Our hearts are heavy as we warmly remember Larry Kath, president and CEO of the Community Foundation from 1997-2003, who died peacefully at age 76 Sunday after a short illness.
While working at Aid Association for Lutherans (now Thrivent Financial), Larry helped its President and CEO, Walter L. Rugland, establish the Community Foundation in 1986. Larry organized meetings, set up office space and served as Foundation secretary and board member from 1986-1997. Following his 24-year career with AAL, Larry left to become the executive director of the Community Foundation in 1997, retiring in 2003. He took the organization from $30 million in assets to $101 million.
He was known for connecting with people by taking a genuine interest in them. That extended to Foundation employees. Even up until recently, Larry would visit the Foundation occasionally, going from office to office getting updates on people’s personal lives, encouraging and praising them for their work for the Foundation.
But he knew the Community Foundation existed to serve donors.
“I’ve loved working with donors, talking with them, thinking about their charitable interests and how they’d like to be remembered,” Larry said in an interview prior to his retirement. He added that he was most proud of the organization living up to the level of trust and confidence Walter L. Rugland expected of it.
You could say Larry wore his emotions on his necktie. His extensive tie collection made him ready to recognize any occasion or express any message. When Larry retired from the Foundation, so did his tie collection. He dressed instead for time on the golf course and vacations with Sandy, his wife of 54 years.
Visitation for Larry will be at the Wichmann Funeral Home, 537 N. Superior Street, Appleton, on Wednesday, April 26, from 4 to 7 p.m. and again at Mount Olive Evangelical Lutheran Church, 930 E. Florida Avenue, Appleton, Thursday, April 27, from 10 a.m. until the service at 11 a.m.
Memorials are being accepted to the Larry L. and Sandy S. Kath Family Future Fund within the Community Foundation.