Food Culinary 08

Anne Johnson Kathan

January 1, 1928 ~ October 11, 2023 (age 95) 95 Years Old

Anne Kathan Obituary

Anne Johnson Kathan, 95, of Newport, NH, passed away peacefully in her sleep on October 11, 2023. She was born on January 1, 1928, in Washington, DC to her late parents, Ralph Nathan (“RN”) Johnson and Eloise Johnson Williams. Shortly after her birth the family moved to Walpole, NH where they had a dairy farm and a farm equipment business. She had two brothers, the late Thomas Johnson of Warren, James Johnson of Bellows Falls, VT, a sister, Jane Broadrick of Concord, a stepsister, the late Judy Fitzgerald of Westmoreland, and a stepbrother, Malcolm “Bill” Williams of Alstead. Between the Johnson, Williams and Kathan families there are a great many nieces and nephews and grand- and great-grand nieces and nephews who remember her fondly.

While in grade school, Anne met and grew up with Oliver H. Kathan. After graduating from high school as valedictorian of her class in 1946, she studied at the Whittemore School of Business at UNH and received a degree in accounting. While in college she was often the only, or one of very few, women in her business classes. After she graduated, she moved to Hartford, CT where she lived in a local Y and worked for an insurance company for a year before finally saying yes to Ollie who had asked her to marry him at least a hundred times. They married in 1951 and moved to Wendell in 1953 to start a landscaping business. After two years they moved to Newport and established Kathan Gardens where it is today.

Anne was an essential part of the success of Kathan Gardens where she oversaw sales. After long days of physically challenging work during the busy spring and summer seasons, she made dinner for her family (always from “scratch”), read to her children as she put them to bed, and finally sat down to do the bookkeeping for the business. When Dennis took over the business in 1988, she continued to help him with the bookkeeping, reluctantly learning to do the books on “that damned computer”.

Anne and Ollie raised two children, Nancy J. Kathan who lives in Newmarket with her partner, John Reddy, and Dennis A. Kathan who lives in Newport with his wife, Jill Violette Kathan, and had two grandchildren, Kristie Howe who lives in Newport with her husband, Buddy and their two children, Caleb and Sawyer, and Andrew Kathan who lives in Newbury with his wife, Stefanie and their two children, William and Samuel.

She is especially remembered by her family for her love of gardening, how she enjoyed feeding, watching and identifying birds, picking berries, and her vast knowledge of wildflowers. How much she enjoyed traveling. How much she appreciated classical music and attending symphonies in Boston with her friends. That she was always trying new recipes using fresh ingredients from the garden. How disciplined she was with diet and exercise and maintaining her health. That she dried clothes on a line strung up in the back yard. That she usually had a cat with an interesting name – Tigger, Gorgeous George, Mama Kitty, Grey Kitty and Hidey to name a few. And how she always made Scotcheroos for family gatherings!

Anne valued her community and served on the boards of the Library Arts Center and the Newport Service Organization. She helped organize the pie sales at the Apple Pie Fair for many years, usually making several pies herself (she made the best, flakiest pie crust), and was a volunteer at the Newport Thrift Shop where she “managed the linen department”. She was dedicated to both organizations and was proud of the work they did. When her children were young, she was also a Brownie Troop leader and organized the annual Girl Scout Cookie sale for several years. And she was a member of the South Congregational Church in Newport.

In her later years, Anne lived at Summercrest Senior Living with many friends and acquaintances she had known throughout her years in Newport. Although her hearing failed as she succumbed to the aging process, she always remained cheerful and was truly happy to see family and friends when they visited. It seemed that she would live forever, and Dennis and Nancy often joked that she would outlive them. Sadly, old age finally got the best of her, and she is deeply missed.

The family invites anyone who would like to celebrate her life and reminisce about times spent with Anne, her keen wit and the sparkle in her eye, to join them with their memories and stories at the Salt Hill Function Room, 11 Central Street, Newport, NH on November 4, 2023, beginning at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, we suggest donations in her honor to the Library Arts Center, 58 N. Main Street, Newport, NH 03773, the Newport Service Organization, PO Box 515, Newport, NH 03773, or South Congregational Church,








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Celebration of Life
November 4, 2023

2:00 PM
Salt Hill Function Room
11 Central Street
Newport, NH 03773


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