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Kathy A. Cavanagh, 54, of Perham, passed away June 24, 2014 at her home after a courageous year-and-a-half battle with cancer. Visitation will be from 5-8 p.m., with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 27 at Calvary Lutheran Church in Perham. Visitation will continue from 10-11 a.m., followed by the funeral at 11 a.m., Saturday, June 28 at the church. Burial will be in Calvary Memorial Cemetery near Perham.

The youngest of four children, Kathy Ann Karkela was born February 10, 1960 to Howard and Joyce (Roeske) Karkela in Wadena, Minn. She grew up on the family farm in Sebeka, Minn., and attended school at Sebeka. After high school, Kathy attended Moorhead State University and the University of Idaho where she received her degree in education. She continued her education and passion for literacy at Ohio State University. Kathy touched the lives and shared her love for learning with her students and colleagues for more than 30 years.

Kathy married Joseph Riewer and their son Blake, whom she was so proud of, was born in 1986. In 1992 Kathy was united in marriage to Charles Cavanagh. Together with Charlie's children, Jay, Jen, and Mike, the family enjoyed many great memories. Kathy enjoyed taking the kids to golf tournaments and following their many other activities. Kathy enjoyed family vacations, family reunions, holidays, and any other events spent with family and friends. She was actively involved with Kinship, Wednesday night Ladies Golf League, and volunteered many hours at school and other organizations in the community. She was well known and respected for being ambitious, generous and a caring woman. Her zest for life and positive attitude influenced everyone around her.

The last few years Kathy's favorite thing was the time spent with her five grandchildren. She became known as "Nana" when Isaac was born and it always put a smile on her face when she heard him say Nana. Kathy loved to read and do puzzles with all her grandchildren and always used them as her excuse to go shopping!

Kathy would want us to remember in any situation to stay positive, stay strong, and believe, a motto she affirmed until her last day.

Kathy is survived by her husband, Charlie Cavanagh; her son Blake (Cassie) Riewer, Grand Forks, N.D.; three step-children: Jay Cavanagh, Minneapolis, Jen (Ryan) Hendrickson, Perham, and Mike Cavanagh, Mclean, Va.; mother Joyce Karkela, Perham; brothers Terry (Mary) Karkela, Perham and David Karkela, Las Vegas, Nev.; sister Gail (Dave) Silver, Maple Grove, Minn.; 5 grandchildren Jack (4), Sullivan (3), Isaac (2), Briggs (11 mo), Samuel (4 mo); and many nieces and nephews.

Kathy is preceded in death by her father, Howard Karkela, and her mother-in-law, June Cavanagh.

Schoeneberger Funeral Home - Perham is handling the arrangements. For online condolences, visit