Kathryn Nohle Sia was born October 10, 1942, in Los Angeles, California, to Johanna and Carl P. Nohle, and passed away February 18, 2022, in Fort Worth, Texas. She was the youngest of four children (following Helen, Carla, and Robert).
Los Angeles was not where the family lived but was the nearest hospital that would help a German immigrant in labor. Kathryn was premature and was sent home in a shoebox with instructions to keep her warm in the oven with the door open.
She graduated from Receda High School. The graduating class was so large that Kathryn was unaware her sister-in-law Martha graduated from the same school in the same year until a decade later.
Kathryn briefly attended Brigham Young University because, as she told everyone who asked, it “had no entrance exams, was driving distance from L.A. and had good skiing.” While a student she snuck into some Olympic trials, met Cassius Clay, won a street drag race, and by her own admission avoided all academic things.
In 1964, she met and married Chinese immigrant David Sia in California. They married one year before the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act did away with the last vestiges of the Asian Exclusion Act. The couple soon moved to Lima, Peru. The brief marriage ended near the birth of a daughter, Tiffiny Lee in 1968. Kathryn went into labor at her parents’ home on Anderson Island (the southernmost island in Puget Sound), and was rushed across Puget Sound in the middle of the night by a ferry captain, who for years claimed he had never made a faster run. After giving birth and convincing hospital staff in Tacoma, that a divorced, white woman could raise a mixed-race baby, Kathryn got a job at Burlington Northern Railroad. About 10 years later, her daughter started calling her “Skugi.” Those who met her through her daughter usually called her Skugi, while the rest of her friends and family stuck with some derivation of Kathryn.
Kathryn was a world traveler who visited three continents, more than 20 countries, and half the U.S. states. She enjoyed several trips to Europe and saw Pele’s 1958 debut in the Germany-Brazil world cup final in Sweden. In 1987, she went backpacking across Germany, Italy, Austria, and Greece with her daughter.
When Burlington Northern merged with Santa Fe in 1995, she was transferred from Seattle, Washington, to Fort Worth, Texas, where her daughter was getting a Ph.D. She worked for the railroad for 30 years as a clerk and occasionally union officer. She hated every minute of her career, although she always enjoyed riding trains.
Upon retiring from the railroad, she became active in volunteer work that she loved. She drove for Meals on Wheels for over a decade; worked at a local food bank distributing food and recipes; sorted clothes at Neighbors in Need; tutored children in a “Read to Win” program; and rescued Rottweilers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Dachshunds. She donated blood regularly for an astonishing 60 years.
Her hobbies included floral and landscape photography, sewing Renaissance clothes, and cooking exotic cuisine. She sewed her own costumes and made costumes for many others, including princesses, pirates, belly dancers, and court jesters.
Kathryn was always an involved member of her neighborhood church. The denomination depended on what was in her neighborhood. She picked her churches based on their demonstrable ability to “love their neighbors” in all their diversity. She has been part of a local Unity church, Lutheran Church (St Mathew’s), and ended her life in the gracious care of and fellowship with the Jehovah Witnesses.
Kathryn is survived by her daughter, Tiffiny Sia; her sister Carla; a dozen or so nieces, nephews, cousins, friends; and her Diva Dachshund Bonnie.
In lieu of flowers choose from the following ways to celebrate Kathryn’s life.
- Listen to or attend a musical or opera, Kathryn’s current favorites include “La Boheme,” “Cabaret,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Book of Mormon,” and “Hamilton.” (She saw all but Hamilton live).
- Visit a national, state, or neighborhood park. Kathryn never met a park she didn’t like but was particularly fond of Big Bend National Park, Glacier National Park, Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, and Trinity Park, in Fort Worth.
- Donate blood or sign up for the Bone Marrow Registry. Kathryn was registered but never called to be a bone marrow donor
- Try to cook (or eat) some exotic cuisine. Kathryn’s favorites were Middle Eastern, Korean, Indian, Thai, and anything she had never tried before.
- Attend a Renaissance Faire in costume.
- Visit a local botanical garden, Japanese garden, water garden, or rock garden.
- Adopt a large, black, senior dog from a shelter. These are the dogs least likely to get adopted and were Kathryn’s most frequent rescues.
- Watch or read a British mystery, Kathryn’s favorites were mystery heroes were Hercule Poirot and Father Brown. She loved any mystery with great ambiance.
- Support the Horned Frogs (either the endangered reptile or her beloved TCU football team).
- Volunteer at Meals on Wheels, local food bank, or a literacy program in your area.
- Go to a museum, even the weird ones. In Fort Worth, Kathyn enjoyed the Kimbell, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and the National Cowgirl Museum. She also loved the weird little nutcracker museum in Seguin.
- Go to a wine, beer, mead, or cheese tasting. Kathryn enjoyed the adventure, even when she didn’t like the taste.
- Support one of her causes, like Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Ocean Conservancy, Nature Conservancy, or World Wildlife Fund.
- Try a book/movie/music genre you don’t think you will like. You may surprise yourself by finding something you do like.