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Obituary

Katherine J. Kroeger

Katherine J. Kroeger, 64, passed from this life on Jan. 12, 2024, surrounded by the unconditional love she created and gave to us all. Kathy was born Aug. 29, 1959, in St. Louis, Missouri. She grew up in Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee, with her many siblings. Though life circumstances sometimes created physical distance, her love was always present. Kathy was always a fierce protector of those she loved, and an advocate for those she viewed as an underdogs in any given situation. Kathy received her undergraduate degree in 1982 and her juris doctorate in 1986 from the University of Tennessee. After spending a few years in private practice at Mostoller & Stulberg, Kathy joined the 7th Judicial District’s Public Defender’s Office in June 1990, where she spent more than 30 years as an assistant public defender. She fought tirelessly and fiercely for her clients, while being exceptionally reasonable and respectful to her clients and her adversaries. In some circles, she was affectionately known as “the Beast.” Kathy excelled at her job and was respected by colleagues, friends and adversaries alike. Her work family was just that, family. If you had the pleasure of her friendship, you knew she would treat you like family, and family was very important to her. Kathy had many roles in her personal life — beloved daughter, sister, aunt, cousin — but the role that was most important to her was Mom. Her three daughters were able to witness her tenacity, courage, strength and unconditional love, not only for them, but for others. Kathy believed in truth and justice, that everyone deserved to have their voice heard, and all should be treated with kindness. Her love and compassion were unconditional and limitless. She always listened and tried to understand others’ points of view. She passed these attributes, along with a love of reading, writing, and especially argumentation, to her strong-willed (just like Mama) daughters. We hope to honor her and her life by emulating her. Kathy was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, William C. and Leora M. Kroeger, Sr; and uncle, William C. Kroeger, Jr. (Sharon, surviving). Kathy is survived by her three daughters, Victoria Kroeger (Anne Hensley), Leora Boyd (Gabriel), and Rachel Boyd (Alec); her parents, Don and Ann Kroeger; her siblings, William (Ann) Kroeger, Kevin (Sarah) Kroeger, Shari (Dale) Bennett, Jonathan (Dawn) Johnston, Alan (Andi) Johnston; Valerie (Greg) Lay, and Steve (Norma) Martin. She also leaves behind to cherish her memories many nieces, nephews, and cousins: Anna, Cheng-Hou, and Miles Lee; Ben Sanders; Caitlyn Johnston; Cate and Luke Kroeger; Isabel Kroeger; Bill Kroeger; Andrea Diaz; the extended Boyd family; the Lay family; and the Martin family. There are many other friends who are considered family, including several of her children’s friends who thought of Kathy as a second mom, as well as her best friends, Nancy Meyer and Karla Stuber. A special thanks to all those at Tennessee Cancer Specialists for their care and kindness during Mom’s journey. An extra special thanks to JoAnna and Shaunda for helping us navigate this journey with Mom with dignity and grace. Kathy’s family will receive friends at Click Funeral Home Farragut Chapel at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024, with a celebration of life service to follow at 3:30 p.m. All who have been touched by her light are welcome to attend and share memories of Kathy.