Cover photo for Katherine Tonkin's Obituary
Katherine Tonkin Profile Photo
1931 Katherine 2020

Katherine Tonkin

August 18, 1931 — November 13, 2020

1938- My 1" pony (Chubby)— In the spring my mother would ride Pam and would lead Chubby up River Road across Old County Bridge (now Reserve St. Bridge) up Broadway to 501 Alder to my grandmother's house (now St. Pats House). I was in .2nd grade at St. Francis Xavier. After my mom was done working, she would pick me up and we would ride to our home on Davis Street.
Katherine Patricia Tonkin left us on Friday, November 13, 2020. Mom passed peacefully with her family by her side.
Mom was brought to Community Hospital at the end of November 2019 after a minor fall and was then transferred to The Village in December. She contracted CoVid19 in early October and was unable to recover.
Mom was born at St Patrick Hospital in Missoula on August 18, 1931 to Marshall and Kathryn Henry (AKA Hank and Hank). She attended St. Francis Xavier elementary school and graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in 1950.
Mom followed in her mother's footsteps as she became a nurse. Mom attended St. Patrick's School of Nursing and graduated September 9, 1954. Through her educational career, Mom met many lifelong friends.
The love of animals was in Mom's DNA, as she and her parents spent much time showing and riding Saddlebred horses.
On August 21, 1954, mom married Samuel Garfield Tonkin, had three children; Sam, Bill and Debbie, moved to Sacramento, CA and had 3 more children; Dennis, Joe and Terry. Mom worked at County Hospital (later became UC Medical Center) and Sutter Memorial Hospital, bringing more friends into her life.
During the summer months, mom would return to Missoula to enjoy time with her parents and ride horses. She also enjoyed spending time at the Manor Pool (Sacramento) with her 6 children, swimming, and sunbathing. She also had a love for music — she even attended the Rolling Stones concert in Missoula!
In 1978, mom divorced and moved back to Missoula where she worked as a labor and delivery nurse, once again collecting many friends along the way.
Mom helped care for her parents as they aged. After their passing, mom moved up to their home, a place she loved with all of her being. There she had German Shepherds, cats, chickens, peacocks, horses, donkeys, goats, and homing pigeons, which she trained. Mom would bring her pigeons to different celebrations in town and set them free to circle around and head back home.
Mom donated a walking trail "Tonkin Trail" to her community. We hope that heaven is a lot like her house on the hill.
Mom is preceded in death by her parents and her son, Joseph Tonkin. Survivors include son Samuel Tonkin (Rhonda), Sacramento; son, Bill Tonkin, Missoula; daughter, Deborah Odbert (Garry), Arroyo Grande; son, Dennis Tonkin (Julie), Missoula; and son, Terry Tonkin. Grandchildren, Cydney Tonkin, Dustin Odbert, Dylan Odbert, Ricky Odbert, Joseph Tonkin and Jed Tonkin; three great grandchildren Lincoln and Hartley Corey and Waylon Odbert.
Special thank you to Dr. Michael Caldwell for his care to mom for all these years and his conversations with her regarding Notre Dame football and all the Notre Dame football programs he brought back to her; Bobby and Nadine Rusk for all of their help taking care of mom and keeping the ranch running these past several years; and all of her friends, too numerous to mention, for all of their help, love and support.
Mom has donated her body to WWAMI Medical Program in Bozeman, MT. She will be cremated and interned with her parents and son, Joseph, in Missoula.
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