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Zylstra honored for service to Community
by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · December 7th, 2017

Katy Zylstra has done much for Marion residents, even though she lives near Alburnett. One of the groups to benefit most from Katy's participation in its formation and guidance is the Senior Living Community and housing complex east of Marion near Highway 13.

On Monday evening, November 27, the Board of Directors held a celebration for Katy and her husband Henry at Biaggi's. It was a bittersweet occasion as Katy, who has served faithfully since the board's inception, is stepping down.

Katy was one of the group of ladies which started meeting at St. Joseph's Church to consider ways to help provide independent, affordable quality housing and services for low- to moderate-income seniors in and around Marion. It was an ecumenical organization, with members from 12 churches and six denominations taking part. In all, the churches have donated over $300,000 since 1994 to support the Marion Senior Living Community.

The first building was Moundview Manor. It contains 40 units and opened in April 2000. Scott Meadows was completed in April 2004 and has 32 units. Four years later, in 2008, Trinity Pointe, the third in the complex, was completed.

Katy's background helped her be a valuable member of the Senior Living Board of Directors from early on. She worked at Collins and later was a part-time employee in the Marion Post Office. Her final year before retirement from the Postal Service was spent at the Council Street Post Office in north Cedar Rapids.

She has volunteered in many ways and with many groups. She used to be the Adult Ed Coordinator for Kirkwood among families in the Alburnett area. The classes included exercise, cooking and sewing as well as needlework and computer-related skills. One year the group visited artists in their own environments, which she found especially enjoyable.

Katy also belongs to the Alburnett Historical Society and has helped with the museum on Main Street there.

Katy and Henry have always enjoyed traveling. They have made a number of trips to the Netherlands to visit relatives who live there and share their Dutch heritage.

Both like to watch their grandchildren play tennis and both have been active at the Rec Center.

Recently Katy has endured some health issues. She had back surgery not long ago and also has Parkinson's, which has caused her to slow down a bit. Even though Katy is stepping down from the Senior Living Board, though, she mentioned the future fourth building and hopes it will be possible soon.

Board President Dick Grimm mentioned his great appreciation to Katy for her common sense, her humor, and her being able to find ways to make miracles happen. He said, "We wish Katy the best in her retirement from the board.

"Over the years, her contributions to the board were many, but the one that stands out the most to me is her commitment and participation in fund-raising. She was one of the original members to help start and ensure the success of two of our fund-raisers, the lasagna dinner and the Younkers booklet sales.

"We will miss her joyful demeanor, but take some comfort in knowing that even though she has left the board, she will always be a part of Marion Senior Living."

Katy and Henry have two sons, Eric and David. David is an attorney living in Cedar Rapids and is legal consul to a start-up company. Eric is a patent attorney in Naperville, Illinois. There are five grandchildren: Grayson and Kathryn Rose (named for Katy), and also Liam, Sebastian and Miriya.

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