Posted by: suekenney | March 14, 2012

In Remembrance of Kitty

 My mom’s second sister just died.  My mom had just the two sisters, twins, about nine and a half years younger than she.  Diana and Muriel – or as we called them, Dee and Kitty.  Dee died last spring.  Kitty died four days ago, at age 76.  

My great-grandmother, Mary Tyson, with her Lambert grandchildren: Muriel (Kitty), Diana (Dee), and Judith (my mom, the oldest child), in May 1938



Kitty and Dee were born in January 1936 in Worcester, MA.  At the time, her parents and older sister (my mom) lived on Balder Road, a street that climbed a steep hill.  My mother has told me that her twin sisters were very active children, and not averse to running in opposite directions, so that my grandmother would be chasing one up the street, while my mom would be chasing the other one down the street.

Muriel and Diana (Kitty and Dee) in the front, with a couple of the neighbors in August 1940



My grandmother, Corinne Lambert, with her twins Diana and Muriel in the early 1940s

 Later on, when the twins were in school, so the story goes, they would switch classes, with no one the wiser (usually) since they were identical twins.  One would be good in English, and the other not so much, while the first one struggled in math and the other excelled – so they would pretend to be each other.  They even extended this on occasion to dates and boyfriends.

Kitty Lambert as a Girl Scout, from an old newspaper clipping


  I think “little hellions” would probably be an apt description of them.  They were in their early to mid-teens when my mom began dating the man who became her husband and my father, and they delighted in teasing the poor man.  Of course, he wasn’t above teasing them back – when he was at their house for dinner, he would do something to make the twins break out into the giggles, without their parents seeing what he was doing, and the girls would get into trouble for acting up at the table.  Probably served them right.


Kitty Lambert as a young woman, before her marriage



The wedding of Kitty Lambert and John Niles, August 23, 1958


     Kitty married John Niles in 1958, when she was 22 years old.  It was not the happiest of marriages and eventually ended in divorce, but not before John and Kitty had three children:  Jonathan, Susan, and Peter.  Kitty set out to make a life for herself.  I’m not sure what jobs she ended up with over the years, but at least toward the end of her working career, I know they had something to do with computers and much higher math that I can handle.  Eventually she helped write (with Marcus Goncalves) a book for the McGraw-Hill series on computer communications, called IVp6 Networks.

Kitty sitting outside her parents' house "Pooh Corner" on Cape Cod, probably in the 1960s or 1970s

For most of these years, if not all, she was living in Massachusetts, where she had been born and raised.  Her parents were also still in Massachusetts, on Cape Cod.  In 1974 we all met on the Cape to celebrate my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary.

That's Kitty in the middle, talking with Violet Tyson, wife of a cousin of her mother's, and another attendee of the celebration.

Sometime around the turn of the 21st century, Kitty moved out west, to Washington state, to be nearer her children.  She settled in Sequim, and her son Peter, an architect, designed her house for her.  It was at this time that I began to hear of her expertise in quilting, as she entered a number of quilting shows, and posted a few pictures on Facebook.   Both she and her sister Dee were impressive crafters and artists, in various media.  Kitty’s quilts are a real feast for the eyes, and I finish this remembrance/tribute with a very small selection of her artistry.  I will miss you, Aunt Kitty, and am so glad for the memories I have of you.

One of Kitty's quilts - I believe these are supposed to be bonsai trees. Someone else did the quilting on it.

Kitty called this quilt "In the Shadow of the Canyon." Note the animals running around the border. Each one is different.


  1. What a beautiful, affectionate tribute – I’m so sorry to hear of your loss, but wish you comfort in your memories.

    • Thanks. Someone told me once that I should try to keep my blogs 500 words or under – but that doesn’t begin to do justice to a person’s life, especially one as long as my Aunt Kitty’s. There was so much more to tell. She was a sweet, witty, charming woman, with a lot of pain in her life but she hadn’t let it spoil her positive outlook.

  2. Thank you Sue. THis looks like a wonderful way to share her passing with Mom. She has not yet been at a “place” where it felt timely to tell her, and this provides a way to bring back memories in a good way.

  3. Thank you for posting this beautiful tribute to our friend Kitty. She is leaving such a big kink in our heart with her departure to me as advocate and to all the personnel who care for her, a wonderful person. Rest in Peace Kitty

    • You’re welcome. And thank YOU for taking care of her so capably. I’m so glad you got the opportunity to know her.

  4. Kitty was also co-author of
    Secure XML: The New Syntax for Signatures and Encryption [Paperback]
    Kitty Niles (Author)
    which I have a signed copy of. It was used in my work.

    The girl in the quilt is her grand-daughter from a photograph.

    • Thanks for the added info, Keith. I was relying on for book titles, which apparently doesn’t carry that one you mentioned. Her computer expertise, like yours, is WAY over my head – I can barely understand the titles. So glad I was able to connect with her in more mundane things, like quilts and grandkids.

  5. Beautiful stuff. Thankyou so much for putting that together for us Sue. Thhe quilts are so like her, and like Dee for that matter. There are old motifs done with an up-to-date sensibility or style, very pleasing. And expertly done too. I’m remembering a wooden chest/bench she painted and decorated with animals and vines at the house in Princeton, Mass where she lived for so long before coming to Sequim. Again, thanks for the retrospective Sue.

    • You’re welcome. I’m sorry I never got the opportunity to visit her at Princeton. I think I vaguely remember seeing the house at Princeton when I was a kid, but that was long before Kitty bought it. Yes, she and Dee both were awesomely talented artisans in so many media.

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