Kathleen Harty Story

Fitchburg and The Fitchburg Historical Society Will Miss a Dear Friend

Kathleen “Kay” (Fahey) Harty was a wonderful Irish Lane neighbor and friend. Kay was raised on a small farm in Fitchburg with her two sisters, Elizabeth and Ellen.   She loved her sheep, horses and dogs when she was growing up (and her dogs as an adult!) and spoke often of them and the joy they gave her.  Kathleen was born to Thomas and Katherine (Keeley) Fahey April 5, 1932.  Her grandparents were John and Julia Monks Fahey, and her great grandparents were James and Bridget White Monks who came from Ireland and settled on Irish Lane in 1855.   Kathleen was married to Charles Harty in 1959 and has a son, Robert (Mona) Harty, and two granddaughters, Kamryn and Carolyn, who were very dear to her.

Kay received her start in education in Fitchburg Center School, one of Fitchburg’s one-room schools before the consolidation of rural schools. The school was located on the corner of Fish Hatchery and Whalen Roads with grades one through eight, and is now a home.  It is there that she attended grades one through six, and then transferred to Edgewood Campus School in Madison and was placed in eighth grade.  A story she often told about her Fitchburg school days, was when she came to school riding in her pony cart one day and one of the boys untied the pony from the fencepost when no one was around, and the pony and the cart went home, much to the “chagrin” of her mother when she saw it coming!  Her mother did not have a car at that time, and the school did not have a phone.  One can only imagine her concern…………..

Kathleen loved the rural setting of her home, and would frequently ask a nearby neighbor, Bill Kinney, to please keep the rather large honeysuckle bush that grew along the line fence cut down, as it was blocking her “east view” of the countryside!

As an educator, Kay excelled in the field of education as an elementary school teacher, a specialist in reading and early childhood education, a principal of Midvale Elementary and Gompers Elementary Schools in Madison, to name a few of her achievements.  She obtained her undergraduate and graduate degrees from UW-Whitewater, and a Ph.D. from UW-Madison.  Arthritis eventually caused her great discomfort and she retired early.  She continued to remain active in various organizations.

The Fitchburg Historical Society appreciated Kathleen’s presence on their Board with her suggestions for programs for the annual membership and other meetings, and her sharing of her historical knowledge of the Fitchburg community.  Kay was always open to new things, and willing to do her part in contributing to the successful growth of the Fitchburg Historical Society.  Her name will be added to the plaque of former Board members that is hanging in the Fitchburg Room on the second floor of the Fitchburg Public Library.

Carole S. Kinney
Archivist of F.H.S.
January, 2019

Click to view Kay Harty’s obituary