Kathryn Elizabeth (Munch) Millett, 79, died at home in Wilmington, North Carolina, on January 8, 2024.
Kate was born in Astoria, New York, on February 27, 1944, to Arthur and Dorothy (Graupner) Munch. The personality of her youth — charming, calm, popular, beautiful, and above all, positive — never changed throughout her life. She graduated from Elmont Memorial High School and attended Hofstra University, where she met a handsome geology student John Millett. For a while, he wasn’t sure which of her many suitors she liked most, but on a “group date” to JFK Airport, the two of them shared a common fascination with the runway lights and airplane movements and then it was clear, he was the one. They married on August 27, 1966.
As a military — and later, corporate — trailing spouse, she moved the family household (which now included Beth and Julie), many times based on John’s career changes. In each new city, she created a home for the family, made lifelong friends and found jobs to contribute to the family budget. These jobs almost always included meeting and greeting people – she had a knack for making connections, inquiring about other’s interests and hopes, and putting people at ease.
She saw the potential for every space and in every person she encountered and brought out the best in them. Friends and families were the beneficiaries of quilts, pillows, and home decor. She left every space better than she found it.
John’s last corporate posting was for almost 3 years in Lausanne, Switzerland, which afforded the family many European travels. Kate accompanied him on business trips to many European cities. Julie’s now-husband Dave proposed on a family ski trip to Verbier, and Kate and Beth spent a memorable few days in Paris, visiting Versailles and eating many fancy French pastries.
After John’s retirement in 2003, they settled in Wilmington, NC, and lived here longer than anywhere else in their lives. The following years were filled with international and domestic travel, including Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Portugal, Spain, and a once-in-a-lifetime African safari.
In addition to all the travel, Kate was active with many circles of friends in Porters Neck, meeting for bridge, Mexican Train, and other social engagements, including Chicks with Sticks, a neighborhood ladies’ golf group.
She and John visited their daughters often, staying with Julie’s family in Park City, UT, for extended ski visits, taking trips to the many nearby National Parks and enjoying their two granddaughters. At Beth’s house, Kate was the general contractor and “chief cook and bottle washer” for several major home projects, including a new kitchen and an expanded deck.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer while Beth was pregnant with Evan in 2010, whose arrival was perfectly timed between chemo treatments to enable her to come to Indianapolis and help in his first week. During treatments, she continued to be an inspiration to all — calm, charming, and never complaining.
After the cancer recurred in 2021, Kate exhibited her trademark determination and positive attitude. The family is thankful for the last two years they had together, and especially the last five months after she stopped chemotherapy. Her extended family visited as much as possible, made the most of their time together and created memories to last lifetimes. The family has no regrets and are thankful to all who called, visited, and treated her like the royalty she truly was in their eyes.
Kate is survived by John, her devoted husband of 57 years, her eldest daughter Beth and grandson Evan (12), and younger daughter Julie Allely, her son-in-law David, and granddaughters Katelin (16) and Sheridan (14). She is also survived by both her siblings, sister Ann (Bud) and brother Bill (Paula).
In honoring Kate’s wishes, we will hold a celebration of her life this summer. Please watch https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/katemillett for updates on time and place.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, tax-deductible donations to the Assistance League of Greater Wilmington will help others continue to build stronger communities and shape the lives of those in need. Please visit https://www.assistanceleague.org/greater-wilmington/donate-2/ for more information, and please note “In Honor of Kate Millett” so we can properly thank you.
Her memory will live on in the hearts of all those who loved her.
Share memories and condolences by visiting the “Tribute Wall”.
Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street Wilmington, NC 28403