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Welcome to the memorial page for

Kathleen Perna (Perna) Yearick

April 12, 1943 ~ September 26, 2017 (age 74)

Kathleen Perna Yearick, age 74, of Wilmington, DE, passed away suddenly in a car accident on Tuesday, September 26, 2017.

Born in Philadelphia, PA, Kathy was the daughter of the late John R. and Madelin Perna. She was a graduate of Archbishop Prendergast High School Class of 1961 in Drexel Hill, PA. Kathy was a proud graduate of Penn State University Class of 1965, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Spanish and Education major and a French minor. She began her teaching career in Montoursville, PA, where she taught high school Spanish and French before moving to Delaware in 1966.

In 1970, Kathy began her long and accomplished 33-year career teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) for Red Clay School District at the James H. Groves Adult High School. Beginning in 1981, she worked as a GED Instructor at several schools including the Newark Learning Center, Delaware Elwyn Institute, as well as in Southbridge for Christina School District. At Delaware Elwyn Institute, Kathy was a First Step instructor, where she developed and coordinated the program and taught GED classes and the Life Skills and Job Search programs. At that time, she also taught Spanish conversation for Christina School district's ACCEP program. In 1987, Kathy created and taught a summer ESL program for children K-12 in the Christina School District. Christina School District continued the program and realized the need for ESL in the schools on a regular school-year basis. At that time, she also became an adjunct faculty member teaching French for Brandywine College (now Widener University).

From 1989 to 1991, Kathy worked at the Edgemoor Community Center in the First Step Program and the West End Neighborhood House consortium. During the summer of 1998, she worked for the Jewish Community Center, where she taught members of the Russian Ballet for ten weeks as part of a grant given by MBNA. Since 2008, Kathy has enjoyed tutoring undergraduate students in English and writing skills at Wilmington University Student Success Center.

Through the years, Kathy was honored with many awards for her excellence in education. In 1989, she co-wrote Project Bond, which was the prototype for Delaware’s original Family Literacy grant and was awarded the DAACE Educator of the Year Award. In 1994, Kathy received the Delaware Outstanding Adult/Family Literacy Award. In 2007, she received The Interagency Council on Adult Literacy Certificate of Recognition.

Family was the center of Kathy’s world. She treasured spending time with her children, who she felt were her greatest achievements, as well as her grandchildren. Kathy was such a warm and embracing woman that she was lovingly known as Grandmom Kathy or Mom to her extended family of ESL students, friends and neighbors. Her smile and laughter would brighten a room and she loved helping others and making anyone who met her feel special and loved.

Kathy also was a woman of strong faith and was active in both her churches, Hockessin United Methodist Church and St. Mary of the Assumption. At Hockessin United Methodist Church, she was active with the United Methodist Women's group and the Bible study group. She was a member of the Red Hat Society, among other groups with friends whom she adored. In her spare time, she enjoyed writing poetry, cooking and baking, hosting get-togethers at her house, as well as traveling, especially to her favorite city of Paris, France. Kathy loved her feline family members, especially her beloved cat, Beau.

Kathy is survived by her children, Steven C. Yearick (fiancé, Rebecca White), Timothy J. Yearick (Michelle), and Danielle K. Yearick; her grandchildren, Ryan, Ian, Mason and Maleia Yearick and Brandi (Brian) Kozlowski and their children, Brian, Jr. and Gabriella; her goddaughter, Jane McMullen (Joe) and her “grandchildren,” Angela and Joey; and her nieces, Jeannine (Dale) Miller and Susan Perna Williams; her nephew, Mark Perna; her former husband of 32 years, Robert W. Yearick; she became “Second Mom” to Shoshannah (Mike), Jenica (Will) and Petra (Keith) and “Grandmom” to Terra and Selene and Meriam, Lillianna and Ella; as well as many cousins, extended family members and her amazing circle of friends and ESL students, who continued to affectionately call Kathy “Teacher” long after being in her class. She was predeceased by her parents and her brother and sister in law, John C. and Joan Perna.

Family and friends may visit on Wednesday, October 4 from 4:00 to 7:30 PM at Doherty Funeral Home, 3200 Limestone Rd., Wilmington, DE 19808, as well as on Thursday, October 5 from 9:45 to 10:45 AM at Hockessin United Methodist Church, 7250 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, DE 19707. A Celebration of Kathy’s Life will follow at the church, with a service at 11:00 AM, followed by a luncheon reception, during which friends and family are invited to share stories and memories about Kathy. Interment will be held on Friday, October 6 at 11:00 AM at Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery, 1600 Sproul Rd., Springfield, PA 19064.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice, or to the Hockessin United Methodist Church Capital Improvement Fund or to Kathy’s “little nuns” of the cloister at St. Veronica Giuliani Monastery, 816 Jefferson St., Wilmington, DE 19801-1432.

Charitable donations may be made to:

Charity of Donor's Choice

Hockessin United Methodist Church
7250 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin DE 19707

St. Veronica Giuliani Monastery
816 Jefferson St., Wilmington DE 19801-1432

 Service Information

October 4, 2017

4:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Doherty Funeral Home - Pike Creek
3200 Limestone Road, Pike Creek
Wilmington, DE 19808

October 5, 2017

9:45 AM to 10:45 AM
Hockessin United Methodist Church
7250 Lancaster Pike
Hockessin, DE 19707

Celebration of Life
October 5, 2017

11:00 AM
Hockessin United Methodist Church
7250 Lancaster Pike
Hockessin, DE 19707

October 6, 2017

Ss. Peter and Paul Cemetery
1600 S. Sproul Road
Springfield, PA 19064

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