Remembering Kathy

Kathy Gribbin, Jan. 22, 1954- Feb. 6, 2013

Bethel’s Vice President for Life Calling and Student Enrichment Kathy Gribbin, Ph.D., passed away Feb. 6 at Hospice in South Bend after a three-year battle with cancer. She was 59 years old. Visitation will be Saturday, Feb. 9 from 4-8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. at St. Marks Missionary Church 55240 Bittersweet Rd. in Mishawaka. The funeral will be at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10 at St. Marks Missionary Church.

“Kathy brought a sense of joy, excitement and a bit of spice to the lives of her family and many close friends. She was gifted by God to have a positive impact on those whose lives she touched whether they were students, colleagues or friends,” says President Steven Cramer, Ph.D. “We are sad for our loss, but rejoice that Kathy has heard Christ say to her, “Well done, good and faithful servant … enter into the joy of your Lord.”

A 1976 Bethel graduate, Gribbin worked at the college in the late ’70’s as the director of student recruitment, before leaving briefly to take a role as the director of student life at Judson University in Illinois from 1981-1994. In 1994 she would return to Bethel for good serving in roles such as dean of students and residence life, associate dean of students and resident director. In 2010, she would be named Bethel’s first female vice president.

“I feel excited both for myself and for female students who can do more than they think they can do or were raised to think they can do,” says Gribbin in a 2010 “Bethel Magazine” article where she talked about her new role at the college. “My challenge is for men to take women’s thoughts more seriously. We do look at situations differently. I believe women think more about how decisions are going to affect the feelings of people. Women are more intuitive, more sensitive —and this is a positive thing.”

Gribbin obtained a Master of Arts in Student Personnel from Western Michigan University and a doctorate in education from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Share your memories of Kathy below.

5 Responses to Remembering Kathy

  1. Christy (Brink '12) Harrold says:

    I worked in the Student Development Office on campus all four years while attending Bethel. Kathy was quick to welcome me to the staff and often pulled me into her office to have brief heart-to-heart conversations about my hopes and dreams. In January of 2010, I was given the opportunity to interview Kathy about her initial diagnosis for an article I was writing for the Bethel Beacon. Her positive outlook forever changed me: “I know difficult times await me, but my faith in God is strong. God is going before me and is preparing me. I can learn a lot during this time… Cancer will not define me, it’s now just a part of me.”

    This interview is one of two main memories I have of Kathy, and the second is a little less serious as the first. During one of the aforementioned conversations in her office, I made the mistake of telling Kathy that she was “quirky.” She strongly disagreed and made sure I understood that she preferred “spunky,” as “quirky” could be misconstrued to some as a negative trait. We both had many laughs about this over the next couple of years, and her persistence about my word choice still brings a smile to my face.

    Kathy will be greatly missed, but she never once doubted God and knew that His plan was better than her own: “He is there, and He is faithful.”

  2. Stephanie Marsh says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends.

  3. Tracey Nickels says:

    I first met Kathy when she was my Speech Professor. After that I would run into her from time to time and she was always so happy and joyful, full of life and energy. That is how I will remember her.

  4. Eddie Derham ('13) says:

    My dear neighbor Kathy-

    You were a wonderful person who always stopped to say hello to me in the elevator or hall. You are with the Lord now and our love and prayers are with you and your family.

  5. Donna (Hunt) Bustos says:

    Kathy and I were students from the same generation. We affectionately called her “Grib.” She was always bubbly and friends with everyone. I only saw her once after we graduated but will always remember her. Our prayers are with her family.

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