The Transylvania Times -

Kathryn "Kay" Dianne Baker Speckman


Last updated 4/19/2021 at 4:53pm

Kathryn Dianne Baker Speckman, 84, of Pisgah Forest, passed away in her home, Feb. 11, 2021.

Born Jan. 3, 1937 in Howell, Mich., she was the daughter of the late J.B. Baker and Leone Durkee Baker.

She is survived by her beloved husband, Ernest C. Speckman; and children, Jane Zaika MacAdams, Andre Zaika, Claire Zaika Taglioli, John Zaika, Jennifer Speckman; her sister, Jane Baker; her nephews, David Lawrence and Daniel Festian; niece, Maria Buschbacher; her grandchildren, Julia Zaika, Carly Zaika, Alec Zaika, Kathryn Elaine MacAdams, Evan MacAdams, and Anna Rose Taglioli; and her great-grandchildren, Octavia Zaika Quin and Kinsley Zaika.

Her childhood passion for reading and writing led her on a path to earn a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University, majoring in English, and minoring in science. She received her master’s degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University.

She was a Professor of English Literature, teaching at Western Michigan University, Grand Valley State University; and for East Carolina University and Campbell University, while teaching for Base Education at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, N.C.

Upon retiring, her passion for the arts unfolded in her writings and sketches. In 1992 she decided to start her own business, Vintage Kathryn. Being an accomplished milliner, and fiber artist, she brought her artwork to life, through her hats, scarves, vests, and adornments, joining the Number 7 Arts Gallery and the Transylvania Handcrafters Guild.

Throughout her life, she was an advocate for people who suffered from physical and mental illness. In Michigan, she worked in occupational therapy and physical therapy departments at Eloise and Hillsdale Hospitals. More recently, she was known for her work at NAMI in Brevard, as a teacher and president, working tirelessly to help families in need of support for loved ones diagnosed with mental illness.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to NAMI, P.O. BOX 941, Brevard, NC. 28712.


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