Kathleen Amelia Pinson, the daughter of Frederick William Evans and Mary Amelia Horrigan, was born on October 1, 1919 at Little Grove Mews, Marlybone, London, England. She was the youngest of eleven children in a working class London family of Welsh and Irish roots.
The family budget left little funding for treats for small girls. So, she and sister “Girlie” would haul items to the “rag and bone man” (recycler) to get a bit of change to buy “penny gobstoppers” (large gum balls). Everyone worked to support the family during the depression and as a teenager, Kathleen spent much time assisting her mother and older working sister-in-laws.
Before the depression had ended, World War II commenced in Europe, and Londoners were assaulted by Germany’s bombing raids known as the Blitz. Many nights were spent huddled with over 100,000 other Londoners in the underground railway, which was used as an air raid shelter. One of Kathleen’s best friends was killed in an air raid. Because Kathleen was the youngest child she had nieces and nephews her age. So, she had nephews as well as brothers serving in the war, and one such nephew was killed in the British landings in Normandy.
During the war, Kathleen met her future husband, MSGT Raymond Pinson, who was assigned, in London, to SHAEF, allied forces headquarters in Europe. After the Normandy invasions, Raymond accompanied the SHAEF command to Paris and then Berlin, where he remained after the war in Europe officially ended on September 2, 1945.
Three days after the European war’s end, Kathleen and Raymond were married at Town Hall, Borough of St. Marleybone, London, England. After serving more time in Berlin, Raymond was shipped home and relocated from his home state of Oklahoma to Southern California, where several older brothers had moved. GI’s were shipped home alone and their brides were left in England to follow, when bureaucratic requirements allowed.
On 21 March 1946, at the age of 26, Kathleen Pinson and hundreds of other war brides, boarded the “John Ericsson”, a refitted troop ship, and sailed from Southampton harbor in southern England. This was nothing like the cruise vacations she would later take with her husband in her senior years. The accommodations were spartan and the food unappealing. After passing the Statue of Liberty and debarking in New York City, Kathleen then had a long train trip across the United States to rejoin her husband.
Once in America, Kathleen was dubbed Kay and used that nickname throughout her life. While dabbling in hobbies like arts and crafts, Kay’s main activity was as a housewife and mother. She kept an immaculate home and was a determined gardener.
Kay raised two sons, Gary and Ronald, the latter predeceasing her in June 2018. At Christmas, her sons eagerly awaited the plum pudding, containing silver coins, mailed from London by their English aunts. Kay’s mother and sister-in-laws had worked as domestics and had acquired great baking skills, which were passed on to the youngest female in the family. So, Kay’s family feasted on traditional English treats like sausage rolls, Yorkshire pudding and huge pies with scalloped rim crust an inch thick. While she was not an otherwise enthusiastic cook, she quickly adapted to California cuisine and would wrap tacos in tin foil for trips to the drive-in movies.
The family moved from southern California to San Jose in 1957 and there she continued her duties as wife and mother for another 62 years. Kathleen is survived by a son, Gary, daughters-in-law Cheryl and Marie Pinson, two step-grandchildren, Bryan and Tonya Lopez, and four grandsons: Kevin, Aaron, Jonathan and Matthew Pinson and Matthew’s wife Beth. Kay also is survived by two great-grandsons, Sebastian and Gabriel Pinson.
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