Katherine was born in Rock Rapids, IA on April 16, 1918. She excelled through the school system and graduated from Wilson High School in 1936. She taught at the McGraw School in Lyon County, IA, for seven years, a one-room schoolhouse where both she and her father John attended.
She married George Norris in 1943 and together they lived and worked in Cedar Rapids, IA, and raised two sons. They were married for 66 years. In 1961, she became the first woman in her family to receive a college degree, achieving a BA at Coe College.
She served as first-grade teacher and reading specialist in the Linn-Mar school district in Marion, IA, for 24 years, retiring in 1983.
She enjoyed reading, needlework and baking. She had a quick wit and loved to laugh. Katherine dearly believed in the lifelong nobility of the individual: that all people deserve respect from the youngest age. As Dr. Seuss put it, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
She was preceded in death by her parents John and Louise Kerns, two brothers, three sisters, her husband George in 2008, and her sons James and Alan in 2017.
She is survived by her daughters-in-law, Amy and Donna, her grandchildren, Jack (Lauren), Betsy (Jeff), Joe, Laura, and Chris Martino (Katie) and her great-grandchildren, Lyle, Gideon, Elliot and Hope, as well as several nieces and nephews.
The family will honor her in a private service later this month. In lieu of flowers, please direct donations to this classroom project for young readers in Cedar Rapids https://donorschoo.se/e/mHFeVPljsR