Kate Marron in her former office in Northwest High School’s athletic department. She is retiring after 30 years of working at the school and plans to "travel and live more" while continuing her battle against cancer.

Retiring after 30 years at Northwest High School, Kate Marron said she would not trade the experience of working with the students, parents and her co-workers for the world.

Marron started at Northwest as a library aide and after five years, she became the athletic director’s secretary and continued doing that until this May. She said Northwest High School was like a home to her.

“With parents, students and co-workers you’ve got some lifetime friendships now and that’s pretty neat.”

Since the return of her cancer in 2016, Marron decided retirement was the best option for her to spend more time with her husband, Dave, her son and daughter-in-law, Josh and Erika Marron, her daughter and son-in-law, Mackenzie and Jeff Eynetich, and four her grandchildren: Mya, Shay, Reid and Korra.

Marron has been spending her new retirement time watching her grandkids and planning family vacations.

Before her time at Northwest High School, Marron lived in Hartington and worked in the advertising department of the Hartington Shopper for 10 years. She was responsible for organizing and setting up the advertisements in the paper before they were taken to print.

Soon after moving to Grand Island, Marron worked for Walnut Middle School for a while and then moved to Northwest after seeing the position of library aide. Marron said the move to Northwest was beneficial because it was closer to her house and it was known as a good high school.

“I knew Northwest was a very good place, so I wanted to get in there,” Marron said.

When Marron was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012, she said her co-workers at Northwest were wonderful and supportive. Then, when the cancer returned in 2016, Marron said she was unable to work full time.

“My co-workers were wonderful with me going part time. They helped so much,” Marron said. “Without them, I don’t think I would have been able to do it.”

Despite her situation, Marron said she did not find it difficult to return to work part time because it motivated her and gave her something to look forward to doing daily. She said working with the students, parents and her co-workers helped take her mind off of the cancer and focus on her job.

Marron said Mike Sorensen, the athletic director at Northwest, was very supportive balancing his work and Marron’s work as she went part time.

“His second year at Northwest was when my cancer returned and so he really had to set in and take over my job as well as his,” Marron said.

Sorensen said his four years working with Marron were great because Marron was very knowledgable about the job tasks, very professional and very personal. Sorensen said Marron taught him how to run the athletic department because she had worked with previous athletic directors.

“She had this job down to a science,” Sorensen said. “Even her five hours a day were a huge benefit to me.”

Despite her battle with cancer, Sorensen said Marron was a trooper with handling her job and chemotherapy and still maintaining her dedication to the school. He said Marron was really dedicated to the school, the district and the kids.

Ann Beckmann will take over Marron’s position as the athletic director’s secretary. Sorensen said he will miss working with Marron because she has touched many lives in the school district. He said he wishes her the best in her retirement.

“It’s nice when you have a person that you can get comfortable with. It makes work so much easier and better,” Sorensen said. “That’s what she was. She was just that type of person.”

George Mohr, the former library and media specialist at Northwest, also worked with Marron for about 20 years before he retired. Mohr said Marron’s office was next to his office and Marron would regularly help him with the copy machine and the computer.

“She would answer questions about word processing and different documents. She was very helpful to me,” Mohr said.

Mohr said the entire staff at Northwest High School holds a very high regard for Marron because she did many great things for so many people. Even when her health conditions were bad, Mohr said that Marron always maintained a positive and upbeat attitude.

“I am happy to have known her through the years,” Mohr said. “She was always humble and never focused on receiving recognition for her job. She just did her job.”

Marron has participated in the Race for Grace Cancer Foundation with her family for the past seven years and she said the support the foundation and Grand Island community give to cancer patients is amazing. Marron also participates in Relay for Life of Hall County and has walked this event several years as well.

Marron said her family has been extremely supportive with her decision to work part time and then with her recent retirement. As a part of her retirement plans, Marron said she will be spending as much time as possible with her four grandchildren.

“That was a God thing when they came along because they weren’t going to have kids for a while and then they both got married and had kids. It was wonderful,” Marron said. “Those kids came at the right time.”

Despite missing her second home at Northwest, Marron said her retirement focus will be on “fighting the cancer, spend lots of time with the grandkids and hopefully convince my husband we need to travel a little.”

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Natalie Saenz is The Independent's summer intern for 2019. She welcomes news tips and information 24/7!

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