Katherine K. Mangini - age: 105
(July 10, 1914 to January 20, 2020 )
Resident of Exeter, California
A private burial will be held at Exeter Cemetery. A reception and celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, March 14, 2020, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Exeter Courthouse Gallery and Historical Museum, 125 South “B” Street, Exeter, California. Donations to your favorite charity in lieu of flowers.
Katherine S. Mangini, long-time resident of Exeter and Visalia, California passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at the age of 105. Kath taught women’s physical education and coached women’s sports teams at Exeter Union High School from 1960 to 1982. Prior to teaching at EUHS, Kath taught physical education for a few years at Visalia Union High School - later renamed Redwood High School. Kath loved dance and movement. As a teen, she was an adept ballet dancer. In her early 20s, she participated in dance workshops with Martha Graham, the innovative young dancer who introduced the world to modern dance. “Had I not felt it was time for me to buy my own clothes I would have preferred to have followed Ms. Graham in dance” Kath once offered reflecting on her career as a gym teacher. Instead of following Martha Graham, Kath became a teaching fellow at the University of Nevada in Reno in the late 1930s and taught dance there for three years.
Born in Spokane, Washington, she was the eldest child of Charles Elliot Schnell and Lucile Kruchek Schnell. Her earliest years were spent without her father as he was serving in Europe during World War I. She witnessed the introduction of electrical power into the West as Charles Schnell was an electrical engineer for San Joaquin Light and Power Company – a company absorbed by PG&E around 1930. When she was about five years old the family moved to live at the Midway Steam Plant site which was under construction at Buttonwillow in Kern County where her father had been hired as a designing electrician for the new steam plant. She and her younger brother, Gordon, learned to swim in the cooling ponds at the Midway Steam Plant. The family moved to Fresno around 1920. When the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified in August 1920 giving women the right to vote, Kath’s mother took her to a barber shop where they both had their braids cut off. It was an “act of liberation” in support of women’s newly recognized right to decide for themselves. Throughout her lifetime, Kath was an independent spirit who supported women’s advances in all arenas - especially encouraging women to think for themselves and to develop their minds and physical bodies. Kath married the love of her life, John A. Mangini, in 1942. They settled in Visalia where they commenced to raise their family of five children. In 1960 the family moved to Exeter where John was a well-known and respected public accountant and where Kath had a teaching job at Exeter Union High School. They enjoyed a happy and loving marriage until John’s death in 1991. Kath loved adventure and travel. She traveled to Europe with John to visit his Italian relatives. She traveled to Kenya twice, taking her children and grandchildren on a photo safari in 1998. She stayed physically active throughout her life - fully understanding that staying fit and active was the key to a long a healthy life. She was an avid reader - particularly enjoying biographies and history. She dabbled in art - sketching and painting for her own amusement, as well as in geneology - producing family histories of John Mangini’s ancestors and of her mother’s family.
Kath is preceded in death by her husband, John A. Mangini, and her first child, Lucile Mangini Hays. She is survived by her children Marilouise Mangini Gostanian, Patricia A. Mangini, Janet C. Mangini, and Stuart Mangini, their spouses, five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.