Kitty Champlin was the most special of flowers in the garden of life. She shined bright and beautiful like the blooms that she nurtured and grew in her gorgeous garden.
If you met Kitty, you remembered her. She was well known for her unfiltered commentary, intellect, and wit. She cultivated new friends wherever she went. The Kitty fan club was widespread, multigenerational and diverse.
Her biggest fan was her husband Richard H. Champlin. Kitty and Dick were married for 62 years. Together they raised two daughters and a son, Kim, Margaret and Chris.
Kitty passed unexpectedly Tuesday, May 9th, 2023, at her home in Oklahoma City while peacefully napping during one of her usual action-packed days. Born on March 7th, 1939, in St. Joseph, Missouri, she was the daughter of Clark and Arletha “Babe” Donaldson, stepdaughter to Larry Donaldson. She was a proud member of the Osage Nation.
She attended Southwest High School in Kansas City, MO followed by the University of Oklahoma, receiving a bachelor’s degree in education. She was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, forging lifelong friendships and a shared sisterhood. Kitty went on to earn a Master’s in Criminal Justice from Oklahoma City University.
During her time at the OU, Kitty crossed paths with Dick, who had returned to attend law school after his service in the US Army Signal Corps. Their encounter, at The Mont, would prove to be a fortuitous meeting, leading to a beautiful union. On April 4th, 1961, at All Souls Church in Kansas City, just across from Kitty’s childhood home, they exchanged vows and embarked on a journey of love and companionship that spanned over six decades.
Kitty’s journey through life was marked by notable achievements and a commitment to making a difference in the lives of others. Working for the District Attorney’s office, Kitty established the Oklahoma County Victims and Witness Assistance Center, an organization that continues to provide crucial support to this day. She then became a prolific realtor with Metro Mark Realty, where she worked for over 10 years. Later, Kitty followed her lifelong love of reading, working many hours at Full Circle Book Store.
Kitty’s true passions were Westminster Church, gardening, travel and cooking.
She was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church for over 30 years, where she faithfully served as a Deacon and Elder.
She became a Certified Master Gardener. She was famous for her beautiful garden, hosting a plethora of visitors and being featured on OETA’s Oklahoma Gardening.
Kitty’s spirit of adventure led her to explore the world, taking her to destinations including China, Russia, Europe and the Mediterranean. A favorite spot was Jenny Lake Lodge, nestled at the base of the Grand Tetons. Their annual pilgrimage to the Tetons became a cherished family tradition, spanning 34 years.
She was an amazing and gifted chef. Her most memorable culinary creation was her chocolate pecan toffee, which hundreds of friends looked forward to each Christmas.
Kitty is survived by her loving husband, Richard H. Champlin; her children Kim Champlin Searls and husband Thomas, Margaret Ann Champlin, and Christian Paul Champlin and wife Jill. Grandchildren: Cameron Searls, Maxwell Champlin and Kendall Champlin, her sister, Candy Behl and preceded in death by brother Ronnie Gore.
Services were held May 16 at Westminster Presbyterian Church 4400 N Shartel, Oklahoma City, OK. Memorial contributions may be made in Kitty’s name to Westminster Presbyterian Church or the Myriad Botanical Gardens Foundation.