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Remembering Kathleen "Katie" Newcomb; Share Your Memories

Following Newcomb's death on Friday, Kings Park Patch is republishing a feature we ran on her in 2011. Please use the comment stream to remember this beloved local.

On Friday, Kathleen Newcomb died after an altercation with her grandson in her Kings Park home, and since then we've received a lot of feedback from readers wishing to remember this long-time Kings Parker. The below feature was written by Denise Creighton in June of 2011 about Newcomb, and we're re-running it below to give locals an opportunity to celebrate Newcomb's life. If you knew her, please leave your remembrances in the comment stream below.

Katie Newcomb: From Nurse to Principal of Nursing School

By Denise Creighton

When Katie Newcomb was just 14 years old, she doctored her school identification in order to appear older and she began working summers as a ward attendant at the Kings Park State Hospital. It was there that she rose up the ranks to Principal of the School of Nursing, ultimately becoming Director of Nursing.

Newsomb's class at the School of Nursing consisted of only six young men and four young women. One of her fellow students, Clarence, became her husband during her senior year. Similarly motivated, the two earned their bachelor's and master's degrees from Adelphi University, Clarence went on to work as a personnel administrator at Pilgrim State Hospital. Kate began her career as a staff nurse and was later promoted to head nurse, and then principal of the nursing school. It was in this role that Newcomb found her greatest satisfaction.

"I loved working with the students," said Newcomb. "Being able to get things done for the students. The Class of '59 had to be my favorite. They really brought such joy. Some were from places as far away as Canada or California and were living on the grounds. For the holidays, I would bring them to my house for dinner."

At the time, many of the young nurses who were graduates of the KP School of Nursing were starting families. "We were able to be flexible with our young nurses' schedules. They loved to work and we were able to arrange shifts and schedules so that they could," Newcomb said.

In 1966, Newcomb served as Chief of Nursing Services. In 1971, she was appointed Acting Chief of Service. She was the first non-physicians appointed to that position at Kings Park State Hospital. In 1973, Newcomb began working as a Program Analyst for Regional Office of Mental Health Services. In March of 1984, her husband Charlie died. Newcomb started her new position at nearby Pilgrim State Hospital as Mental Health Unit Chief. She finally retired in 1991.

While working and working on graduate degrees, Newcomb and her husband raised four children: Barbara, Charles, Jr., Kathie Ann and Mark. She continues to live in Kings Park with her pride and joy, her now 22 year old grandson, Clarence.

Mrs. Kathleen Newcomb is a woman who devoted her entire adult life to the care of mentally ill patients. She hopes to see many of her former colleagues on Friday at the annual reunion to be held at Larkfield Manor.

Rachael Prostka- Caliman January 06, 2013 at 03:59 PM
She was my next door neighbor. Always smiling, laughing, kind words to share, an absolute pleasure to know. She will be missed.
Mary Pugliese Lynch January 06, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Mary Pugliese Mutell Lynch I was born, raised and lived in Kings Park until 1979. Moved to California. I already posted a comment on Katie. I am so sorry to say Jennifer I have no photos to share. I left a lot behind when I moved. I spent many hours as a grade schooler, high school and much older at the Lyons home. The home was always welcomed. The photo above with Katie is my cousin Jane Taylor who was also a nurse at KPSH many years ago. Katie and her family will be in my prayers always. She will be missed by all. God Bless.
Jennifer Sloat (Editor) January 06, 2013 at 07:52 PM
Thank you Mary for sharing your kind words about Katie.
Joan Gilmer January 07, 2013 at 12:36 PM
We were close friends of Kate and Charlie in Days of Yore. Bill remembers Kate from nursing school. Kate was always cheerful. upbeat and would help everyone. We pray that they are now at peace together.
Danielle Q January 07, 2013 at 10:51 PM
I did Kate's hair every Friday for the last year. Her upbeat spunky personality brought so much happiness to the salon. She remembered every face she encountered from hairdressers family members to other clients and she never hesitated to check up to see how everyone was doing. The salon will not be the same without her. RIP Kate. We will miss you dearly.
Mary Pugliese Lynch January 08, 2013 at 04:42 PM
Prayers and Blessings go out to the Newcomb and Lyons family on this sad day. Rest in peace Katie, you were loved by all. Prayers are with Clarence also. He is also going through a rough time. Love to all.

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