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Kathryn "Kat" Fancher

April 24, 1952 January 9, 2019
Kathryn "Kat" Fancher
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Obituary for Kathryn "Kat" Fancher

Kathryn "Kat" Dale Fancher (nee Gay) died on January 9, 2019 at home from complications related to chronic myleomonocytic leukemia; her youngest brother, Scott, was at her side.

Kat was born in Milwaukee, WI on April 24, 1952 to Carol and Thomas Gay. She was preceeded in death by her husband, Don Fancher in 2009 and her parents Thomas Gay in 2003 and Carol (nee Chamberlain) Gay in 1996.

Kat graduated from Greendale High School in 1971 with initial aspirations to be a flight attendant, following in her parents footsteps to work in the airline industry. Kat, instead, made her own way and built a life on a passion for the outdoors – horses, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and, of course, dogs.

After high school, Kat began cocktail waitressing at the Boom Boom Room at the Red Carpet Inn in Milwaukee where she had the good fortune to meet Skip Wagner who performed comedy routines on Saturday nights. Skip would take the show on the road in the summer to Three Lakes, WI. Interested in getting out of town to the north woods in the summer, Kat began working seasonally in Three Lakes in 1971. She moved to Three Lakes permanently after Labor Day weekend in 1978 to work at the Oneida Village. She later cocktailed at many Three Lakes establishments.

Kat and Don met in December 1978 with their first date on a Northern Light snowmobile ride. They were married on May 19, 1979.

Together in 1980 they bought their first German Wirehaired Pointer - Kado (Kat Don). Over time Kat and Don expanded the kennels, bred a successful line of hunting dogs (both German Shorthair and German Wirehaired Pointers) as well as offering obedience and field training.

Over 30 years, Kat and Don built Fancher Kennels on a passion for dogs and hunting. After Don's death in 2009, training was no longer offered, however Kat continued to welcome boarders as "your dog's home away from home". Breeding continued up until 2017 with Fanchers Chump Change Maybe Maybenot having her last litter that May. This breeding line goes back to the early 1980's.

For 31 years, Kat was the friendly face at the front desk of Lakes Dental Services with Dr. Bill Martineau and then later with Pytrokus Family Dentistry from 2012 to early 2018.
On November 5, 1993 Kat bagged a 17-point buck, scoring 179 2/8 on the Pope & Young system (bow & arrow), which was the Wisconsin state record.
Kat spent years taking horse trips out west (many with Donnie Pukall), with a favorite being the cattle round-up outside of Round-up, Montanna. Her last horse trip was at the Rocking Z Ranch in Wolf Creek, Montanna in September 2017 shared with her brother, Scott, his wife Christy and dear friends Darlene Martineau and Julie Jamroz.

Kat is survived by brothers Thomas Gay in El Cajon, CA and Scott (Christy) Gay in Minneapolis, MN along with half siblings Marilyn (John) Breidster in Wauwatosa, WI, Robert Gay in Germantown, WI and Richard (Marcie) Gay in Burlington, WI. She is also survived by nieces and nephews.

Kat lived a full and robust life until a head injury in December 2016 followed by a diagnosis of leukemia with associated heart valve disease. She stayed positive and hopeful through it all. We would like to thank Scott Anderson; Harry and Carrie Strickland; Bill and Darlene Martineau for their enduring friendship and their care for Kat. We could not be more grateful for the health care from Dr. Christopher Koeppl with Ascension Health; Dr. Stuart Bloom with Minnesota Hematology Oncology; Dr. Charles Gornick, Dr. Peter Zimbwa and Dr. Vib Kshettry with the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapols, MN; Ray RN with Ascension Home Health; and Ascension Home Hospice.

Kat was well known in her community. She had a big smile, an even bigger heart and shared what she had. She lead with kindness and was always grateful. And so are we for having been in her life.

In lieu of flowers, dontations in Kat's memory are requested for Angel On My Shoulder ( and the Three Lakes Fish and Wildlife Improvement Association (P.O. Box 659, Three Lakes, WI 54562).

A celebration of life will be planned at a later date.


Event Information

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

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