Kathi Ridner (Deno) (or Katie as many of her siblings called her) was born on December 13, 1958 in Alpena, MI to Eugene "Skeets" and Marie (Gapske) Deno. She was the 7th of 9 children and the youngest daughter. Her parents were active in supporting Community and they instilled her life-long passion of giving back to the community.
Kathi's siblings are sisters Carol, Nancy, Mari, Jeanne and Sue, and brothers Rob, Jerry and Jon. She was a graduate of Alpena High School Class of 1977.
After graduating High School, Kathi moved to Ann Arbor (near her sister Sue) where she embarked on an early career working for medical and dental firms. Eventually she migrated to the Detroit area.
In February 1985, she met her future husband, Tim Ridner, at a restaurant in Madison Heights, MI. They would marry in December 1988 and welcome children Conner in 1990 and Olivia in 1993. Shortly thereafter the family moved to Morgan Hill, CA due to a job transfer for Tim.
During their time in Morgan Hill the family made many life-long friends and thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful CA weather. While here Kathi worked for an orthodontist, ultimately rising from receptionist to Patient Treatment Coordinator for the practice.
In 2002, the family moved from Morgan Hill to Redwood Shores, CA. Although involved in various volunteer efforts throughout her life, it was in Redwood Shores/Belmont where Kathi's passion and organizational skills made a large impact. She became actively involved in daughter Olivia's elementary school, Nesbit School. She began by organizing the student drop-off process to improve efficiency and safety, but soon worked with others to do so much more.
Electronic Arts Corporation (based in Redwood Shores) announced that they had grant funds available for worthy causes. Kathi took this as a personal challenge to ensure that some funds would be directed to Nesbit School. Working with others, EA ultimately granted $250k to Nesbit for use in creating an electronic learning center. As a result of this effort, Nesbit School went from a lower ranked to top ranked public school. This led Nesbit administrators in 2005 to create the "Kathi Ridner T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More) Award" to recognize her efforts, and in the future to recognize parents dedicated to the schools' success.
In 2005, the family moved to the Melbourne area to help with Tim's aging parents. Later that year, Kathi took a position with One Senior Place in Viera. She would ultimately become Director of OSP. It was during this time when she became keenly aware of all of the community organizations that were working to support the residents of Brevard County.
Kathi made the difficult decision to move on from OSP, a business concept supporting Seniors that she helped to shape, to explore other passions. She worked with Bluewater Creative Group to market the Boomer Guide, a publication that she felt would help aging boomers with local community resources. She also began work with VITAS Hospice as a Community Relations Representative. VITAS was an organization she had tremendous respect for based on their commitment to Tim's father, who used their services in his final years.
Kathi's cumulative professional engagements led her to gravitate to volunteer with organizations and groups that were aligned with her passions. She quickly demonstrated her uncommon "common sense" approach to helping and contributing wherever and however she could. She was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of a number of organizations, including Family Promise of Brevard, Brevard Parkinson's Support Group, and Brevard Association of Human Services. She was also passionate about supporting Veterans and was proud to be involved with the Space Coast Honor Flight Organization in her role with VITAS.
Later in life, Kathi decided that she would actively work to get more physically fit. She started attending "boot camp" at 5:30 am several days/week and began running in local 5k events. She took particular pride in continual improvement in her performance and placed well in her "age group", She also made many close friends that would be so supportive during her health battle.
Kathi's lasting legacy will be that one person, motivated and passionately inspired, can make a large impact on the community, She had a unique and down-to-earth way of connecting to people from all walks of life, She accepted and tried to encourage the best in all.
Kathi was raised Catholic and attended parochial school through primary grades. After marriage, she and Tim were members of Presbyterian Churches in MI and CA. She had a deep abiding faith that Christ was in control and the challenges she was facing were part of his plan. She took great comfort in sharing and praying with her family and friends and her special "prayer warriors". Not surprisingly, Kathi was inspired by the biblical verse from Galatians 6:9 - " Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up"
On December 29 2020, after a relatively short, private battle with pancreatic cancer, Kathi went on to "reap her harvest" with the Lord, Her family takes great comfort in all of the wonderful comments left on her Facebook page about her impact both personally and professionally. A Life Well Lived indeed!
Kathi is survived by her husband of 32 years, Tim and children Conner (significant other Brandi Lawson) and Olivia Collazo (Manny). It was Kathi's hope to meet her first grandchild (baby Collazo) in late February 2021, but instead will be serving as her guardian angel. She was deeply proud of both of her children and was always encouraging their growth as adults. She is also survived by sisters Carol Kimball, Nancy Katzenberger , Mari Crow (Jon), Jeanne Ellis (David), Sue Hanthorn (Jeff), and brother Jerry, And sister-in-laws Nancy Deno, Cindy Range (Jon), and brother-in-law Gary Ridner (Sheila). There are also countless nieces and nephews, each of whom were the beneficiaries of "Aunt Kathi's blankets" which she made for all as toddlers,
She is pre-deceased by her parents, Eugene and Marie, and brothers Rob and Jon, and brother-in-law Bill Katzenberger.
See menu along top bar of site or pull down menu on upper left (depending on browser) to connect to links to RSVP for the Celebration of Life Event, to make a Donation to the Kathryn RIdner Fund at the Community Foundation for Brevard, to link to Livestream the Celebration of Life Event, or to leave a tribute for Kathi.