Katherine (Lanter) Italiano-Merther, 85, of Columbia, MD, passed away Monday, October 25, 2021, surrounded by her loving family. She was born on February 7, 1936 in Speedwell, Virginia to Boyd and Virgie Lanter. She was the fourth of five children, all who were born and raised on the family farm. She graduated from Speedwell High School in 1953 where she was a scholar athlete who excelled in basketball and was the salutatorian of her graduating class.
After graduation, Kathy moved to Washington DC where she was employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for several years including time in the Washington Field Office. During this time, she also modeled for the Phyllis Bell Modeling Agency. While in DC, she met the first love of her life, Joseph Anthony Italiano, and they wed in 1956. Together they raised 3 children. After taking time off to raise her family, she then returned to the federal workforce and was employed by the U.S. Census Bureau in Suitland, MD. from 1978 until her retirement in 2008, holding numerous positions including the Executive Assistant to the Director and as a Conference Planner in the Conference Planning and Travel Division.
Kathy’s family was the joy of her life. She was actively involved with her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and continually supported their numerous activities. She also enjoyed many wonderful family times at her beach house in Ocean City, MD.
She had other interests including baking, cooking, and travel. When her children were young she ran a cake business out of her home, making beautiful birthday, special occasion and wedding cakes for family, friends and other clients in the Washington area. She and her husband were also part of a gourmet dinner group that met for over 40 years. Given her love of travel, she visited over 30 countries and 36 states, her motto being “Have suitcase, will travel”.
Kathy’s first husband, Joe, passed away in 1998 after 42 years of marriage. Years later, she met and fell in love with Frederick Merther and they were married in 2017. She was fortunate to have found love twice in her life, and she and Fred seamlessly blended their two families, not to mention their love of travel.
Kathy was a devoted catholic who enjoyed practicing and sharing her christian faith with others. She had a large extended family and countless friends. She truly had an amazing spirit. Known for her stylish dress and to have never missed a hair appointment, she will be remembered for her poise, grace, fortitude, and generous heart.
Kathy is predeceased by her first husband, Joseph Anthony Italiano, and by her sister, Cora Lee Barron. She is survived by her husband, Frederick Harold Merther; siblings Alma Blasingame, Harold Lanter, and Nancy Hansard; brother-in-law Frank Italiano (Marilyn); 7 children Terri Gibson (John Koval), Joseph Mark Italiano (Kathy), Lisa Greenlee (Mark), Wanda Boucher (Dennis), Christopher Merther (Susan), Pamela Ruddy (James), and Steven Merther (Rebecca); 13 grandchildren Katie Dragos (Jim), Courtney Bartlett (Nate), Chris Gibson (Ali), Justine Genova (Eric), Eric Greenlee, Natalie Greenlee, Matthew Greenlee, Bobby Merther, Tammy Merther, Michael Merther, Jennifer Merther, Jay Ruddy, and Alexandra Ruddy; and 7 great grandchildren Carson, Patrick, Grady, Blair, Chase, Clara, and Declan.
The family will receive friends at Harry H. Witzke’s Funeral Home, 4112 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City, MD on Wednesday, November 3rd from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Louis Catholic Church, 12500 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville, MD on Thursday, November 4th at 11am. Private interment to follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The American Heart Association or to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
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American Heart Association
7272 Greenville Ave., Dallas TX 75231
Breast Cancer Research Foundation
28 West 44th Street, Suite 609, New York NY 10036