Kathryn Grace Fleming

Born: Normal, Illinois on 09 August 1948

Passed away: Manassas, Virginia on 05 March 2016

Aged: 67 years

Funeral Date: 18 March 2016

Service Details

A memorial and mass will be held on Friday, March 18, 2016 at Annunciation Catholic Church for family and friends.

The Story

Mid-day on March 5, 2016, Kathryn Grace Fleming (née Kathy Lynn Harbert) passed away, with her husband by her side, at home in Manassas, Virginia following a long and courageous battle with cancer. She was 67 years old.

Kathryn was born in Normal, Illinois on August 9, 1948. She was the first of two daughters of the late Alice Ruth and Wendell D. Harbert.
Kathryn lived a life of brilliance and scholarship, with a strong sense of principle and an unflagging belief in justice as the guiding pathway throughout her illustrious career as an educator and a lawyer.

Kathryn’s father, a firm believer in free speech, moved his family to pursue a long and heralded career in newspapers, and Kathryn spent her high school years at Barnstable High School in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Kathryn graduated from Colby Sawyer Junior College in 1968 and received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1972. For a time during her baccalaureate study and in the height of the Vietnam conflict, she was enrolled at Marietta College and insisted on staying on campus to finish her exams despite the school closing due to student unrest.

Kathryn’s work in academia was legend, and she was awarded her Ph.D. in Speech Communications from the Pennsylvania State University in 1984. Kathryn was the recipient in 1985 of the prestigious National Communications Association’s Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. Her dissertation, entitled A Neuropsychological Framework for the Assessment of Competing Theories of Rhetoric as Epistemic, is still studied today.

She was a revered professor of speech and public speaking at Georgetown University and Penn State where her students and professors ranked among some of the most well-known statesmen in the country. In the late 1990s, Kathryn’s love of speech led her to complete her law degree at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia where she was awarded her Juris Doctor in Law in 1997. She was admitted to the Florida Bar and moved to Key West, Florida with her husband, Jeffrey Blake, to practice family law.

Key West captured her heart, and she and Jeffrey spent 10 years in this bohemian town where she fought hard for the rights of her clients. Much of work was pro bono as she rallied around the down trodden to achieve the justice to which she believed everyone is entitled. In 2010, Kathryn and Jeffrey returned to Manassas, VA to care for Kathryn’s elderly mother whose eyesight was plagued by macular degeneration.

Kathryn led a full life from her hobbies, both golfing and piloting small planes, to her steadfastness as a wife, a colleague, and a friend. She was the “fairy godmother” to nieces and nephews who adored her. Kathryn opened her heart to those around her to listen, to lend a hand, and to represent as an attorney those whom justice had yet to serve.

Kathryn is survived by her husband Jeffrey E. Blake, a stockbroker, and her sister, Sue Pearson as well as nieces and nephews.
A private memorial and family gathering to celebrate her life will be held on Friday, March 18, 2016.

Contributions in tribute of Kathryn can be made to
Park West Lions club
8620 Sunnygate Drive
Manassas, VA 20109

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kathryn, one day i walked into a law firm in key west, and walked out with a new best friend. it happened that fast. but what was not to love about you? your quiet intelligence and (usually) calm demeanor were equally, irreverently, delightfully matched with a sharp, pointed wit, an ever-ready laugh, and a heart that was at least 3 sizes too big for your tiny body. thank you for all the times we fed and took care of the kitties in KW. thank you for all of the phone calls and emails and advice and laughter thru tears. thank you for 16 years of love and friendship you are the kind of human being i hope to turn into someday. i love you so so much, and even though i miss the sound of your voice i know you're still with me... because i can still hear you in my heart. love, your misty



Just sit right backAnd you'll hear a taleA tale of a fateful trip, That started from this tropic port, Aboard this tiny ship.The mate was a mighty sailin' man, The Skipper brave and sure.Five passengers set sail that day, For a three hour tour, A three hour tour.The weather started getting rough, But the tiny ship was tossed.If not for the courage of the fearless crewThe Minnow would be lost.The Minnow would be lost.The ship's aground on the shoreOf this uncharted desert isleWith Gilligan, The Skipper too.A millionaire and his wife, A movie star, The professor and Mary Ann, Here on Gilligan's Isle.(Ending verse)So this is the tale of our castaways, They're here for a long, long time.They'll have to make the best of things, It's an uphill climb.The first mate and his Skipper, too, Will do their very best, To make the others comfortableIn the tropic island nest.No phone, no lights, no motor car, Not a single luxuryLike Robinson CrusoeIt's primitive as can be.So join us here each week my friends, You're sure to get a smile, From seven stranded castawaysHere on Gilligan's Isle!



Our 46 year friendship passed all too quickly. So many times this past week I've come so close to sharing something in an email with you as we've done so many times. There were always numerous instances where our shared bawdy and irreverent sense of humor brought us laughter. I will miss you so much yet won't be surprised to continue to receive some messages from you. There is no doubt that this will simply be another achievement you'll easily master. I know as well that you'll continue to be the caring friend who was always ready to patiently listen and offer support. I love you. Dane (your friend who did indeed "call at this hour")

Dane Hymore