Kathy Mae was born in Custer, SD on June 26, 1953 to John Paul Dilley and Shirley Mae Sanders. The family moved to Raymond, WA in 1966 – Kathy graduated from Raymond High School in 1971. The Dilley’s were known as a family band. From the time Kathy Mae could talk she was singing, and you could always find a guitar in her hand. As the oldest of the four Dilley children, she followed her Mama Shirley’s lead when it came to family and harmony. She never turned down a performance, and they soon became coined as the “Dilley Sisters.” She was a small-town girl with a big personality. She spoke of herself as a young girl who had a strong desire to know God. She learned what she deemed the truth about the bible from her Grandpa Sanders and was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witness on February 6, 1972. From then on out, it was a guitar in one hand and a bible in the other. She went from a mini skirt and go-go boots to a ministry skirt – but never lost those signature high heels.
Kathy and Lon Rae Michaelis welcomed to the world two people who became the center of her life on December 27, 1974 and May 26, 1977, Rachel Marie and Robbi Kay. When she wasn’t canning pickles or elk meat, they were either fishing or singing at County Fairs as a family. Always ready to make you laugh, she might just do a cartwheel right in the middle of the crowded Puyallup Fair or do the infamous Ham Combo pose with her sisters-in-law. Her daughters speak of her as “one of a kind”. She raised her children to love hard, sing from the heart, get back up when you fall, and hold on to the “real life” promised in the bible. Her unconditional love and ability to listen was demonstrated in every moment of their lives, a quality hard to come by. It wasn’t that she lacked expectations though. If you did something she didn’t agree with, she had no problem straightening you out. If you doubt that, try singing off key. Singing for the girls was not really an option – she called their names they just got up and sang. The apple didn’t fall to far from the Shirley-and-John- Dilley tree on that one. She was also quite the entrepreneur. One of the favorite and most remembered business ventures was the “Dilley Popcorn Ball” business. Let’s just say, her family tried endless flavors of popcorn balls.
She married her best friend, Jerry Shiflett, on June 22,1990. At this time, she gained two daughters she loved as her own, Carol and Emily Shiflett. They began to build their 29 years of life together and settled into the Lakebay Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Kathy and Jerry grew a lush garden and, as a result, spent a lot of time in the kitchen together. At times, it was hard to know who was “in charge” in the kitchen. If you knew Kathy Mae, you know the answer. When you showed up to the lake house on any given warm summer night, you might find them dancing on the deck to a loud Steve Warner song. Palmer Lake was the destination for any and all to camp out, karaoke, dance into the night and, most importantly, feel loved. In fact, most everyone who spent time with Kathy Mae looked to her as a mom, and countless others often referred to her as Grandma Kathy.
She dedicated much of her time to what she called her greatest joy, LeRoy, Ebony Mae, and Bianca. Raising her own children, she was ahead of her time forcing holistic tinctures, whole grains, and unique vitamins. Her grandkids though, they just got love, hugs, and treats. They picked veggies out of the garden together, and by popular demand she made them her famous spaghetti and homemade pie. Kathy was a loyal servant of Jehovah, devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. Kathy Mae, unexpectedly, fell asleep in her home on November 19th, 2019 at the age of 66. She was truly unforgettable and at peace with the hope from her creator that is just around the corner – to be awakened and reunited with her family.
“Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice” – John 5:28
Kathy is survived by her husband, Jerry, her daughters Rachel Marie Crofoot, Robbi Kay Norman, Carol Shiflett and Emily Shiflett, her grandchildren LeRoy Fengler, Ebony Mae Norman and Bianca Daniel Norman, and her siblings Ann Runyon, Susan Stratton, and Jimmy Dilley. A memorial service is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on December 7, 2019 at the Gig Harbor Kingdom Hall, 4506 144th St NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98332. Brother Jim Bellamy will officiate the service. A reception will follow at Norpoint Margaret McCormick Social Hall at 4818 Nassau Ave NE, Tacoma, WA 98422.