|418 Oakdale Avenue Chicago, Illinois|
Kathryn Winchester Holman was born on April17, 1902 at 418 Oakdale Avenue Chicago, Illinois. Kathryn was the eldest of three children born to John “Jack” Winchester Holman and Katherine Pearl Seeley. Her brother John was born in 1904 and her youngest brother, William, nicknamed “Bill”, was born in 1910. Bill would later become my husband’s father, making Kathryn his aunt.
|John and Kathryn|
In 1910, Kathryn was living with her parents and younger brother at 418 Oakdale Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Her father suffered heart failure and died in 1916, leaving her mother to raise three young children on her own. He was only 44 years old. At the time of her father’s death Kathryn was 14, John was 12 and “baby” Bill was only 6. By that time, the family was living at 540 Roscoe Street, Chicago in a building Jack had purchased.
Kathryn's aunt, Ida Mae Seeley (her mother's sister) lived with them after the death of her father. Ida was an interesting woman in her own right. Bill wrote about her in a family book (Our Archipelago) and described her as “a truly remarkable woman.” In 1902, when the Comanche Indian Territory was opened in Oklahoma, 37 year-old Ida set out on her own to homestead property. Ida will be the subject of a future post – I can promise you that!
Kathryn was educated at Miss Annabelle's School for Girls at Wellington Street in Chicago, Illinois. She studied singing hoping to become a member of the Chicago Civic Opera Company. Kathryn also studied ballet. According to her brother Bill, Kathryn felt her mother unconsciously favored her sons. This may have been true as their mother, Katherine Pearl Seeley, a woman of strong opinion, felt that attending finishing school and having music lessons were the proper education for a young lady.
In 1923, Kathryn was introduced to Charles “Charley” Borroff by her brother John. Their engagement was announced in the March 3, 1929 edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune.
Charley and Kathryn had two children; a girl named Gloria and a boy, Charles Jr.
Kathryn’s brother Bill described her as a warm person who dearly cherished her husband, children, brothers and a small circle of friends. Her nurturing nature was evident even as a young person as she took great care of her brother, Bill when he was suffering from a serious childhood illness.
In the 1940’s Kathryn suffered a nervous breakdown. She was in and out of the hospital for three years. According to her brother Bill, she was "…clear and rational but suffered real pain. This made her irritable and difficult to live with.” Something that helped her with her recovery was working as a Gray Lady at Marine Hospital for paraplegic veterans. Bill wrote, "Their plight caught Kathryn’s concern for people in need and helped her to get back to her normal self." Kathryn fully recovered within five years, a testament to her husband's "general attitude and patience as well as to his love for Kathryn."
Kathryn became very lonely after the death of her husband in 1961 and the marriages of her children. Her childhood friend, Betty Black had moved to Long Island. Another close friend, Virginia Biggs had died. Her brother John had moved to California and her brother, Bill had moved to Connecticut.
Described by brother Bill as “…an articulate person who enjoyed conversation, even argument.”, her loneliness was so acute, she found herself at times conversing with TV commentators, just to have some form of conversation.
Kathryn died of a massive heart attack on February 19, 1970 at the age of 67 in Chicago, IL at her Lake Shore Drive apartment.