Our dear friend, and board member and treasurer of the Old-Time Music Group, Inc., for many years, Kathy World, died of liver complications on July 3, 2020. Kathy was from around Orchard Park, New York, but came to Durham, North Carolina, in 1967 to attend Duke Women’s College, where she graduated in 1972. She stayed on and lived here in Durham for the rest of her life. That’s where I got to know her after I moved here in 1989.
The first thing was her light-up-the-room smile and the second was her name—WORLD— wow! I don’t remember how I first met her but she was working for Sugar Hill Records as office manager and director of accounting and royalties, and I believe I met her through that connection. Kathy loved music. She was a member of the St. Matthews Church Choir in Hillsborough, North Carolina. She especially loved singers Mollie O’Brien and Robert Earl Keen, whom she met through her work at Sugar Hill.
When I decided to get serious about organizing the Old-Time Music Group as a non-profit, we of course,needed a treasurer, and Kathy volunteered. I remember many a board meeting with president Art Menius rocking back and forth in the rocking chair, various dogs milling around, Ann Berry taking drink orders, and Kathy passing around her neat and precise reports of expenditures, income, and the like, and trying to make a bunch of us artist types understand the ins and outs of the financial aspects to all this organization—to say nothing of non-profit—something I certainly had never thought much about. Kathy was the treasurer for years. (I’d have to go back and see for how long, but I’d say at least 10 years.) It was a thankless job, and she did it so well and with such good humor.
Kathy was a bookworm; she loved books, especially mysteries, and she knew books. She started a mystery book club when she was working at the Gothic Bookshop at Duke. Her other jobs down through the years mostly involved books, and I remember when my grandkids would come and visit for a week or so, one of the highlights of their visits (besides swimming in the Eno River) was going to the Gothic where she was working, and she’d let them pick out a book to take home. She was an advocate for letting kids read what they wanted—we had a minor set-to over that one time. She and the kids won.
She was a knitter, and we had a small knitting group that met every other week to knit, but even more, to gab, gossip, and help each other out with problems like health insurance, taxes, grandkid/kid stuff, and a myriad of other small and big life issues—and sometimes knitting problems.
Kathy’s parents had passed years ago, she had no siblings, never married and had no children. Her family was her vast community of friends, with whom she was generous and loving, and by whom she was loved back. She was friend, godmother, traveling companion, helper, and advisor to many, and we miss her.