Spontaneous, loyal, protector, lovable, mom
Katie was a character. She was free-spirited, happy, bubbly, and very animated. As a child, she imitated Disney movies, sitting in front of a mirror talking with Grandmother Willow or playing the roles of Simba and Nala. She was a lot of fun. She loved new adventures, rollercoasters, Halloween Horror Nights, and her son, Ryder.
Katie could be a little ditzy at times, doing things like washing her car in the rain, backing into vehicles in the driveway, and wearing two different socks. When asked by her stepdad, Jimmy, to stick a fork through the potatoes to prepare them for the oven, he found seven potatoes with a fork in each one. Her ways were charming, she was likable, happy, and had many friends. Katie enjoyed jet skiing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and flying through the air on a tube behind her dad, Steve’s, boat.
Katie loved taking care of her younger brother and sister, Eddie, and Marianna. She was protective and liked to dress them up, especially on their first day of school. Katie often told her mom that she was raising her sister, Marianna, not mom. Though this was an exaggeration, Marianna’s boyfriend did come to Katie to ask permission to marry her sister.
Katie was very family-oriented. Holidays and birthdays were a BIG thing and had to be shared with family. She treated her birthday like a national holiday! Every Christmas, family pictures were taken. In 2020, Katie was absent so her brother, Eddie, held a picture of her so she could be represented. Her son, now four, was the love of Katie’s life. She and Ryder’s father, Mike, were happy together when not in active addiction. Ryder is now being raised by Katie’s mom, Paula, and stepdad, Jimmy.
A turning point for Katie in her drug use was the death of her brother Steven, who died at 30 from the flu when Katie was 23. She spiraled badly after that. Katie went for treatment in California and was drug-free for three years, until after Ryder was born. She relapsed after having severe post-partum depression and went back to treatment twice more. Katie was recently drug-free and getting on her feet. She moved in with her friend Nicole, who was struggling with sobriety. Katie was hoping to help Nicole, but it didn’t work out that way. The entire story is unknown, but Katie was threatened the night she died and later found on the side of the road. An autopsy revealed an exceptionally large dose of fentanyl in her system and no other drugs. Her death was ruled an accidental overdose, and the case was closed. It was later reopened because of Paula’s diligence and persistence.
Paula stated, “Katie brought life to everything. She was an unforgettable person. I can’t fathom that this is forever.” Ryder is tender with a poster of Katie in his room. He touches her face and says, “she’s so pretty.” “It makes me sad that Ryder will only remember his mom through stories.” Paula said, “I want him to know how much she loved him.”
Kaitlyn’s mother, Paula Khoenle, provided the information for this narrative.
March 8, 1992-November 12, 2020
Age 28–Lived with the disease of addiction 7 years