Katherine Sue (Sanders) Ariola, 81, of Clarendon, Tx passed away on August 6, 2022.
Services will be at 10:00 A.M., Friday, August 12, 2022, at Clarendon Church of the Nazarene in Clarendon, Tx with Allen Posey officiating. Burial will be at Citizens Cemetery in Clarendon, Tx. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, Amarillo, Tx.
Katherine Sue (Sanders) Ariola was a wonderful woman that was loved, is missed, and will always be cherished. Our “MawMaw” as she liked to be called by her grand BOYS, was also an amazing wife, mom, grandmom, great-grandmom, sister and certainly a friend to all she met.
Katherine’s story starts on February 5, 1941. She was born to Hugh and Oneta Sanders. Katherine started her life as the headstrong and independent woman everyone knew her to be, entering this world before the physician arrived in Antelope Flat, Tx, and unbeknownst to all, she was not the only one born that day. She was a twin.
She spent her childhood on the farm, learning hard work, honesty, and integrity that farm life so freely teaches. Her school years were in Lakeview, Tx, a heritage that she was proud of. She graduated from Lakeview High School as valedictorian of her class. It is there that she met the love of her life, James Bruce Ariola. Bruce’s sister Elly Mae, and Katherine were childhood BFFs. Elly wanted nothing more than to make Katherine “family,” so as to continue the lifelong friendship. And that she did. With her best matchmaking skills, she introduced Katherine to Bruce, and the rest is history. Katherine and Bruce were married in Memphis, Tx at the home of Glen and Shirlene Sanders on December 20, 1958. They started their lives out in Lakeview, as owners and operators of a laundromat and a blacksmith shop.
In 1959, Katherine and Bruce started their family with their firstborn, Kathy Lenae, followed by Janice Renee in 1960, Jaci Sulynn in 1963, and James “BO” Allen in 1969.
Katherine and Bruce fulfilled their lifelong dream of buying a farm in Brice, Tx. Together they spent many hardworking years on the family cotton, turned fish farm. Katherine and Bruce faced some gut-wrenching financial/legal struggles on the farm. Her valedictorian skills came in handy in those struggles. In a legal battle to save the farm, and without funds for an attorney, she bought a used set of law books at a garage sale, studied them intensely, and prepared and defended their case before a judge. They walked out of that courtroom victorious—case dismissed!!! Even through all her struggles and heartaches, never once did she give up hope, or become bitter.
Katherine could dress up to look like a beauty queen, or she could put on work clothes (with Mary Kay makeup, of course) and work the fields and fishponds with the best of them. She could attend Mary Kay ballroom parties or be in cut-off shorts and flip-flops catching rattlesnakes. She was a parts runner, a cotton trailer puller, an irrigation pipe mover, a gardener, a bookkeeper, and everything else farm life demanded. She worked that farm very hard alongside Bruce; however, her “selling ice to an Eskimo” skill was also used productively to help support the farm. Sales in luggage, glassware, jewelry, healthcare products, and finally Mary Kay helped tremendously in farm finances. She was so very proud of her two Mary Kay cars!!!
She was an amazing cook, and everyone knew and looked forward to delicious homemade meals served at her table. She could even make a fried bologna sandwich taste like the best thing you ever put in your mouth. She could catch, clean, fillet and cook catfish in her sleep and WOW—it was incredible!! So much so that the family finds it hard to even enjoy catfish elsewhere.
Katherine was no stranger to hardships, pain, and struggles. She buried not one, but two children, Kathy at the young age of 6 years old, and Bo at age 20, in a horrific tragedy, and then finally, her husband Bruce in 2012.
While she was staunch and fierce in her pursuit of what is right and good, she was a loving, kind, gentle soul, that even in her deepest grief, always thought of others first. There were a FEW times in her life, that she did not have an authentic and beautiful smile on her face— and that smile could and would light up the room. She made every person in her presence feel important and, most of all, LOVED.
Katherine dreamed of travel and that dream became reality in her and Bruce’s retirement years. A strange twist of fate through a hunting lease turned reverse mortgage type situation afforded Katherine and Bruce the financial freedom to travel, but more importantly, birthed an extraordinary and deep friendship. Katherine so often spoke fondly of the memories of their travels, but even more fondly of their special friend, Bart (whom she thought of and loved like a son). She always believed that was a Devine appointment and intervention ordained directly by God.
Katherine’s BOYS were her heart, her pride and joy—-Three grand BOYS, followed by five great-grand BOYS. There’s no denying that her BOYS, as she called them, were the people that she loved the most. Time spent at MawMaw’s house was very special for her BOYS, with so many precious lifelong memories made. Her nieces and nephews were just one step behind the “BOYS”—she loved them all dearly and always welcomed them as her own.
Loved ones that cleared the path for Katherine, are her parents, Hugh and Oneta, her two children, Kathy and Bo, and the love and light of her life, her husband, Bruce. Other loved ones that preceded her in death were her sisters-in-law, Judy Sanders, Shirley Hodges and Elly Gillespie.
Loved ones that will miss Katherine until they meet again are her two daughters, Janice Harvey, and SuLynn Mester and husband Randy; her grand BOYS, Matthew Brandes and son Ky, Joshua Brandes and wife Laura and sons, Zach, Hannon and Sloan, Kris Ariola and wife Taylor and son Tanner; her siblings, Leonard Sanders and wife Edna, Kenneth Sanders and wife Lois, and Larry Sanders; bonus “brothers” Robert Sanders and wife Linda, and Carl Sanders; sister-in-law, Lajuana Tucker, along with many nieces, nephews, other extended family and friends.