Obituary prepared by Keith Katzenberger, Darla’s husband:
My wife Darla greatly appreciates everyone who assisted her with her cancer treatment. She loves everyone, even from her heavenly home. Friends, relatives and professionals were incredibly compassionate with her. During this time, she maintained a positive outlook and a sense of humor even though there were times of serious pain and illness. When Darla was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015, she told me she did not want to die. I said, “We will do this together.” So, she battled five-plus years. This put her in the 1 percentile of survival. Darla was cared for by St. Joseph Regional Medical Center’s Cancer Center, Tri-State Hospital and Elite Hospice. She was a valiant fighter.
Darla Raye Katzenberger passed away the morning of Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, at the age of 70. I was at her side in our home. Darla was born March 6, 1950, in Spokane to Vance and Janet Nelson Hendershott. She graduated from Cusick High School in 1969. Two sons survive her from a previous marriage, Eric and Lynn Loomis, of Henderson, Nev., and Aaron and Joanna Loomis and grandson Grant Loomis, of Seattle. Also surviving her is our son, “Dusty” Dustin Vance Katzenberger, and his wife, Brianne, of Lewiston. Darla is survived by her sister, Anna Hendershott, of Newport, Wash., and brothers Bill and Richard, of Spokane. And not to forget her Holland lop support rabbit, Molly, given by Dusty.
Darla was preceded in death by her parents and stepdaughter Michelle Katzenberger who passed away March 15, 2020. Anointings were performed by Msgr. Andrew Schumacher, Fr. Sean Caulfield and Fr. Brad Neely.
Our love story started at a Christian singles picnic when she asked me to take her on a canoe ride at Beachview Park in the summer of 1985. I asked her if she noticed how close the water was to the shore this year. She replied, “My dad said funny comments like that.” Finally Darla professed her commitment to me at Pizza Hut in Lewiston later in the fall. She was convinced God brought us together because of previous activities we attended at church and recognized me. She joined the Catholic Church after completing R.C.I.A. Classes. Fr. Joe Schmidt married us on April 4, 1987, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. I told her we need to look for a house soon because it might take months to find one. After less than two hours, we chose a house on Powers Drive and lived there ever since. Eric, Aaron and Dusty were all raised there.
Darla and I attended St. James Catholic Church where Fr. Andrew Schumacher was pastor and then later to All Saints. She joined the choir at St. James where I played guitar and we immediately became close friends with all the Folk Group members, which still lasts today. We both were always involved in activities in the music ministry and the Fall Harvest Bazaar. The last few years, Darla volunteered at the Salvation Army’s kitchen to serve ones in need.
Darla loved crafts, especially cross-stitching and later scrapbooking. This led to her starting “Picture This and That” in our home in 1995. Some customers would only have her mount and frame their treasures. Darla won many cross-stitch best of show and best of class ribbons at the Nez Perce County Fair. She became a needlework judge at NPC Fair and later judged at the Asotin and Latah County fairs. She loved to dance, especially to music from the ’50s to ’80s. Early on we constantly attended street dances and sock hops, then later followed Dusty to his gigs singing with The Hitmen and Widestance. She loved music, always singing with the radio and TV jingles. Most of the time she got the words correct. She loved to play pinochle. She joined a group of women who played every month. Most of the time she would win her dollar back. She still has the high score of 710 in solitaire on her phone. I haven’t been able to beat it.
Darla was an excellent cook and party planner. There were many fun barbecue parties in the back yard and venues rented for Wide-stance and the Katz Band to celebrate birthdays and retirements. Every spring I had to budget funds for plants and flowers for the yard. If there wasn’t grass or gravel, there were flowers. The house was constantly being cleaned and kept up to a level I will never be able to duplicate. She would yell, “Take your shoes off, I just mopped” and “Don’t forget to dry off the chrome!” after the boys and I took showers.
She made me buy a motorhome. We wanted to travel, camp and attend reunions. The longest trip was a two-week vacation to Sea World, Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland in 2002. We caravaned with Monte and Julie Katzenberger, plus their family. Recently the motorhome became a retreat when it was parked at the farm in Potlatch. She would sleep so well and I had a hard time getting her up to make me breakfast. In 2015, she made me buy the Buick Encore so we could travel more economically. But then we had to schedule trips around her cancer treatments. We did manage to go to California a few times. The last trip was with Monte and Julie again.
We were a good team. Though we had different tastes, our projects were near-perfect. The miniature mansion we built in the basement will attest to this. Darla’s love for me is unbreakable. She believes in me. She cares for and protects me. She knows my strength and weaknesses. She has the ability to sense what is on my mind. So I speak of her in the present because even in death, some things do not change.
Cremation has taken place by Vassar-Rawls Funeral Home. Darla is in a place of honor in her home. There will be a memorial service at All Saints at a later date so family and friends can attend. Memorial donations can be made to All Saints Catholic Church or All Saints Catholic School at 3330 14th St., Lewiston, ID 83501.