022. She was 66 years old.
To sum up Kathleen’s life in only a few paragraphs is nearly an impossible task as she danced to her own tune and lived her life large. She was born to Frank J, and June R. McMahon (Sleasman) in Aberdeen, Washington on October 8, 1955.
Her favorite things growing up were swimming at the family property at Lost Lake, camping with her family, walking on the beach and visiting with and playing with cousins and friends. She loved to explore and was always looking for that next challenge, be it hiking, traveling, or bringing joy to her family. She graduated from North Thurston High School in 1974 and began a life of adventure and travel. She decided soon after graduation that she would love to see Central America, so she and a friend packed a small suitcase and hit the road for her first great adventure. Thus began her travels. Only that friend knows for sure how far south they got, but Kathleen was now the great wanderer of the family. When she returned home, you could tell she was bitten by the need to meet new people…and off she went.
Soon after she returned home, she packed up her dog and loaded her green van, and off to Santa Cruz she went. She began working for the US Postal Service, and that provided her the means and ability to travel even more. Over the years, she explored parts of Europe, and especially loved France. She moved back to Olympia, where she married Daniel E. Clark (aka Thaddeus E. Wight) in August of 1980 and continued to work at the post office. On December 17th, 1981, her beautiful daughter Alden Rose was born in Olympia. She and Daniel divorced and she and Alden moved back to California for a short time, then packed their bags and headed to Hawaii. Alden was the light of her life and her reason for being. She loved her deeply. Her daughter and granddaughters were the grandest elements of her life, and nothing was more important to her.
Kathleen and Alden lived in Lahaina on the Island of Maui beginning in December 1986 and she continued working with the post office and began her much loved career working in hospitality, event planning and travel. Eventually, in 1995 the pair returned to Washington living first in Belfair and then Hoquiam where she met Danial Szalay while living and caring for her Great Uncle Donald Eddy who was nearly 100 years old. Kathleen and Danial were married in January of 1999, and the adventures continued when the couple moved to Florida. Danial and Kathleen eventually went their separate ways but remained married until Kathleen passed. Over the years Kathleen lived in several places returning time and again to both Florida and Washington, her homes on each coast. She lived on Harstine Island, WA in 2010, Rochester, NY in 2014 and from 2018 to 2021 in Spokane, WA from which she returned to Florida for the final time in August 2021.
She was one of the kindest and most compassionate people ever. She felt things very deeply and had the biggest heart. Her energy lit up a room and her laughter was absolutely contagious. She loved people, life and music and would often dance and sing her way into a room. She was always up for a trip and lived in and visited so many beautiful places making friends for life all along the way. She was an amazing friend to many and loved her family, friends, and cousins dearly. She loved to travel and explore but always said her happiest place on earth was Harstine Island. She was drawn to warm places and water and could often be found playing her Congas or listening to Jackson Browne.
Anyone who knew Kathleen knew that she was incredibly kindhearted. She had an immense passion for her daughter and granddaughters as well as her brother and sisters. Kathleen’s family and friends will miss her more than any words can say.
Kathleen is predeceased by her parents, Frank J. and June R. McMahon, and her older sister Patricia Berne Ostenson (McMahon) and is survived by her daughter Alden Rose Marley (Clark), her Granddaughters Aura Rose Parasida and Dresden June Joyce Marley, her younger sister Peggy Maureen Clemo (McMahon), her older brother Frank M. McMahon, her bonus sister Katherine Irene Sugrue (McMahon), many nieces and nephews and countless cousins and friends.
A Celebration of Life at Harstine Island will be planned at a later date.