Kathy Etter: Supporter of the arts, “box office lady”

Supporter of the arts, “box office lady”

Kathy Etter, a longtime Claremont resident, died of complications from a massive heart attack on Saturday, October 17, 2015 with her loving husband, Rod Etter, and daughter, Kaitlyn Etter, by her side. She was 60 years old.

Born to Betty Cable Perry and William Vernon Perry on September 19, 1955 in Covina, Kathy was the eldest of four children. Growing up, she was a compassionate animal lover, was enthusiastic about musical theater and the arts and enjoyed spending time with her family, including younger siblings Ruth, Hillina and Mike.

In her youth, Kathy played the clarinet and saxophone, marched in the school band and took piano lessons from her mother. She graduated from Santa Monica High School in 1973 and went on to attend Santa Monica College. It was there that she met her husband Rod. They connected over their love of music and even marched together in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Kathy and Rod were both very active in the First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica. They enjoyed singing in the choir, and Kathy even served as the education secretary for several years. The two were married in 1977 and in 1980 they moved to Claremont where they joined the Claremont United Methodist Church. At this time, Ms. Etter joined the brokerage firm Paine-Webber where she stayed for 20 years, commuting by bus each day from Claremont to downtown Los Angeles.

In 1986 they welcomed a daughter, Kaitlyn, into their lives. Together the family enjoyed musical theater and the arts, long weekends at their cabin in Running Springs and caring for animals, most recently for their cat Muffin and dog Max.

In the late ‘80s, the family traveled to Austria with the Classical Music Seminar Choir and enjoyed taking in the sights and sounds of Europe.

As Kaitlyn grew, she too developed a love for music. The family became very active with Children’s Theater Experience where Ms. Etter took on the role of guest stage manager while her husband and daughter performed in shows throughout southern California. The family later joined Claremont United Church of Christ and Kathy joined Bridges Auditorium at Pomona College where she worked as their box office manager for almost 15 years. With her winning combination of caring and efficiency, she made many friends among local theatergoers, becoming known as “that friendly box office lady.”

Her laughter, love and friendship will be deeply missed. She is survived by her husband, Rod, and daughter, Kaitlyn. 

The memorial service for Ms. Etter will be held on Sunday, November 1, 2015 at 3 p.m. in the Kingman Chapel at Claremont United Church of Christ, located at 233 Harrison Ave. in Claremont. 

Ms. Etter’s friends started a YouCaring.com account, under the name “Kindness for the Family of Kathy Etter,” to help her family with medical bills and funeral expenses, giving them some breathing room while they come to terms with her unexpected death. Contributions are still being accepted.


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