Katharine “Kay” Lowry Dietrich, 94, passed away on December 24, 2016, at Bloom of Hilton Head, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. She and her beloved husband of 64 years, the late Marion C. Dietrich, were longtime residents of Columbus, Indiana, before retiring to Hilton Head Island in 2002.
Kay was a woman of grace and intellect who possessed a wry wit and compassionate spirit. Her life was informed by her love for her family, friends, church, and a wide variety of interests, especially music and art.
The daughter of Swift Miller Lowry and Katharine Randall Tener Lowry, Kay was born February 16, 1922, in Cleveland, Ohio. She was an active member of school and church choirs while growing up in East Cleveland. Kay met her future husband, Marion Dietrich, in the seventh grade at Kirk Junior High School. She never missed a chance to see her musical idols, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, on the silver screen. Along with Diet and her twin brother, Bill, Kay graduated from Shaw High School in 1940. Kay furthered her musical talents at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, where she majored in music with an emphasis on vocal performance. Kay and Diet were married February 2, 1944, at Windermere Presbyterian Church, East Cleveland. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in June 1944.
Through several career-related relocations and the birth of four children, Kay’s devotion to music remained unchanged. Whether by piano, flute, bass clarinet, trombone or bassoon, Kay instilled a love of music in each of her children that continues to this day. The tunes of “Oklahoma!,” The King and l” and other cherished Broadway classics often provided accompaniment to early family life. Kay and her husband moved to Columbus in 1961, where both became members of First Presbyterian Church. Kay was a faithful alto choir member for almost 40 years. She served as an Elder and provided experience and insight to the work of the Organ Search Committee and one of the Pastor Search Committees. The role of music in worship and the life of the church held profound meaning for her throughout her life.
Kay also pursued an avid interest in art and sought opportunities to connect more adults and children with art resources in the community. She particularly enjoyed her 27 years as a docent at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, serving as docent chairman in 1990-1991. In Columbus, she was a board member of the IMA-Columbus Branch, the IMA-Columbus and Columbus Arts Council.
Kay and her husband remained devoted supporters of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic throughout their years in Columbus. Once in Hilton Head, they both became members of First Presbyterian Church there. Kay was especially fond of the church’s choir. Her love of orchestral music also continued in Hilton Head, where she enjoyed performances of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra as long as she was able.
She is survived by her children, Katharine Dietrich Werber-McEwen, and her husband, Larry McEwen, of Thousand Oaks, California; Stephen Lowry Dietrich and his wife, Mary, of Gilbert, AZ; John Marion Dietrich and his wife, Beth, of Woodinville, Washington; and Jane Ellen Dietrich of Columbus, Ohio. She is also survived by grandchildren, Kelly Dietrich Habarka, Matthew Lowry Dietrich, Aaron Michael Werber, Emily Miles Dietrich and Devon Marion Dietrich, as well as four great-grandchildren and her cherished sister-in-law, Marian P. Lowry of Hendersonville, North Carolina, and seven nieces and nephews.
Kay was preceded in death by her husband, Marion; her brothers, Stephen Tener Lowry, William John Lowry and Robert Miller Lowry; son-in-law, Elliot Raymond Werber; and grandson, Matthew Marion Werber.
A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Indiana, in the spring, with date and time to be shared as soon as possible. Private interment will take place in the church’s columbarium.
Kay’s family would like to thank the staff of the Memory Care Unit at Bloom of Hilton Head for their devoted, compassionate care. They also thank her expert care team from Agape Hospice of the Low Country, whose help was similarly invaluable.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Columbus, 512 Seventh Street, Columbus, IN 47201, or the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Avenue, FL 17, Chicago, IL 60601.
Arrangements were made by The Island Funeral Home and Crematory.