The recent passing of beloved neighbor and friend Kathy Kyle Mortimer saddens our community. Kathy passed away at home, surrounded by her loved ones, following a brief battle with cancer.
A graveside memorial service is planned for Saturday at the Mottsville Cemetery starting at 2 p.m. A celebration of her life will commence immediately afterward at the Country Club restaurant on Riverview Drive in the Gardnerville Ranchos.
Kathy was a fourth generation Gardnerville resident. She and her husband, Alan, began dating in 1976 and married in 1980. That same year, they opened Mort’s Auto Body and Towing; Kathy managed the office and all the bookwork, and even drove the tow truck for 15 years. Once grandkids arrived, Kathy gave up the keys to the truck but continued to run the shop with Alan until their retirement in 2003.
“The grandkids came and they called her Granny,” Alan said. “Pretty soon, everyone called her that.”
Kathy was devoted to her family and to helping others. “She just opened her door to everyone,” said Alan. “Tough but loving. That’s her in a nutshell.”
The family enjoyed traveling and spending time outdoors hunting, fishing, camping, and visiting their property in Pioche. Riding ATV’s was another favorite pastime. “She was nuts on them,” Alan said. “She’d go places on them that I never would, and she loved speed.”
Alan recalled a time when he and Kathy were deer hunting in Austin. They were in close quarters and unable to bathe due to freezing weather. After three days, Kathy decided she’d had enough and insisted Alan pour water from a semi-frozen stream over her head so she could wash her hair. “She got the worst ice cream headache from that,” Alan said. “She was screaming and hollering – it was not a good time.”
Soon after that incident they learned that not 15 miles away was a hot spring where they could have bathed – and they did the next time they visited Austin. That led to another passion of exploring hot springs throughout their many travels. “I don’t think we went to all of them in Nevada, but we were close,” Alan laughed.
Kathy’s deep love for Nevada, specifically for Douglas County and its rich history, led her to volunteer for the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center. She enjoyed interacting with the public while working the desk at the museum and also served as a trustee and board member for the historical society.
This past weekend, I sat with Alan on the front porch of the home he and Kathy shared. Sunlight filtered through the trees and a slight breeze blew as Alan recalled stories of an adventurous life with his beloved spouse. I told him how much my family enjoys the elaborate decorations they always display during Halloween and Christmas, how this adds to the festive feeling in our neighborhood.
“This house, this neighborhood, is built on land that was part of my grandfather’s old ranch,” Alan said. “This was our dream home. There is so much history. So many memories.” He looked out across the lawn as the afternoon light waned. “We had a good run.”
Amy Roby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.