Katharine J. “Katie” Schultz died in early March 2022, after a heroic battle with addiction and mental illness. Despite these, she had a deep and abiding love for the marvelous gift of her daughter, Isabella Lillie (Izzy), born in February 2018, now a curious, compassionate fun loving four year old.
After her birth in Washington, DC, in 1980, Katie lived her early years in Bethesda. Among other achievements, there she was proclaimed the fastest girl in running contests in first grade at Bethesda Elementary.
Her passion for cooking began at age 3 when she asked only for “Ingredients” for Christmas. It continued throughout her life. She attended L’Academie Cuisine in Bethesda as an 8 year old, joining classes of fellow student adults in French cooking. At 14, she took cake decorating classes in Mount Pleasant, Md. after the family moved from Bethesda to Jefferson, Md.
She also had a great love for animals, especially dogs, and managed Molly’s (her Labrador Retriever’s) three litters totaling 31 puppies, finding good homes for all but one who was traded for Jake, a large blond male Lab who became a companion and friend to Molly and the rest of the family. She also had cats and kittens (a litter born in a dresser drawer), a rabbit and two ferrets, Slim and Tina among her menagerie.
Learning about this thing called “Homeschooling,” Katie persuaded her parents to let her “Homeschool” after grade 6 of public school. She enrolled initially in the Calvert School with specified curriculum and remote teacher supervision and next joined the Learning Community, a homeschooling or unschooling network guided by a student’s interests from which she graduated in 1997. Katie volunteered at the Frederick County Humane Society as a part of her “Unschooling.” She worked with clay under the supervision of our friend and neighbor, the potter at Catoctin Pottery. Katie studied at Frederick Community College before moving to Boulder, Colo. with a friend and attending the Culinary Arts Institute of American in Denver, Colo. for a year. In Boulder, she purchased her dog Sammy, a mixed Lab and Golden Retriever, her closest companion.
Her work history revolved around cooking beginning in the kitchen at the Orchard in Frederick, Md., Moving to Cafe Nola’s just up the block where she was head chef and later Venuti’s. She was hired by the Common Market as it opened its new store on Buckeystown Pike in 2006 where she created recipes, supervised the cafe staff and set up the store’s displays of prepared food. Katie was a candidate for the cable tv cooking show, Hell’s Kitchen. She passed the interview round in New York City and was flown to Los Angeles, Calif. for the final selection round. She later was hired by the Clagett Episcopal Retreat Center in Buckeystown, Md., Where she got a standing ovation from retreatants for the quality transformation of its food.
Katie struggled with mental health issues beginning in early elementary years and throughout her life. She was introduced to drugs when she started working at 16, self medicating to address her social anxiety and loneliness. She battled addiction for 25 years, winning skirmishes with the terrible illness. She participated in numerous outpatient treatment programs and more than ten inpatient stays. In recent months, she often repeated, “Mom, I would trade addiction for any other illness. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Give me cancer or cerebral palsy or anything else ?! “ She had attempted suicide and had several overdoses. She reported to her dad at his bedside in his last days (with concern that he feared death) that dying is perfectly peaceful and full of light.
Katie and Izzy moved to Shepherdstown in March 2019 to be near family. She began work at the Sweet Shoppe in July 2019 and continued there until mid-October 2021. Katie loved being Izzy’s mom, playing with her and teaching her how to cook, among other things.
Katie was a generous soul. As a 7 year old, she made lunches for homeless people and distributed them at Dupont Circle after our church attendance at the Church of the Savior nearby. And whenever anyone asked – or often when they did not ask – she was eager to give them some help.
Katie was an artist with food, a devoted mom, a generous soul. She will be sorely missed. May she dwell in the Light.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish can contribute to Izzy’s college savings that Katie began, nursery school fall tuition, or other specific needs. Contributions can be made by check payable to Kay Schultz (with Izzy’s name in the memo line) and mailed to 78 Shepherd Village Circle, Shepherdstown, WV 25443.