Klonda Sue Richey was remembered as a beautiful, talented, kind-hearted woman as her friends and family wished her a final goodbye during a visitation on Saturday, eight days after she was killed in a dog attack outside her home.
More than 150 mourners, including some city leaders and strangers who had heard her story, gathered for the celebration of her life at the Baker-Hazel & Snider Funeral Home & Crematory. They wore red pins with cat paw prints in her honor.
Photographs around the home showed Richey, 57, in black and white as a young child, on her graduation day in a cap and gown, and displayed her love of fashion and color as she smiled, often wearing a dress, with friends and family. Pictures of the many cats she rescued and cared for at her two homes captured her passion and one poem written for her summed up her love for them: “…They are the luckiest of felines; These cats she has taken in; Kitties others would pass over; Klonda finds beauty within…”
Her other many interests were also represented, as several colorful dress hats rested near her urn, along with a photo of her leaning against her fire engine red Miata — passions she got from her mother, her siblings said.
She also was involved in the Republican party, her neighborhood association, was an actress in high school and local theater and enjoyed dressing up, including in period pieces at the Renaissance Fair, her siblings said.
“She was fun that way. The life of the party,” said Ted Richey, her brother.
She was a talented writer, Ted Richey said, and wrote reviews for a newspaper, which were on display at the remembrance.
“Whatever Klonda did, she put her whole heart into it,” said Linda Roach, Richey’s sister.
Roach said her sister put a priority on her cats, but her co-workers at Montgomery County Children’s Services also spoke of how she reached out to people in need and they reached out to her.
Longtime co-worker Karen Mills said Richey had a “big heart.” “She was a feisty little lady. She was always cheerful, and she would give you the shirt off her back. She was a quiet person, but she had a big heart.”
Friend Brandi Swift, who wore a charm bracelet with photos of cats Richey had given her for her birthday, said Richey often took in cats who were sick or injured and cared for them.
“She was just so sweet and kind-hearted,” Swift said. “She loved her cats. She devoted her life to the cats.”
The family asked that in lieu of flowers, those who wish to show support adopt a pet in Klonda’s memory.