Katherine was born September 26, 1930 in Hanover, Pennsylvania, the daughter of the Reverend Dr. John Samuel Hollenbach, Sr., STD, and Eleanor Barber Hollenbach. She spent a happy childhood in Manchester, MD and Baltimore, MD where her father pastored two churches. His family ministered to a congregation in the blue-collar neighborhood around Baltimore Harbor near Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key wrote the Star-Spangled Banner.
After graduating from high school, Katherine enrolled in nursing school at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. She took classes and received clinical training while working in the hospital. In 1951, she graduated as a registered nurse and was employed by the hospital where she worked as a surgical nurse. Later, she worked as a home nurse and volunteered as a health professional at school, church, and community events.
On April 11, 1953, Katherine McCreary Hollenbach was married to Lester Earl Hershey, Jr. in Baltimore, MD, in a service presided over by her father, Reverend Hollenbach. From their first date, dancing in the Hershey Park ballroom in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and throughout their 69 years of marriage, Katherine and Les have dedicated their lives to each other, their family , their faith and their country.
Katherine and Les were blessed with three daughters, Katherine (Kathy), Jane and Nancy. Katherine loved spending time organizing and supporting girls’ activities. She has been a volunteer Scout leader, housewife in girls’ schools, and actively involved in many girls’ church and community groups.
Katherine’s faith in God and her service in the church were central to her existence. She enjoyed singing in the church choir, participating in women’s circles, attending Sunday school, serving on outreach committees, and visiting locked-in members in the community. She was an active promoter of the church’s adult fellowship groups.
The family lived in seven states. Katherine’s adult life can be followed through her church memberships, including Mount Olivet United Methodist, Seaford, DE; Presbyterian of Lower Providence, Norristown, Pennsylvania; Highland Presbyterian, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Northern Presbyterian, Williamsville, NY; Lyndhurst Presbyterian, Lyndhurst, OH; Forrest Hill Presbyterian, Cleveland Heights, OH; First Presbyterian, Big Spring, TX; Briarwood Presbyterian, Covenant Presbyterian and Fondren Presbyterian, Jackson, MS; and Hayes Barton United Methodist, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Katherine and Les were members of the Caledonian Society which celebrated Katherine’s Scottish-Irish roots. They enjoyed the camaraderie and events of this community group.
Katherine was a wonderful cook. She enjoyed cooking and delivering meals for the Presbyterian Meals on Wheels program. She regularly provided home-cooked meals to neighbors, friends, and church members when they suffered from illness or loss in the family. Her grandchildren fondly remember her Sanka brownies and the homemade cookies she shipped every Christmas in Sanka coffee cans.
She was a loyal communicator to her family and friends. She never failed to send a birthday card or holiday greetings. And she was well known for her beautiful handwritten letters to family and friends. Each year, she spent hours organizing and writing the annual family Christmas letter inserted into the carefully selected Hallmark Christmas cards.
Katherine loved watching Jeopardy. She rarely missed a show. She was an avid reader of books, newspapers and magazines. She enjoyed discussions focused on current events, health and politics. And she was quick to educate the family on good health care habits.
Katherine was predeceased by her parents, sister Alice Eleanor Creager and brother John Samuel Hollenbach, Jr.
Survivors include her loving husband Lester E. Hershey, Jr., three daughters and husbands, Katherine (Kathy) Davis and her husband John, Raleigh, NC, Jane Dame and her husband Mike, St. Peters, MO, and Nancy Jones and her husband Robert, Madison, AL.
Katherine and Les have eight grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Joshua and Elizabeth Davis, and daughters Kalani and Zoey, Tallahassee, FL; Linden (Lindy) and Joshua McConaghay, and sons Will, Daniel, Russell and Cole, Knightdale, NC; Lauren Davis, Asheville, North Carolina; Joseph and Corinne Davis, and son Henry and daughter Faye, Arlington, VA; Jacob and Alexandra Davis and sons James and Liam, Raleigh, North Carolina; Avery and Cassy Dame-Griff and daughter Dia, Spokane, WA; Ethan Jones, Huntsville, AL, and Alexander Jones and Amayalee Jenkins, and daughter Rosalyn Jones, Madison, AL.
Survivors also include niece Karen Nitti and her husband Len, Wilmington, DE, and nephews, Roger Creager and his wife Marie, Richmond, VA, and Charles Creager and his wife Jane, Huntsville, AL, and their children.
The memorial service to celebrate Katherine’s life will be held Friday, July 15, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. at Hayes Barton United Methodist Church, 2209 Fairview Road, Raleigh, NC 27608. Katherine’s ashes will be interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Hanover . , PA, in the Prayer Garden columbarium.
The family would like to thank friends and extended family, members of the Hayes Barton United Methodist Church and the Joy class for your frequent visits, cards, packages, phone calls and care during Katherine’s residency at Hillcrest in Raleigh. The family would also like to thank the staff and healthcare professionals at Hillcrest Raleigh Rehabilitation Center for caring so lovingly for Katherine during her eight years in Raleigh.
Published by Cremation Society of the Carolinas – Raleigh from June 6 to June 7, 2022.