Kathleen Grace Oblinger died peacefully on Friday, March 30 surrounded by her family at Ebied Hopsice Residence after a brief stay there.
Born Oct. 14th, 1939 in Toledo, OH to Mildred Turner and George Walsh, she is preceded in death by her parents, and her two older sisters, Erma Jean Walsh and Phyllis Krupp. Kathy graduated Waite High School in 1957 and went to work for the Toledo Blade’s Art Department, where she was frequently photographed as a publicity model. She then worked at the Beauty Salon within Lamson’s Department Store. In 1964, Kathy was offered a promotion to Manager at a sister Salon located within the May Company Department Store in Lorain, OH. She accepted the position and relocated to Lorain with her daughter Lisa, where they subsequently spent seven years as part of the John Ricci family. Returning to Toledo in 1972, Kathy held various Management positions for companies including Home Furniture and Capital Tire.
Kathy married William Oblinger in 1986. Together they pursued their love of back roads travel, appreciation of food, and for a time country living. Their lives together always included: pets, bird watching, sunset gazing, gardening, listening to music and creating things. They established their business “Milk Room Crafts” to sell their handmade Americana creations all around the mid-west. At their home in Point Place, they created a back-yard wildlife refuge surrounded by flower gardens. Kathy discovered her talent for painting well after her 1994 Parkinson’s diagnosis, developing a skill that far surpassed her lack of formal training. She shared a painting studio with her husband, painting alongside him for five very prolific years. As the Parkinson’s slowly robbed her of her dexterity, she painted less and less until she could no longer get the paint to do her bidding. Kathy’s paintings can be seen by clicking here.
Kathy spent many years as one of the charter members of the Delay the Disease Parkinson’s exercise class run by Michele Masterson at UTMC. Throughout her disease progression, she stayed amazingly strong in spirit as she lost the ability to paint, to walk, and even to speak. However difficult her physical circumstances, she maintained her kindness, her sassy sense of humor, her delight in the natural world, and her devoted concern and love for her husband, daughter and extended family.
Left to cherish her memory are her husband William Oblinger; her daughter Lisa Ricci and her partner Joe Sparks; step daughters Lisa Oblinger, Connie Hill, Robin Santos and her husband Rick Santos; grandchildren Sarah and Ricki Santos, and Ross and Lewis Hill. We offer heartfelt thanks to all her home caregivers that allowed us to keep her in her familiar surrounding until the very near the end. There will be a garden party to celebrate her memory at 2pm on Sunday, May 27th at her home, 4487 290th St, Toledo, OH. Guests are welcome to help us celebrate her love of flowers with homemade bouquets. Her ashes will then be interned at the family plot in Toledo Memorial Gardens. Call William Oblinger at 419-304-6805 to let us know if you will be attending memorial.