MEDINA — When the “Queen of Medina City Hall” announced her retirement, she made planning a celebration incredibly hard.
“Every time we were trying to work on something for the party, here comes Katie,” Dawn Conwill, administrative manager for the mayor’s office, said of putting together Wednesday’s retirement party for Catherine “Katie” Horn.
Conwill, who was on a six-person planning committee for the party, said it was impossible to keep Horn in the dark. “I told her to make a general announcement that she was coming down the hall,” Conwill said.
Although her official title is clerk of council, Horn, 58, also has been the unofficial historian, teacher and matriarch of the city hall “family” after serving for 32 years.
“It has been my family for years and been very much a part of my life,” Horn said.
She said she moved from Akron to Medina to take the job in 1978. Before that she was a court reporter, and she assumed she would go back to that profession when she was done recovering from a serious injury. However, she ended up staying and has seen five mayors and seven Council presidents come and go.
“I’ve been blessed by my job,” Horn said, adding the people she has worked with over the years have become her “family” and she is friends with Council members from 30 years ago.
She has guided new Council members, putting current issues into historical context or helping them with the technical details of bringing their ideas to fruition.
Horn said she remembers when Ward 3 Councilman Mark Kolesar came before Council as a young man for the first time.
“He’s my sweetie,” Horn said of Kolesar. “He was a senior in high school, and we were cutting down trees to put the last piece of Reagan Parkway through. He was asking us not to cut them down or to cut down as few as possible.
“I’ve watched him grow up like with most of my members of Council. … I feel like I’ve raised these children,” she said.
Horn also has been active with local volunteer organizations during her career. She was the first female chair of fundraising and the first female president of United Way of Medina County, as well as one of the founding members of the Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund.
Because she has been so active for so long, Horn said she likely will work for the city in a part-time capacity, such as writing legislation.
But with Friday being her last day on the job, Horn already has plans for a three-week vacation to Egypt and Jordan, a part of the world she hasn’t visited.
“I’m blessed,” she said of her time in the city, the people she has worked with and her travel plans.
Contact Kaitlin Bushinski at (330) 721-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.