Kathleen Angela Rowe, age 63, passed away peacefully at Glens Falls Hospital after fighting long and hard with several debilitating medical conditions. Born Kathleen Vitarelle, she was the daughter of Arnold R and Katherine Vitarelle. She was born in Queens, NY, and grew up in Massapequa on Long Island. She graduated from Amityville Memorial High School, and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Home & Career Skills from Plattsburgh State University. From there, she did some student teaching back on Long Island, before taking her first full-time teaching position at Fort Edward High School. It was in Fort Edward where she met her husband, Stephen, who lived in the apartment next door to hers.
Kathy always loved to tell the story about how they met when she offered him a piece of cake one day. He ate the cake, and they were married four months later. While they had their ups and downs, it was a whirlwind romance that lasted 37 years, and resulted in two great children. While she was a teacher, she was a mother first and foremost. When the children were young, Kathy took a break from teaching to spend as much time as possible with them during their earliest years. She helped out in their school home rooms as much as possible, and nurtured them at home every day. She, like many other mothers, could never, ever really cut the apron strings and they are very appreciative for that.
Kathy’s field in Home and Career skills included a talent for home and interior design. This led her to dream, design, and decorate a new home completely drawn from her own skills and imagination. This desire drove her to return to the workforce, accepting a Home and Career skills teaching position in the Saratoga Springs City School District. Kathy worked at both Maple Avenue and Saratoga High School for several years before teaching solely at the high school. Over her years of teaching she took great pride in getting to know her students, and establishing bonds that have lasted over the passing years. She even had a former student working and comforting her in the hospital ICU, and discussing their memories from class. Kathy also came to know a great many teachers with whom she worked and became friends with. As her loss of sight progressed, several teachers went out of their way to assist her in being able to continue teaching as long as possible. However, regardless of various medical treatments, her medical condition worsened to the point where diabetes took her all of eyesight, and the renal kidney disease progressed to where dialysis was necessary. At this point in time her classroom teaching career came to an end, but her desire to share information whenever possible during day to day contacts never did. While most people can’t wait for the day to retire, she never wanted that. She loved teaching, loved all of her students, and would have traded almost anything to continue teaching and interacting with all those children she cared deeply about.
Together, with her husband Stephen, they became the contractors that built their new home in an ideal location in Queensbury. They contracted out about half of the building tasks, and Stephen assumed responsibility for the other half of building the tasks. To this day, he continues to work on his half of these tasks. As far as Kathy was concerned, finished or not, she loved this home and Stephen more than anything, and was more than satisfied every step of the way. She did a fantastic job in the decorating, and adding design features that will remain forever.
Kathy was a Disneyworld and Disney character fanatic. She loved all of the Disney classic movies, including “The Little Mermaid”, and has an enormous collection of sculptures and other art pieces based upon “Ariel” on display. When Kathy lost all of her sight, it appeared that trips to Disneyworld were no longer a viable consideration. Her thought process drastically changed during her dialysis treatments where she met several staff members that also loved to go to Disneyworld and talk about the same things with her. These conversations, in addition to the possibility of trying to go again raised by Jeremy, ignited a spark that grew into a bonfire. She talked about it and started planning a year in advance, wanting to go at Christmas time again in 2019. Despite the obstacles involved (including dialysis treatments while at Disney), Kathy turned her dream into reality and was able to experience all that Disneyworld had to offer again. Blind or not, kidney disease or not, she went on every single thrilling ride the parks had to offer. The Disneyworld staff were fantastic in accommodating and assisting her and the entire family in getting her on and off every ride. She loved all of her trips to Disneyworld, and had two more trips planned before covid ravaged the world. While Kathy was disappointed when the scheduled trips had to be cancelled, she was still so happy and grateful to have gone again with her family. The only drawback was that being blind, she had a habit of keeping her eyes closed most of the time. All of the pictures of the family on the rides captured this fact. Just to comfort her, Jeremy and Brittany reassured her that it was no big deal though because even when she had her eyesight, her eyes were closed on all the rides in those pictures too!
Kathy was predeceased by her father, Arnold R. Vitarelle, as well as many aunts and uncles. Kathy temporarily leaves behind her husband of 37 years, Stephen. He is truly heartbroken at this time. She is also survived by her children, Jeremy Rowe and Brittany Rowe, whom she loved with all of her heart. She is also survived by her mother, Katherine Vitarelle, her brother and sister-in-law, Arnold II and Eileen Vitarelle, her sister Ginny Vitarelle, as well as a dwindling number of aunts and uncles. Kathy is also survived by several nieces and nephews, and lastly by her very much loved German Shepherds, Zeus and Apollo. The family would like to extend a sincere thanks and much gratitude to the staff at the Glens Falls Renal Center who helped Kathy three times a week for almost 8 years. What you have done for her and her family will never be forgotten. The family would also like to extend the same gratitude and appreciation to Doctor Stratton, Doctor Hoy, and Doctor Bashir for the care they extended to a difficult patient (in more ways than one). Given the continued high covid infection rate, there will be no calling hours. A small family service will be held at a later date in the future. In lieu of flowers, online condolences and/or donations to the American Diabetes Association, The National Kidney Foundation, or The American Cancer Society are most appropriate. Thank you for reading a short version of a fantastic woman’s life in this final tribute. Stay well and God Bless.
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