Obituary for Kathy Rucker

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Kathy Rucker

April 19, 1945 - December 17, 2021

On December 17th, 2021 Kathy Arlene Rucker passed away at Community Heart and Vascular Hospital, after a valiant 15-year battle with metastatic breast cancer. Born in Salt Lake City, Utah on April 19, 1945, Kathy is survived by her husband Danny, and sons, Roger Watkins (Indianapolis) and Michael (MaryBeth) Watkins (Naples, Florida) Also surviving are stepchildren, Anita Roos, Cheryl Voltz and Angie Rucker. She was preceded in death by her parents Roger and Mary Etta O’Brien and her brother, Kerry O’Brien and stepson, Jeff Rucker. Kathy also leaves behind her beloved grandchildren Bryce (Lydia) and Tara Watkins. She is also forever remembered and missed by the Circle City Cloggers, the Still Kickin’ Cloggers, the Fun Bunch Line Dancers and the Heritage Place Ladies of Dance. As a child, Kathy traveled all over the world with her father, a Navy submarine officer. She attended Butler University and was a gifted ceramist and artist, as well as an astute business woman. Along with her partner, Teena Soto, she owned and operated Dokins Bookkeeping Service until clogging captured her heart – as well as her feet. She was a dancer, teacher, artist, music -lover: daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, animal lover and business owner. She donned many hats before stepping into her beloved white clogging shoes at the age of 40. Beginning in her garage with just a few students, her classes grew steadily as she embodied the fun and incredible energy of clogging to an eager fanbase. Also, in 1995 she was contracted by The Indiana State Fair to coordinate the logistics and bookings of the Dance Stage. Kathy leant her incredible spirit and boundless energy to all she endeavored and was instrumental in bringing diverse and eclectic dance troupes to the dance stage every summer until her death. At one point she was teaching 21 classes a week. Blessed with the support of her equally energetic dance partner, Elaine Paugh, the Circle City Cloggers traveled and performed throughout the U.S. and Europe and enjoyed Clog and Cruise adventures. CCC performed in the National Independence Day Parade in Washington D.C., The Aloha Festival parade in Hawaii and several Indy 500 Festival Parades. Kathy and Elaine were much sought-after clogging instructors at workshops throughout the country. In 2018 Kathy was presented by Traditional Arts Indiana and the Indiana State Fair with the Indiana State Fair Master Award, recognizing her mastery of clogging and dance and dedication to sharing that knowledge at the State Fair year after year. This award, presented by the Director of Traditional Arts Indiana, Jon Kay along with Cynthia C. Hoye, Executive Director of the State Fair Commission, was in recognition of her years of service and instructing, as well as her commitment to passing her skill on to others.
Kathy is mourned by friends all over the world who admired her strength in adversity, her unfailing good humor, her attention to detail and her loyalty. She loved computer word games and puzzles and could always be tempted with a margarita. Music of all genres was a great love and knowing all the words to those songs was another of her many gifts. On behalf of her family and friends, we want to thank Dr. Radhika Walling and Dr. Nate Thepjutri and the incredible staff at Community North Cancer Center for their consistent efforts over the last 15 years to keep her going. We are most grateful. A dessert Memorial Celebration of Kathy’s incredible life will take place at the Acton United Methodist Church, 5650 Senour Rd. Indianapolis, 46239 on Saturday, January 22, 2022 from 2 to 4 pm.
Memorial Donations may be made in Kathy’s name to the American Cancer Society or The Indianapolis Humane Society. The Cremation Society of Indianapolis has been entrusted with the arrangements.

Gary Rosenberg posted on January 29, 2022

Kathy had a passion--dancing--and lucky for me, she loved to share it with others. Mary Etta told us that as a young girl, Kathy loved to put on records in the basement and choreograph her own dances around poles. Kathy was a master choreographer and no one--no body-- could choreograph as well as she. Moreover, she was a master teacher of older adults, and never patronized us, always holding us to our highest potential. Never did she treat us as less than competent, aging has-beens. Consequently, her classes attracted accomplished people with different life histories who were just plain fun to be with and who added many dimensions to my staid academic life. Many of these people became friends I never would have met in the academic world. I learned from being in Kathy's clogging class that back in the academic world we are all pretty much alike with a 2-dimensional perspective on existence. Kathy rewarded our learning with performances at or for church fairs, service organizations such as the Lions Club, the Indiana State Fair, as entertainment for the Indy Marathon runners, even twice in Europe in Frankfurt, at a Warner Brothers Theme Park near Hamburg, a shopping center in Denmark, at a weekend resort in Germany. The music she choreographed was country western and contemporary, anti gravity music and a departure from the pomp and circumstance of the academic world. "You do WHAT?" was everyone's response when I told them I was an Appalachian clogger. "You're going WHERE for Thanksgiving?" when I told my family I would be going to workshops at Opreyland in Nashville instead of family gatherings. Yes, it was all HOAKY, but an antidote to pretensions and the confinement of expectations. Our shared meals after our performances strengthened our bonds. It was a blessing to be in Kathy's world and I shall never forget Kathy and what she did for me.

Beverly Shelly posted on January 18, 2022

I only got to know Kathy for a few years, but she had a very big effect on my life. I always loved dancing, but the line dancing was so much fun under her instruction. Kathy was always helping someone in some way. I will definitely think of her every time I dance or even hear the music of one of our dances. She is definitely missed.

Paulette Wiley posted on January 17, 2022

In memory of , Paulette Wiley lit a candle

Paulette Wiley posted on January 17, 2022

I have never met a stronger woman. She gave me the opportunity to keep dancing for the rest of my life after having danced at a studio for 50 years. This is such a great loss for the dancing community.

Marie Lawlor posted on January 15, 2022

I don't know anyone who has had more of a positive impact on so many people than Kathy. She was also THE most inspirational person I ever knew. She made all of our lives better and we will NEVER forget her.

MaryJane Frank posted on January 15, 2022

When Kathy suggested that I take up clogging, I was very surprised. (I was over 55) She saw ability in me that I did not even know existed. I truly love clogging and all the people involved it that. I feel so blessed to have been a part of her love for, and life in, the dance areas.

Constance I Palmer, Ladies of the Dance, Heritage Place posted on January 15, 2022

We thank God for placing Kathy Rucker in our lives at this point in time. She was a marvelous instructor and a beautiful friend who taught us the value of dance as we became older. She taught dance classes at Heritage Place of Indianapolis for over 26 years. Kathy truly encouraged and inspired all of us with her unceasing determination to continue this life's journey. She will be remembered.

Diana Schober posted on January 14, 2022

Kathy is going to be missed so much. Every time I dance I will feel Kathy with us encouraging us on. She gave so much of herself and gave a love of dancing that I will always be thankful for. When we dance, we will be dancing for her! She was an amazing person and such an inspiration. Kathy, I miss you!

Jane Bischof posted on January 14, 2022

Kathy's love of dancing was contagious. She was an inspiration to all of us as she continued to dance her way through life even during her illness. There are no words to express how much all of her dancers will miss her. ❤

Char Ferguson posted on January 14, 2022

I agree, every day I think of Kathy and that it’s not possible that I won’t see, talk, dance with her again. She was so amazing, I feel so blessed to know and have her in my life dancing or otherwise. Kathy you are missed, each dance step will keep you in my heart & mind. Thanks for the memories.

Bonnie May posted on January 14, 2022

A beautiful tribute to an incredible Lady. Her love and influence on so many cannot be overstated. She was all about giving, right up to the end. Our memories are full of joy because of her. Thank you, Kathy.

Carolyn McDonald posted on January 14, 2022

It seems so strange to go to line dance class without Kathy. Her talent in choosing music and dances and her personality will long be missed. Can't believe she is gone.


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