Kate Williams – 2016 Honoree

By Cindy Bennett

“It’s still true. Certain experiences of our youth really do inform the way we live as adults.” Kate Williams

Kate’s earliest memories are of being chased by her brothers at Grizzly Peak, now Red Lodge Mountain. Reminisces Kate, “Red Lodge in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s was what Sleeping Giant is today; one, big, happy neighborhood where kids of all ages learned to ski and hang out with their families and friends.”

Kate and Friends_MartySays Kate, “Skiing has enriched my life. I’ve been able to ski in the US and around the world, meeting wonderful folks who share my love of this incredible sport. In the winter outdoors, we breathe in fresh cold air, summon our courage, encourage inclusiveness, and overcome our fears while stepping up to the challenges ahead. Making a difference in someone else’s life, that’s what comprises my personal joy of skiing.”

Kate comes from a creative musical family. Her mother played the piano and her dad sang roles in the Billings community. She sang in the church choir, played the violin in school orchestras, and remembers “delighting in piano duets with friends and the occasional brother”. Recalls Kate, “During my early elementary school years, I was fortunate to learn classical Russian ballet from the best in Billings, Hungarian refugees Angela and Ildiko Perjussy. Strict like we’d never known, this mother-daughter duo drilled classical la danse discipline all the while speaking French. We were regularly tested!”

She and her husband Ted, of 34 years, have lived in Cody and Wapiti twice. Recalls Kate fondly, “These sophisticated communities at the foot of the Absaroka Beartooth mountains offered me absolutely glittering opportunities to engage with stellar citizenry. And, during my happiest years of raising our two young children, the staff at Wapiti School encouraged parents to get involved and impart their knowledge.”

At Sleeping Giant she taught the love of skiing. Reminisces Kate, “I helped kids form their skis into “pizzas” and “French fries”, master the t-bar – while keeping all their teeth intact, and to conquer Bobby’s Headwall. It was on the bus ride home that my heart grew to its fullest. I saw rosy cheeked kids aglow with their individual accomplishments contentedly snoozing all the way back to the school parking lot. Those were gloriously happy family days as a Wapiti School parent! Laisser les bon temps rouler!

Says Kate, “When I was invited to join the board of Yellowstone Recreations Foundation – doing business as Sleeping Giant Ski Area, wild grizzlies couldn’t keep me away.” With her inimitable community joie de vivre, love of fitness, dance, music, and people she lead a group of danceX’ers every morning at the Presbyterian Church. Noting with pride, “It’s been a privilege!” They faithfully met six days a week, first rock n’rollin to the likes of Katie Perry, Maroon Five, Adele, and Springsteen before cooling down with yoga and stretching to choral tracks.

In Kate’s words, “It is my pleasure to be honored for having engaged in meaningful volunteer work in Cody. It takes a village to make everything good happen around here, so my hat is off to all the rest of you who work hard to make Cody the great place it is and always will be. Namaste.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

(pictured in her photo left to right: Mary Bingley, Val Walsh-Haines, Kate Williams, Linda Dowd, and Jan Eldredge