Catherine A. “Kate” Arko, 96, residing in Elkhart, passed away of natural causes on Saturday, July 17, 2021, at Elkhart General Hospital. Kate as she was known to family and friends, began life on February 24, 1925, in Elkhart, the daughter of Van R. and Gertrude (Snyder) Kipka Sr.
After graduating from Elkhart High School in 1943, and to help the war effort Kate and her mother worked at C.G. Conn making gyroscopes, while all three of her brothers were in different war theaters. After raising her family, Kate went to work as a communication operator for 50 years at Elkhart General Hospital, where she became “the voice of Elkhart General “announcing on the hospital wide PA system at 8:30 a.m. sharp every morning “Good morning to everyone at Elkhart General Hospital and God Bless America” . Her voice continues to be heard today at 8:30 every morning.
Kate and Al were married after the war and spent 67 wonderful years together before his passing on June 8, 2015.
Family was everything to Kate. Picnics at the park, get togethers with relatives and going to Cedar Point were all part of our growing up memories. Summers were spent traveling throughout the United States with camping at Warren Dunes being their favorite.
Kate is survived by her daughters Barbara Hargrove of Hammond and Karen J. Weldy of Elkhart; two grandchildren, Jay (Katie) Weldy of Columbus, Ohio, and Granddaughter Gretchen (Weldy) Adams, great grandson Aiden Weldy and great granddaughters Destiny, Nylah, Samara Adams and Emery and Madden Weldy. In addition, she leaves many beloved nieces and nephews who always kept in touch and made many trips to honor her on her birthdays and family reunions.
In addition to her parents and husband Al, a son Michael A. Arko and 3 brother Donn Kipka, Van Kipka and William Kipka preceded her in death.
Kate was selfless, positive and ALWAYS putting others first. Kate would show her appreciation and value people by making them feel special and complimenting them for their efforts. She could be found making meals, baking treats or sending cards to those who needed a special lift. In her honor, reach out to someone else and be a friend, be positive and above all, be kind.
Billings Funeral Home, 812 Baldwin St. Elkhart is honored to host a gathering of family and friends, beginning with visitation on Monday, July 26, from 3-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at the funeral home, Services celebrating Kate’s life will begin at 11:00 a.m. with an additional hour of visitation starting at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 27, 2021, at Billings Funeral Home. Pastor Dave Hudson will officiate. A meal will follow in the Gathering Place at Centre 1231 on the grounds of the funeral home. Following the meal, a procession will leave, and Kate will be laid to rest next to Al at Rice Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Kate’s memory can be made to: Chicago House, 2229 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 304, Chicago, IL 60616 or Riley’s Children Foundation, 30 S. Meridian St., Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46204-3509 or a charity of your choice. Condolences may be made on-line at www.billingsfuneralhome.com
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