Kathleen Ann (Cole) Lieb, 49, died Wednesday, April 10 in Los Banos surrounded by family and many close, dedicated friends who took care of her every need during her three-and-a-half year battle with pancreatic cancer.
She was born in Oakland to J.C. and Dolores Cole. She graduated from San Leandro High School in 1981, and then attended Chabot Junior College and San Jose State University. It was at San Jose State in 1986 that she met her husband Gene Lieb, who was a graduate of Oakdale High School and had worked for The Oakdale Leader as a photographer and in the mailroom after school.
They both lived in Allen Hall and the dorm’s laundry room was across the hall from her room. One day when Gene was doing his laundry he noticed an open door, and through it, saw her sitting on her bed watching a soap opera on television. He stopped to say hi and the next thing he knew they were enjoying lunch at the school’s cafeteria. A little more than a year later on June 20, 1987 they were married at the All Saints Episcopal Church in San Leandro.
She and her husband both shared a love of Disneyland and decided that’s where they wanted to honeymoon. They stayed in the honeymoon suite of the original Disneyland Hotel. Annual family vacations were spent at the park throughout their 25-year marriage.
Mrs. Lieb’s love was definitely family and she really wanted to be a mother. On July 26, 1989 Jennifer came into the world followed by Gene Jr. on Sept. 11, 1990. She dedicated her life to the needs of her family but particularly to her children. She always put her children’s and husband’s needs before her own in all aspects of their lives.
Even while she was taking care of the children she worked various jobs. She loved numbers and was a bookkeeper at many businesses, including McMahan’s Furniture Store in Turlock and at the Turlock Journal newspaper where she was the business manager while her husband worked there as the chief photographer, production manager and managing editor. She and her husband had also lived in Oakdale.
When her husband was promoted to publisher of the Los Banos Enterprise in 2001, the newspaper company’s owners asked her to be the business manager at the Enterprise. She held that position until January of 2004, at which time Tom Kaljian of Los Banos, owner of T. Kaljian Real Estate and Coldwell Banker Kaljian and Associates, hired her as his bookkeeper.
Her first love was for her children and her husband. Her second love was working for Tom Kaljian. She didn’t have any hobbies. She said she didn’t need them. She was driven by providing for her family and her work. Those were her greatest accomplishments in life. She had the incredible ability to brighten every room she entered with her smile and continuous positive attitude, even when she wasn’t feeling well.
She is survived by her husband of 25 years, Gene Lieb of Los Banos; daughter, Jennifer (Andrew Eghbalpour) Lieb of Sherman Oaks; son, Gene Lieb Jr. of Los Banos; mother, Dolores (Jim) Tuft of Pittsburg; sister, Karen (Pete) Vislocky of Stockton; numerous nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles.
She was preceded in death by her father, J.C. Cole of Hayward.
A celebration of life followed by a catered reception will begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 20 at the Fierro Family Funeral Home, 1702 Golden Gate Ave., Dos Palos.
During her illness, she realized that Los Banos needs a larger hospital and a cancer center for those living on the west side of Merced County who have difficulty traveling to Merced or Turlock. She had to travel to both of those cities during her years of cancer treatments. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made in her name to a building fund for a new, larger Memorial Hospital and Cancer Center to Memorial Hospital Los Banos, 520 I St., Los Banos, CA 93635.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
April 17, 2013