Reverend Kathleen H Jones who lived life as ‘An Unfolding Journey’ reached her final destination when she died peacefully March 7. Since 2010, her last earthly stop was in South Berwick, Maine. Upon her arrival, she networked with the York Association of the UCC, explored interim calls, did supply preaching, and maintained Quaker connections through New Hampshire congregations. She merged her life-long love cooking and local community life as a supporter of York Community Supported Agriculture, Common Ground, and many Farmer’s Markets. She enthusiastically promoted natural, organic produce which she incorporated into a wide variety of cuisines she had encountered during her many global travels. This combined with an impressive mastery of digital technology resulted in a recent e-Book Cooking for One, 6 Super Tools for Single-Person Homes or Small Kitchens.
Kathleen started her life journey on January 29, 1944 in New Tripoli, Pennsylvania as the first child of Willard B and Myrl L Hamm. Life on a bilingual Pennsylvania German dairy and potato farm shaped her future by exposing her to diverse cultures via interactions with Fresh Air youth from New York City, an exchange farmer from India, and Puerto Rican and black seasonal workers. As the 1961 Dairy Princess of Pennsylvania she travel extensively representing the State’s largest and politically influential agricultural industry.
Upon graduating as the 1961 Northwestern High School Valedictorian and member of the National Honor Society, she enrolled at Hood College majoring in Home Economics. As a senior she was chosen as an intern at the Merrill-Palmer Institute in Detroit the year it developed the philosophy and national standards for the Head Start Program. It was there that she met and worked with Pastor Nicholas Hood of Detroit’s Plymouth UCC. Her work with poor urban youth and the 1968 riots spurred by the assassination of Martin Luther King opened the road to ministry.
Kathleen’s journey’s next stop became the Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) and extensive activities with local community outreach and immersion in the social struggles over civil rights and the Vietnam War. She graduated from CTS magna cum laude in 1969 and was ordained a UCC pastor on Easter Sunday 1972. Her community activism in 1970 brought Kathleen to full time work with the Ecumenical Institute and Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA). She was deeply involved as the ICA expanded from its Chicago base to over 100 Houses in 30 countries delivering highly visible and significant programs worldwide. The ICA programming generated resulted in Kathleen’s move to live and work from 1980-1986 in Washington DC. There she prepared for her next Journey by taking University taught Mandarin Chinese courses.
Kathleen’s intellectual and spiritual curiosity was so raised that she set on a journey to understand Christian concepts in the traditional Chinese cultural contexts, Confucianism, and Buddhism. Working with ICA programs in Taiwan, she immersed herself in full-time Mandarin language studies aided by teaching and writing in numerous Chinese/English venues. One program included interviews with scores of Westerners working in Chinese companies wanting to understand the business implications of cross cultural differences. That program sparked a new flame of curiosity, the light of which drew her three and a half year stay in Taipei to an end in late 1990 and started her 15 year stop in Hong Kong.
Kathleen took on support and management roles at ICA regional headquarters Hong Kong. Her cross cultural understandings allowed her to develop cultural and market research expertise and skills. Starting as an independent cultural researcher, she went on to be a principle in the Hong Kong based Asian Commercial Research Limited (ACR Ltd.) consultancy. In her travels to Chinese and Asian cultural centers, such as Beijing, Kashgar, Urumqi, Angkor Wat, and others, Kathleen conducted focus groups, market surveys, training programs in effective research methods, and strategic planning for multi-cultural boards of directors. Of course, her intellectual curiosity synergistically led to more than passing interests in Chinese cultural history, traditional Chinese music, contemporary Chinese art, principles of Eastern medical modalities, and New Age energy medicines.
In 2005, while continuing to do some training and consulting work for Chinese and Hong Kong companies, Kathleen returned to her family farm home in New Tripoli, Pennsylvania to help care for her aging father. Her extensive face-to-face research skills and knowledge of the cultures of small eastern and midwest communities led to extensive travel as a field interviewer for LHK Partners Inc. Upon the death of her father and the subsequent sale of the family farm, Kathleen moved to South Berwick, Maine. There, until the day of her death, she enjoyed the richness of the intellectual harvest from her spiritual, cultural, food, and alternative healing, sharing these with her local friends and through her proficiency and comfort in the globally connected digital world. Her the ‘Unfolding Journey’ was unique in how it was both a citizen of her local community and the world.
Kathleen H Jones is survived by her brother Larry Hamm and sister-in-law Susan from Cave Creek, AZ; three nephews (Brian Bachman, New Tripoli, PA; Nicholas Hamm, Cornelius, NC; Matthew Hamm, Zionsville, IN). She was preceded in death by her sister Renee Bachman. Kathleen’s final stop on her earthly Journey will be to the family burial site at the St. Peter’s Lynnville UCC Church, New Tripoli, PA.
Oh my, Kathleen’s departure has shocked and saddened me. What a gifted, intelligent being who cared for so many around the world. We both went to Chicago Theological Seminary, and recently Kathleen liked to mention what various professors had said or written. A few years ago, Bonnie and I enjoyed her visit to our home on the Hudson in Cold Spring, NY. I always appreciated her spirited posts on Facebook. Will miss her physical presence, knowing that she has united with the final mystery. Gratitude for her caring, committed life and friendship.
~~ Robertson Work
Kathleen had been in touch with some of us here, in order for excellent care be given to a friend in Melbourne. She had met the Professor while working in Hong Kong. Kathleen and I had some memorable phone calls. Grace is yours and peace,
~~ Isobel Bishop
I think like so many of us I too and deeply saddened by hearing this news. I spent time with her at Kemper and always enjoyed her bright smile and bounding energy. At the time she and Marshall were still together, but she was so much her own woman. I rejoice in her passing at a time in the year we celebrate the Death and Resurrection. Journey on, Journey on…..Peace,