Champion of the Underdog! Valuing and respecting all people! These are the passions of Kathleen Holst. She surrounds herself with people from all walks of life. Whether carrying signs at an abortion rights rally, playing bridge with the ladies from the country club or having deep philosophical conversations with her pastor friend, Lin, Kathleen finds herself perfectly at home.
Kathleen Hammerquist was born June 16th, 1933 in Rapid City, South Dakota to Charles and Grace (Lobdell) Hammerquist. She is the oldest of 8 children and was raised on a ranch in the small farming community of Caputa, just 15 miles east of Rapid City. Her parents raised her to value education, music, and a good sense of humor.
After graduation from Rapid City High School in 1950, Kathleen earned a 1-year teaching certificate from Black Hills Teachers College in Spearfish, South Dakota and began teaching just after turning 18 years old. Her first teaching job was at a one-room school house in rural western South Dakota and paid $2025. At Fairview school, near Vale, SD, Kathleen had a student named Judy Holst. Judy's father was the president of the school board and Judy's older brother, Alvin, had been a classmate of hers in college. She soon met Alvin's twin, Allen, and in June of 1955, she married him in at her Uncle Fred's house in Rapid City.
Allen was in the Air Force at the time and they moved to several locations in their first few years of marriage including Biloxi, MS, Great Falls, MT, and Tucson, AZ. Kathleen was determined to use her time wisely and while pregnant with her first child enrolled at the University of Arizona to complete her bachelor's degree. She felt a bit out of place possibly being the only pregnant student at the U of A, but loved going to college, enjoyed the weather and met new people. The summer after the birth of Jeannine Marie in August of 1957, she completed her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. Kathleen credits the help of another struggling student, Elaine, for making it possible for her to complete her degree because Elaine offered to babysit Jeannine for free her final year of college.
When her husband left the military, they moved back home to South Dakota and Kathleen taught for the Rapid City School System while Allen attended college. In 1961 they moved to Lincoln, NE when her husband began working for the Federal Aviation Administration. Here, Janice Elaine was born in May of 1961. Kathleen taught for several years and in 1964 they moved back to Rapid City where Allen continued working for the FAA and Kathleen would continue to teach 6th grade for the next 22 years at Horace Mann Elementary and South Canyon Elementary.
In her teaching career she would earn a reputation for being a tough, tenacious, and caring teacher. She made friends with many of the families in the neighborhoods where she taught. She offered a helpful and supportive hand to families in need. Sometimes that meant a place for her students to spend a few nights, and other times it meant help with rides or meals. Kathleen was welcomed with open arms by these families.
While teaching full time, Kathleen found time to earn her master's degree, joining many organizations and support a wide array of causes. She was very active in AAUW (American Association of University Women), Delta Kappa Gamma, NOW (National Organization for Women), NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League), Toastmistresses, the Democratic Party, and RCEA (Rapid City Education Association). She was also appointed to the South Dakota State Ethics Commission and served on the Teachers Credit Union board. Participation in these causes would not have been possible if it hadn't been for the cooperation and support of her husband and family.
Her daughters would attend elementary school, junior high, and high school in Rapid City. After they graduated from college and moved to Southern California and Tucson and married, Allen's work gave them the opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico for several years and then to Prescott and Tucson with short stints in southern California and Hawaii. Kathleen settled for good in Tucson in 1995. Allen continued to work and move around and then returned to live near his childhood home near Vale, SD.
After 50 years of marriage to Allen, Kathleen has found love again with John Kettlekamp and has traveled all over the western United States and Canada numerous times visiting all seven of her brothers and sisters. She spends her time playing bridge, making quilts, sewing clothes, visiting with her grown daughters, sons-in-law (Claude Cormane and Mike Takagi) and four grandchildren: Frankie Andre Cormane, Andre Tyler Takagi, Alyssa Marie Takagi, and Kyle Joseph Takagi.