Mary Kathleen Barela, 74

Kathy Kenyon Barela of Cedarburg passed away on Feb. 23, 2015, at age 74. Kathy was born to Albert and Mary Kenyon on Jan. 10, 1941.

Kathy was the beloved wife of Benjamin Barela. Loving mom to Elizabeth Steinike, Mary (Dan) Freeman and Dianne Budd. She adored her grandchildren, Justin, Lindsey and Elizabeth Steinike, Erik and Ben Freeman, Sylvia and Samantha Johnson, George Budd (preceded in death) and Rachel and Henry Budd.

Kathy spent her early childhood growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, and later moved to Tucson, Ariz. It was there, in Tucson, she was united in marriage to Benjamin H. Barela of Santa Fe, N.M.

Kathy, in her early adult years, could often be found volunteering with Pilletts, a pharmacy organization that worked on raising funds to be awarded as scholarships. While in Tucson, Kathy also volunteered with her children’s schools and 4-H clubs. When her children were a bit older, she started using her sewing talents to design and create outfits for Budweiser that could be seen then in many parades. In addition, she helped design and create uniforms for the Doubletree Inn, a hotel chain, when the company was first getting its business started. Later, after moving to Cedarburg, she continued to volunteer, using her gift for sewing as a 4-H leader in Ozaukee County. With great joy, she passed on her gift of sewing to four of her grandchildren.

Kathy eventually started her own business, Barela Collectibles. Kathy took great pride and found joy in Barela Collectibles because it was truly a family business. Kathy combined her talents with her daughter Elizabeth and together, with what seemed like an endless source of inspiration, used their creativity to design whimsical fabric sculptures. Kathy’s fabric sculptures of Amish figurines, snowmen and clowns are known across the country and can be found in many collectible shops.

Kathy’s favorite part of the business was having her entire family involved. Her husband Ben ran the business end of her endeavor, always moving forward with new clients. Her grandchildren were all involved at some point, helping with the sculpting process, painting, sewing or with many of the other detailed pieces needed to complete a sculpture. Outside of her business, Kathy’s most favorite family affair was always The Great Circus Parade in downtown Milwaukee. There, her daughters Mary and Dianne, and even sonsin- law Mike Steinike, Dan Freeman and Dennis Budd, helped sell the “Beenie Collectibles” created specifically for each parade. Even father-in-law Bill Steinike helped sell.

Kathy loved her family and her extended family. She was always happiest at family gatherings. In addition to family, Kathy enjoyed socializing with her friends over a good Bridge game. Throughout the years, Kathy formed many lasting friendships. Kathy will be sadly missed by her family and her many friends.

Funeral services will be held Friday, March 6, 2015, at St. Francis Borgia Church North, Cedarburg. Visitation will be from 3 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. with the service to follow at 5 p.m.

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