Folsom Funeral Service

Hildreth, Kathryn

Hildreth, Kathryn cropped 

Kathryn Staples Hildreth, 103, died in her sleep on April 20, 2013 at Fox Hill Village in Westwood, MA, after a long and rewarding life. Born Oct. 31, 1909, she was the daughter of Clarence Hawthorne Staples, M.D., and Ruth (Clarke) Staples. Raised in Malden, MA, Kathryn (Kay) attended local schools and one year at National Cathedral School in Washington, DC, before enrolling in Wellesley College where she graduated in the Class of 1931. After graduation, she taught high school English and Latin for several years before marrying Pierson R. Hildreth, a graduate of Wesleyan and Harvard Law School. They settled in Amityville, Long Island, New York, where Pierson practiced law and served as the Suffolk County attorney and later as the Surrogate Judge of Suffolk County. Kay was active as a substitute teacher and as an executive with the Girl Scout Council. They moved to Southold, Long Island, NY, where she rowed her boat every day and enjoyed sailing with Pierson on Long Island Sound. In later years, she and Pierson traveled the world together and after his death in 1983, she traveled on her own until her 92nd year.

 Kay remained a devoted alumna of Wellesley College and served on the board of the Alumnae Association. At age 93, she spoke to a gathering of a thousand people to help launch a major fund-raising campaign for Wellesley. Kay was a frequent class officer and faithfully attended her college reunions including her 75th Reunion.

 Kay was a devoted aunt to her nine nieces and nephews and hosted several of them for extended summertime visits, instilling in them a love of sailing and the ocean. Throughout her life, she was always interested in what each family member was doing and loved their visits and letters. She hosted both friends and family for a large gathering to celebrate her 90th birthday, and her nieces and nephews celebrated her 100th birthday with her.

Kay was one of the first residents to move into Fox Hill Village in Westwood, MA, in 1991. While living at Fox Hill, she often attended events at Wellesley College, enjoyed trips to hear the Boston Symphony, played an excellent game of bridge, followed all the Red Sox games, and as an English major, enjoyed reading challenging books. Despite her failing eyesight in the last years of her life, Kay read War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and Moby Dick along with the latest biographies. In 2012, she was awarded the Boston Post Cane by the town of Westwood as its oldest resident.

 Kay was predeceased by her brother, Clarke Staples, M.D, and her sister, Janet Staples Miles. Two of her nephews also pre-deceased her: Clarke Staples of Lincoln, Nebraska, and Jon Rasmussen of North Barrington, Illinois. Her remaining nieces and nephews include David Staples of the Virgin Islands; Brewster Staples of Pownal, Maine; Ann Staples Dixon of Essex, Connecticut; Joan Rasmussen McGee of Tiburon, California; Anne Hildreth Fay of Woodbridge, Virginia; Dorinda Miles Smith of Birmingham, Alabama; and Frank Miles of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. In addition, she leaves many beloved grandnieces and nephews as well as great-grand nieces and nephews.

 Services were held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Dedham, MA, where Kay was a member, on Monday, May 6th at 11:00 AM.  In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to St. Paul’s Church, 59 Court St., Dedham, MA, 02026 or Wellesley College, Office of Resources, 106 Central St., Wellesley, MA, 02481.

Guestbook Entries

  1. Madge Staples
    April 27th, 2013 | 12:35 pm

    When my older girls were preschool age, Kay served them cookies on china plates. While I held my breath, she explained to the girls what they should do and they did it. Cookies enjoyed and no broken plates. Kay instilled confidence in everyone.

  2. Sarah Staples-Farmer
    May 5th, 2013 | 4:00 pm

    Aunt Kay taught us to love the ocean, how to properly row a dinghy, and how to stand tall and speak well. She was a great lady.

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Folsom Funeral Service

Folsom Funeral Service