Kathy Pearson

The Easterday Construction family lost another member last week.  Kathy Pearson succumbed to her cancer after a three year, protracted battle.  She kept her spirits up until the end.  She came to the visitation for my grandfather on December 7th, only a couple of weeks ago, and promised we would get together for lunch again soon.  Sadly that didn’t happen.

Kathy Pearson's Obituary

Kathy Pearson Obituary

Kathy was a fixture at Easterday Construction Co., Inc. for 38 years.  KP to those of us in the office.  When she retired at the end of 2014, she left a void that was impossible to fill.  I gave some of her history with the company here in a previous post.  That barely scratched the surface of the contributions she made.

History is a huge part of what was lost with her passing.  Kathy remembered past projects nearly as well as I did in my tenure, but she also could tell me the history of projects before my time.  She remembered past employees, subcontractors and suppliers, filling in gaps in things I had forgotten or never knew.  She remembered phone numbers almost unerringly and served as a virtual rolodex when I would ask for a number or name that wouldn’t come to me.  Long before it was “Ask Google” it was “Ask Kathy”.  

Kathy had already been with Easterday Construction for 14 years when I started here in 1990.  Her obituary says, “Kathy was the office manager for Easterday Construction for many years.”  She was so much more than that to those of us that worked with her.  She was not only a trusted employee, but she was a friend, confidante and at times a second mother.  Her title at times could have ranged from Secretary to Office Manager to Accountant.  When I was out of the office and out of touch, I could always trust her to handle any decisions or crises with my best interests in mind.  She was never one to shirk responsibility.  There were so many clients that knew her by voice only, but knew they could count on her when they couldn’t reach me.

At times Kathy would advocate for employees and at other times she would advocate for me and the company.  Years ago, one employee was upset about something and made the mistake of crossing Kathy on the issue.  It got Kathy’s ire up, and she responded, “I may not be able to fire you, but I can sure as Hell get you fired!”  She was right.

It always amazed me how well she handled the gatekeeper aspect of her job… and how poorly some salesmen understand how that works.  If I said I didn’t want to talk to someone, I generally only had to say it once and it was handled.  She couldn’t be cowed into backing down.  One salesman went round with her about getting an appointment and ended up leaving in a huff.  He returned and handed her a sign that said, “Beware!  Attack Secretary!”  She promptly and proudly hung it up while he watched.

Kathy was always fiercely loyal.  She took any criticism of Easterday Construction to heart and was the first to step up to defend us.  She often use her personal contacts to try and smooth over any misunderstandings.  One time she was duped into signing a phone company contract which was supposed to provide a free service upgrade.  When the bill came with additional charges, she spent 6 hours over three days chasing a resolution… which she got!  Whenever there was a problem like that I could count on Kathy to be the badass and chase down a resolution for me.

Since her retirement, Kathy’s personal touches have been missed.  Her influence was particularly felt around Christmas.  She helped with the selection of client and employee gifts.  She decorated the office with some of her personal decorations.  She applied her calligraphy skills to addressing the Christmas Cards we sent out.  Throughout the year I counted on her to proofread everything that was sent out and when one of us found a mistake that had slipped by, it would have been hard to tell which of us were more upset about it.  Even after her retirement I had her keep the password to this blog and counted on her to proofread for me.  She knew me well enough just to make the necessary corrections, while leaving things said as I would.  We would argue over my use of “big words” and she would curse when she had to look something up and curse louder if it turned out that I was right!  The blog will probably suffer from the loss of her critical eye.

Kathy

Kathy

When Kathy and Will retired, the crew decided they wanted to have an Open House for them.  Kathy said she didn’t want that.  “Who would show up?”  She requested a dinner with the current crew, which is what we did.  She would have been pleased and apparently surprised at how many showed up yesterday to remember her and to support Will.  Family, personal friends, work friends, neighbors and community contacts were all there to remember her.  There are a lot of people feeling the void that I feel.

At her remembrance yesterday, four family members spoke, talking about how much she would be missed.  I counted 12 past or present members of the Easterday Construction family that attended the service.  She will be missed by her second family, the Easterday Construction family, as well.

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