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Katie Nesbitt

Obituary for Katie Nesbitt

May 1, 1936 - August 11, 2017
Austin, Texas | Age 81


Katie Zitzman Nesbitt died Friday, August 11, 2017, in her home of more than 45 years after a brief but courageous battle with cancer. The only daughter of Pat Ferris-Mills and Brigadier General Kenneth Frederick Zitzman, Katie was born in Manila, The Philippines on May 1, 1936. While she only lived there a few years, Katie always felt her faith got its strong foundation in a monastery where she stayed as an infant while her parents traveled to China. After a few years, her father's military career brought the family back to the United States and she began a journey that lasted through her youth and teen years and included stops in San Antonio, Greenwich, Connecticut, West Point, NY and Washington DC.

In Washington, Katie met her dearest friend, Mary Ann Rogers and formed a friendship that lasted more than a decade. In Mary Ann she found a kindred spirit of a horsewoman and a girlfriend also in search of a church home. The inseparable, best friends actively sought out different denominations and when they visited the Episcopal Church, Katie knew she was home. Her connection to the Episcopal Church lasted the rest of her life.

One of the most significant of her father's military assignments led Katie and her family to Paris, France in 1952, where she met the love of her life. Earl J. Nesbitt, Jr. was a tall Texan with good looks and swagger and their love story lasted more than 60 years. After finishing high school one year apart at the small Paris American High School, Katie followed Earl to Austin where they both earned their college degrees in 1957 at The University of Texas at Austin.

The two married in 1956 and two years later the first of 4 children arrived and Katie took on her greatest role; motherhood. For 10 years while living in Corpus Christi, the family grew and in 1970 Katie and Earl moved back to Austin for good. During her four decades in Austin, Katie was a dedicated and involved mother taking on everything from Girl Scout cookie chairman to drill team mom. She also served her community on the Travis County Historical Survey Committee, as a volunteer and board member for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, Sunday school teacher and vestry member for The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, and a volunteer chairman for KMFA radio. Thanks to decades of good health, she was a regular blood donor, reaching the 27-gallon mark.

Once back in Austin, her professional career grew. In 1972, Katie went to work at St. Edwards University. In 1975 she began a 24-year stint as an Editor II at The University of Texas at Austin Center for Energy Studies. The CES was first housed on the main UT campus and later moved to north Austin and the J.J "Jake" Pickle Research campus. She was an excellent and meticulous editor who loved the English language and the careful use of words.

It was on the Pickle campus that Katie found a small group of women who shared a passion for camping, the outdoors, good cooking and each other's company. The circle of women, affectionate known as the Stubborn Tough Old Broads- STOBs, became dear friends who saw each other through births and deaths, marriages and career changes. It was with this group of extraordinary women that Katie discovered her inner strength; doing things for herself she never realized she could do. With the STOBs, Katie developed a confidence in herself that she never knew existed. This amazing group of women remain friends to this day.

Katie's sense of duty, learned early from her father, carried throughout her life as a wife, mother, grandmother to 6 and great grandmother to one. Her mantra for all child-rearing was borrowed from a line in the Disney movie, Bambi. "If you can't say something nice don't say nothing at all."

She was a dutiful daughter right to the end of her father's life, contributing for him and carrying on his legacy as Scribe for the Class of '32 at the United States Military Academy at West Point. On the 70th anniversary of the class, she was honored with a citation for her years of service. She was proud to be the daughter of a West Point graduate.

After seeing all of their children successfully through college and technical school, Katie and Earl enjoyed years of travel to favorite spots including road trips to Montana, Wyoming and California and tours through Scotland. They shared these adventures with their beloved brother and sister-in-law, Col. Robert L. Nesbitt, (ret.) and Capt. Christine Nesbitt.

Several things accompanied Katie through all the seasons of her life. She was never without a dachshund, a book to read and her faith in the Lord.

Katie is predeceased by her husband, her mother, father, and half-sister, Cleve Roller, her sister-in-law and one grandson, Sterling Archer Nesbitt. She is survived by her daughters Kathy Barfield and her husband, Mike; Caroline Osmon and her husband, Steve; sons John Nesbitt, and Ken Nesbitt and his wife Lauren. Katie is also survived by 5 grandchildren; Amanda Davey (Jeff), Logan Osmon, Luke Osmon, Alexander (Xan) Nesbitt and Arabel Nesbitt and one great-grandchild, Brinley Jo Davey. She is also survived by her brother-in-law, her nieces, Dawn Baker and Lisa Rose and numerous cousins.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday, September 2, 2017 at 11am at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 3201 Windsor Rd., Austin, TX. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to The Nature Conservancy of Montana, 325 E. Ewing, Helena, MT 59601; The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd Endowment Fund, 3201 Windsor Rd., Austin TX 78703 or KMFA 89.5, 3001 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78705 or Arrangements handled by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Homes, North Lamar, Austin, TX.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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