Katherine Van Amburg, 69, of Lexington passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family on Thursday, August 1,2013 after an extended battle with ovarian cancer.
Katherine Bradford Van Amburg was born in Sweetwater, Tennessee on January 21, 1944 to Robert Watts (R.W.) Van Amburg and Katherine Waddell Van Amburg. In 1966, she married William Hokanson, but divorced in 1969.
Katherine was a 1961 graduate of Lexington High School, attended Southwest Texas University, and received her bachelor’s degree in music education and master’s degree in special education from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She taught elementary music for many years in the Oak Grove Public Schools. During her summer months, she was a scuba diving instructor at vacation resorts in the Caribbean.
For the past fourteen years, Katherine was the owner of Riley’s Irish Pub and Grill, located in a historical building on Main Street in Lexington and a popular tourist landmark. She was known for her warm hospitality to customers.
Katherine was a direct descendent of William Bradford, a founder of the Plymouth Colony in 1620, and William Bradford Waddell, one of the owners of the famed Pony Express that delivered mail by horseback from St. Joseph, Mo. to Sacramento, Calif., from 1860-61. She took great pride in her family heritage.
A published author, Katherine’s articles and photographs appeared in SCUBA magazine and Missouri Life, and she often used her photographs to educate others about the rich marine life in the Caribbean Sea. Throughout her life, Katherine coached swim teams and was a Red Cross-certified Water Safety Instructor. She also enjoyed cross country skiing, swimming, windsurfing on local lakes and outdoor activities.
Katherine was a member of Daughters of the American Revolution, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Alpha Phi sorority, Missouri Music Educators Association, National Education Association and a board member of the Lexington Historical Society and Museum. She was named Board Member Emeritus in 2011.
She is survived by one sister, Mary Elizabeth Arnold, and brother-in-law, James M. Arnold, of Marceline; nephew, James Waddell Arnold of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; niece, Dr. Elizabeth Lee Arnold, D.C., and great-nephew, Michael Bradford Arnold, also of Marceline. She was preceded in death by both parents and numerous aunts and uncles.