Catherine “Kay” Schlichting

November 18, 1923 ‒ July 04, 2014

Delaware, Ohio

Catherine “Kay” Fletcher Nicholson Schlichting, age 90 of Delaware, professor emeritus of Ohio Wesleyan University, passed away peacefully Friday evening, July 4th, 2014, at Willow Brook Christian Community.  People will remember Kay for her ready smile and willingness to help others.

She was born on November 18, 1923 to William Parsons and Ethel Louise (Breitling) Nicholson in Huntsville, Alabama, where she spent her entire childhood, graduating from Huntsville High School. After graduation from the University of Alabama in 1944, where she received the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award, Kay served as librarian at Sylacauga High School, Sylacauga, Alabama and at Hinsdale High School, Hinsdale, Illinois.  In 1950, she received a Masters of Library Science from the University of Chicago, and then served as librarian at the Center for Children’s Books at the University of Chicago.  Kay joined the library faculty of Ohio Wesleyan University in the fall of 1965, retiring in 1986 but continuing to serve as curator of the Ohio Wesleyan University Historical Collection in Beeghly Library until 2006.

During her tenure at Ohio Wesleyan, Kay was an OWU-Mellon Foundation Grantee in 1972-73 and a Great Lakes Colleges Association teaching fellow in 1976-77 and 1984-85.  She served for many years as a member and chair of two faculty committees; as secretary of the OWU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors; and on the Board of Directors of Academic Librarians Association of Ohio. She developed many instructional materials for the library and served as information consultant for the two University histories published for its sesquicentennial anniversary:   Noble Achievements: The History of Ohio Wesleyan 1842-1992 edited by Professor Bernard Murchland, and 150 Years of Excellence: A Pictorial View of Ohio Wesleyan University, 1992 by Barbara Tull.  In 1997, Ohio Wesleyan University made Kay an Honorary Alumna in recognition of her consistent interest in and support of the university – one of seven honorees during the 1990s.

Kay was an active member of Asbury United Methodist Church beginning in 1959, serving at various times as member and chair of the Education Commission, the Council on Ministries, and the Administrative Board.  She also served for thirteen years in various offices of the Mt. Vernon District of The United Methodist Women, including as President. Also while in Delaware she was a longtime member of History Club and of Fortnightly Club, which merged in 1991 to become The Fortnightly/History Club.

Kay is survived by her children James Dean (Jean) Schlichting of Arlington, VA, Richard Dale (Cynthia) Schlichting of New Providence, NJ, Barbara Schlichting (Laren) Hale of Beaverton, OR, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.   Her children will miss her and will treasure her as an incredible and special mother.  She took them as small children camping from Ohio to California and back, and into New England and Canada.  Later she braved driving all over Europe with them, including the “wrong” side of the road in England.

She married Harry Fredrick Schlichting, on July 1, 1950.  Dr. Schlichting, Professor of Education at Ohio Wesleyan University, died in 1964.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday July 12, 2014, at 2:30 pm, at Asbury United Methodist Church, 55 W. Lincoln Ave. with Rev. Phil Wilden officiating. A reception will follow immediately after the services. Burial will be observed privately by her family in Oak Grove Cemetery next to her husband. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Snyder-Rodman Funeral Center in Delaware.

Memorial contributions can be made in her memory to the Willow Brook Christian Communities, Asbury United Methodist Church, Ohio Wesleyan University, or the American Cancer Society all in care of the Snyder-Rodman Funeral Center, 1510 W. William St., Delaware, Ohio 43015.

Condolences may be expressed at

  • To Kay’s family and loved ones:
    Unfortunately I had not seen or had communications with Kay ina few years. But we had been rather close when we were on the District UMW Team. She was in my home a number of times for meetings. A very special lady. She will be greatly missed I’m sure.
    Mary Allen

    • Mary, Thank you so much for your kind thoughts. We know Mom spent a number of years helping the District UMW after we three kids had “flown the coop.” It’s nice to know her contribution is still remembered!

  • Kay was a very special woman. We were on the district UMW executive board together. I gained much from Kay: her love of computers: to put address labels on everything – markers, pens, books; to be open to new possibilities.
    Kay faced what came her way with Grace and planning for the future.
    It was my good fortune to have known and worked with Kay.
    Unfortunately we will be put of town for her Memorial Service. Emma dixon

    • Emma and Larry, Thank you for sharing your memories of Mom. We will miss you at the Memorial Service on Saturday.


  • Jim, Rick & Barb,
    The Leslie family always felt that your Mom & the 3 of you were part of our extended family. We loved our Thanksgivings & dinners with all of you. I will always remember your Mom with great love & affection. Her beautiful smile & warm heart will always be how I remember her. She was a loving, strong and kind woman. She raised 3 great kids by herself & that says a lot about who she was.
    My thoughts & prayers are with all of you during these sad times. – Debbie Leslie-Beck

    • Thank you, Debbie. We are so pleased that your Mom will be able to to join the family luncheon on Saturday, given her long and special friendship with Mom.


  • Kay was an amazing woman, one who quietly served the university and this community. Her keen interest in learning provided strong support to learners throughout the area, including me. Your family and this community have lost a great treasure.

    Please know I send strong positivet thoughts and prayers in her memory.

    • Thank you, “Mrs. Gregory”. (somehow, all our teachers remain Mr., Miss, and Mrs. in our minds!) We three children felt truly blessed to have had her as our mother.


  • Kay was obviously intelligent and had a broad knowledge base. No matter what questions we came up with as Ohio Wesleyan Students, she always knew the answer. She was throughly considerate and kind to everyone. She used her enormous common sense and delightful sense of humor to fit in and make social contributions everywhere she went. She always knew what to say and how to make people smile.

    Still, those compliments fail to express her greatest virtue: as a mother. Having lost a remarkable husband at an early age, she raised three great children who have pursued different paths. It takes a great parent to do that.

    One of my mentors, the remarkable advocate Judge Justin Ravitz, used to say that the most important thing we do to make the world a better place is to raise great kids. As impressive as all of Kay’s personal virtues are, they are dwarfed by Justin Ravitz’s metric.

    I am deeply saddened that the Schlichting family has lost such a wonderful human being. I hope that the celebration of her life provides some small measure of comfort. I am so glad to have known her.

    Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

    • Thank you, Lee. We will indeed be celebrating her life, and all the wonderful times our family had with her. We feel truly blessed.


  • Jim, Rick, Barbara and all the Schlichting family members, I send my deepest condolences for the loss of your mom. I have memories of your mom from the days when my younger brother John and I would gather at your house (and sometimes eat breakfast) to pick up Jim on our very short drive to high school. It also was interesting to learn for the first time about my shared Huntsville connection with your mom – where she spent her growing-up years and where I have now spent my last 30 years! I sincerely pray that you receive peace and comfort at this time, and relish your many great memories!

  • So sad to read of the passing of your mom, and my Aunt Catherine. My mother always envied your mom’s sewing talents, while ,evidently, your mom wished she was a better baseball player. Though they grew apart due to distances, they kept in touch. I enjoyed hearing about what was going on in your families through my mom, but lost that connection when she passed. I caught up with your mom again when my son was stationed in Columbus, and would visit her when I could.

    Frank and I always had the best Boston based vacations and tours because the itinerary was set up to educate Schlichting children; we simply benefited, going places we might never have gone simply because they were too convenient. Our trips to Oklahoma ( my first oil pump sightings), and Ohio were always an adventure.

    She will be missed. Her accomplishments will live on at her church, and the university. She passed her morals and standards on to her children, and through you and her grand, and great grandchildren, she made her part of the world, and beyond, a better place.