Cover photo for Kathleen Kay (Park)  Walling's Obituary
Kathleen Kay (Park)  Walling Profile Photo
1938 Kathleen 2023

Kathleen Kay (Park) Walling

July 29, 1938 — May 25, 2023

Farmington

Kathleen Kay (Park) Walling

On Thursday, May 25, 2023, Kathleen Kay (K. K.) Walling, age 84, passed from this life into eternal life at Life Care Center of Farmington, after a lengthy battle with colon cancer and diabetes. Kathleen, called Kathy by her many friends, was a loving mother, spouse and faithful friend to many in the Farmington, New Mexico community who touched lives through her teaching of art classes, coordination of art shows, and as an artist.

Kathleen was born on July 29, 1938 in Hastings, Nebraska, the second child of Lyle K. and Mary E. Park. Kathleen’s 2nd grade teacher, Miss Smiley at Morton Elementary School, informed her parents that Kathleen was very talented in art and should be enrolled in art classes outside of school. Soon after, Kathleen began taking pastel art classes from a friend’s mother and received a 1st Place ribbon at the Nebraska State Fair for one of her pastels. Kathleen graduated from Hastings High School in 1956. Besides art classes, Kathleen played oboe and was a member of the Hastings High School Rifle team. Kathleen graduated from Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri in 1958 with a major in fine art and a minor in mathematics.

In 1958, Kathleen met the love of her life, Emmett Walling on the back steps of the First United Methodist Church in Farmington. They were married on October 30, 1958 at First UMC (currently called RiverStone Church) and settled in Farmington. Emmett worked as chief chemist at Southern Union Company while Kathleen taught art classes, first at the Navajo United Methodist Center, and later, she served as the gallery coordinator at San Juan College while also working as an adjunct art faculty member teaching watercolor and oil classes. For many years, Kathleen and her good friend, the late Jane Clayton, operated an art gallery in Farmington.

Kathleen Walling signed her paintings as K. K. Walling and was an award-winning plein air artist. As a plein air painter of oil landscapes, she tried to capture the light, shadows, color and moods of a place and to communicate those feelings to the viewer. Kathleen was a signature member of the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society (NOAPS). She was also an artist member of the Oil Painters of America, Plein Air Artists of Colorado, Plein Air Painters of New Mexico, American Impressionist Society and one of the founders of the Plein Air Painters of the Four Corners.

Since the early 2000s, K. K. Walling has served as a Director on the Capitol Art Foundation Board which oversees the art collection in the New Mexico State Capitol in Santa Fe. One of her projects for this group was raising the funds for a bronze sculpture by world-renowned master sculptor, Oreland Joe entitled “Buffalo Tail” that was erected and placed at the west entrance of the State Capitol near the steps in October 2021. In October 2022, the Henderson Fine Arts Center Art Gallery at San Juan College in Farmington held a retrospective art exhibit featuring 65 pieces of K. K. Walling’s art in various media, including watercolors, etchings, weavings, block prints, dyed silk and drawings and her preferred medium, oils. This retrospective included artwork from age 9 onwards.

Kathleen exhibited in regional and national shows and won numerous awards. She was a member of local weaving groups and a 56-year member of P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) Chapter AE in Farmington. When someone has been a P.E.O. member for 50 years or more, they are considered to be a “Golden Girl.”

Kathleen was preceded in death by her parents, Lyle and Mary Park, her husband, Emmett and her son Jeff Walling. She is survived by her son, Stuart Walling (wife Penny) of Tulsa, Oklahoma and three step-grandchildren and five step great-grandchildren. They include Tara Rose (husband Jared) Bennett of Tulsa, Oklahoma and their son, Emmett; Randall Breckenridge of Tulsa, Oklahoma and daughter, Alora; and Richard (wife Kathryn) Breckenridge and daughters, Jasmine and Rose, of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kathleen is also survived by her brother, Loyal Park of Lincoln, Nebraska, nephew, Devon Park of Broomfield, Colorado and niece, Rosann Park-Jones (husband Ross Jones) of Winnetka, Illinois and their triplet daughters, Emily, Rachel and Carrie, along with numerous other relatives and friends.

The family would like to offer their gratitude and appreciation to Kathleen’s doctors and nurses, including Dr. Sardar Zakariya Imam of the Four Corners Cancer Center and Dr. Lisa Ereifej, Kathleen’s endocrinologist in Albuquerque.

Funeral arrangements are by Cope Memorial Chapel Farmington, 404 West Arrington Street, Farmington, New Mexico 87401.

A visitation will be held from 9 am to 10 am on Friday, June 9th at the church one hour before the service begins. A funeral service will be held at 10 am on June 9th at the First United Methodist Church/RiverStone Church, 808 N. Monterey Avenue in Farmington. A luncheon at the church will follow at 11 am. Burial will follow at 1 pm at Greenlawn Cemetery.

Memorial contributions can be sent to the New Mexico Capitol Art Foundation, a 501(c)(3) art organization, in care of Ms. Cynthia Sánchez, Ph.D., Executive Director and Curator, 411 State Capitol, Santa Fe, NM 87503, (505) 986-4614, http://nmcapitolart.com; the Art Program at the New Beginnings, Navajo United Methodist Center, P.O. Box 6292, Farmington, NM 87499, 505-325-7578, or a donation may be made to Cottey College, 1000 West Austin, Nevada, MO 64772, (417) 667-8181 ext. 2120, https://cottey.edu/give/.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kathleen Kay (Park) Walling, please visit our flower store.

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