Kathryn Lanham Roller, age 94, a resident of Danville, Boyle Co., Kentucky, was called to eternal rest on Wednesday, 4th August, 2021.
Kathryn was born Wednesday, February 9, 1927, in a L&N Railroad house in Aliceton, Boyle Co., KY, grew up in the railroad town of Gravel Switch, Marion Co., and lived her last years at The Homeplace at Midway, in Midway, Woodford Co., the first town founded by a railroad in KY. Kathryn was the daughter of the late Clay Thornton Lanham and Margaret Bandy Lanham. Jessie Thomas (Tom) Roller, her husband of 59 years, died in 2003.
As written in her own hand, “When 11, I was baptized at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Gravel Switch, KY. I fell in love with a neighbor boy whom I had known since I was 10. I met him again on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1942 and married him 2-years, 1-month and 1-day later. We married prior to Tom leaving in April 1944 to serve in the US and Europe with the US Army during World War II and prior to my graduation from Perryville High School, Perryville, Boyle Co., KY in May 1944.”
Kathryn was a lifelong Baptist. She was a member of the North Rolling Fork Baptist when she and Tom lived in the Forkland area of Boyle and Marion Counties. She joined First Baptist Church of Danville in 1952, where she held several positions, and was member for over 50 years. She was a member of Lexington Avenue Baptist at the time of her death.
Kathryn retired April 1, 1988 after working 32 years for Western Kentucky Gas (now Atmos Energy) in Danville. During those years, she was a member of the Danville Business and Professional Woman Club and worked on many projects with the Danville-Boyle Co. Chamber of Commerce. Kathryn and Tom were great lovers of travel and visited all 50 states, sites where Tom served in Italy during WWII, their ancestral countries of England, Ireland, North Ireland and Germany. They enjoyed antique buying trips to New England, auto and train trips into Mexico, numerous trips into Canada including train trips from Canada into Alaska. With her family, she fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting Australia, New Zealand and Fiji in her early eighties and completed her international travel with several birthday cruises to different parts of the Caribbean, explaining “It was always cold on my birthdays growing up and I just want to go someplace warm!”
Kathryn’s interest in knowing, studying and recording family relationships and history began as a child during Sunday visits with her father Clay Lanham’s many relatives. “Writing them down was the only way I could keep track of who was who.” Again, even while dating Tom and meeting his extended family, she recorded names to keep track of the different families. She was a past member and treasurer of the Danville-Boyle County Genealogical Association, a Lifetime Member of Forkland Community Center, Boyle Co., KY and the director of the Family History and Old Documents display at the Annual Forkland Heritage Festival for twenty-one years. She was a member of St. Asaph Chapter, Daughters of American Revolution.
In addition to her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by: her half-brother John Lanham, who died with his mother Mary E. Drugan Lanham during the flu pandemic of 1919; her brother, Carl L. Lanham and his wife Jewell (Burns) Lanham, her niece Connie J. (Lanham) and husband Jerry Murphy and great niece Leslie D. (Murphy) Barr, her nephew Bradley Thomas Lanham, her great nephew Mark Lee "Mr. Bluegrass" Lanham; her only sister, Edna Helen (Lanham) Wilson and infant great granddaughter Elizabeth Joy Roller. Kathryn was preceded in death by all of her husband’s sisters, brothers and their spouses.
She leaves to cherish her memory: two sons, Thomas L Roller and wife Judy Bickerstaff, Fort Myers, Florida and Daniel A. Roller and wife D. Adele Dickerson, Midway, KY; Two grandsons, Christopher Thomas Roller and Benjamin Joseph Roller, wife Sheena Mendenhall Roller and great granddaughter Olivia Ann Roller, all of Kentucky; and her only granddaughter Margaret Kathryn Roller (Darin) Bassett of Indianapolis, Indiana; one brother-in-law, Jesse Franklin Wilson. Nephews, nieces and their families include: Jerry L. (Joyce Wilson) Lanham and family, Mona Lisa Lanham (Rex) Whitlock and family, Neil T. (Jackie Deep) Lanham and family, Debbie Smith Lanham and family, Margaret Claydean Wilson (Phill K.) McCallon and family and great niece Carla Murphy (Doug) Harris and family; a host of other relatives and friends. Special friends include: Fellow genealogical researcher and cousin, Audrey Lanham Smothers; Close friend and travel companion, Wanda McDermott Hafley and Deborah Whitt, who as a 2nd grader at KSD, inspired Kathryn to learn and use American Sign Language for the rest of her life.
Funeral services will be 11am Saturday, August 7, 2021 at Preston Pruitt Spurlin Funeral Home. Visitation will be from 6-8pm on Friday, August 6, 2021 at Preston Pruitt Spurlin Funeral Home.
Pallbearers will be Jerry Lanham, Phill McCallon, Darin Bassett, Benjamin Roller, Jesse McCallon and Barry Harmon.
Burial will follow in Bellevue Cemetery in Danville, Kentucky.
Memorial contributions are preferred to Lexington Avenue Baptist Church and Forkland Community Center.
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