Kathleen Ann (Cole) Lieb passed away on April 10, 2013 in Los Banos, Calif., surrounded by family members and many close, extremely dedicated friends who took care of her every need during her three-and-a-half year battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 49 years old.
Kathy was born in Oakland to J.C. and Dolores Cole. She graduated from San Leandro High School in 1981, and then attended Chabot Junior College and San Jose State University. It was at San Jose State in 1986 that she met her husband Gene Lieb.
Kathy and Gene lived in Allen Hall and the dorm's laundry room was across the hall from Kathy's room. One day, as Gene was doing his laundry, he noticed an open door, and through it, saw Kathy sitting on her bed watching a soap opera on television. He stopped to say hi and the next thing he knew they were enjoying lunch in the cafeteria. A little more than a year later on June 20, 1987 they were married at the All Saints Episcopal Church in San Leandro.
Kathy and Gene both shared a love of Disneyland and decided that's where they wanted to honeymoon. They stayed in the honeymoon suite of the original Disneyland Hotel. Annual family vacations were spent at the park throughout their 25-year marriage.
Kathy's love was definitely family and she really wanted to be a mother. On July 26, 1989 Jennifer came into the world followed by Gene Jr. on Sept. 11, 1990. Kathy dedicated her life to the needs of her family but particularly to her children. She always put the needs of her children and husband before her own in all aspects of their lives.
Even as she was taking care of the children she worked various jobs. She loved numbers and was a bookkeeper at many businesses two including McMahan's Furniture Store in Turlock and at the Turlock Journal newspaper where she was the business manager.
When her husband was promoted to publisher of the Los Banos Enterprise in 2001, the newspaper company's owners asked her to be the business manager at the Enterprise. She held that position until January of 2004 at which time Tom Kaljian of Los Banos, owner of T. Kaljian Real Estate and Coldwell Banker Kaljian and Associates, hired her as his bookkeeper.
Kathy's first love was for her children and for her husband. Her second love was working for Tom Kaljian. She didn't have any hobbies. She said she didn't need them. She was driven by providing for her family and her work. Those were her greatest accomplishments. Kathy had the incredible ability to brighten every room she entered with her smile and continuous positive attitude, even when she wasn't feeling well.
Kathy is survived by her husband of 25 years, Gene Lieb of Los Banos; a daughter Jennifer Lieb and her husband Andrew Eghbalpour of Sherman Oaks, Calif.; a son Gene Lieb Jr. of Los Banos; her mother Dolores Tuft and her husband Jim Tuft of Pittsburg, Calif.; a sister Karen Vislocky and husband Pete Vislocky of Stockton, Calif.; numerous nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles. She was preceded in death by her father J.C. Cole of Hayward, Calif.
A celebration of Kathy's life followed by a catered reception will begin at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 20 at the Fierro Family Funeral Home, 1702 Golden Gate Ave., Dos Palos, Calif. Guests can sign the online condolence book at www.fierrofamilyfh.com.
During Kathy's illness she realized that Los Banos needs a larger hospital and a cancer center for those living on the west side of Merced County who have difficulties traveling to Merced or Turlock. She had to travel to both of those cities during her years of cancer treatments.
In lieu of flowers, Kathy's wish was that people would donate to a building fund for a new, larger Memorial Hospital and Cancer Center. Donations for a new Memorial Hospital/Cancer Center Building Fund can be sent in her name to Memorial Hospital Los Banos, 520 I St., Los Banos, CA 93635.