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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, March 22, 2023


A memorial service was held at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 11, at St. Thomas Reformed Church for Katharine Harms Streibich, age 45, who died of cancer Feb. 28 at her home in Estate Harmony, St. Thomas.
Mrs. Streibich is survived by her loving husband, Bruce W. Streibich, and her devoted children, Elizabeth and John. Other survivors include her mother Margaret Harms of Quechee, Vt.; her brother James, also of Quechee; her sister Margaret Hartoog of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and her brother Richard Harms of Eugene, Ore.
Katharine Streibich was born Sept. 18, 1953, in Plainfield, N.J. Her father, the late James Harms, was an executive with Standard Oil Co. of California. Because of his work, Kathy spent much of her youth in Brazil, a place she loved for the beauty of the people as well as the natural beauty.
She attended the Escola Americana in Rio de Janeiro until her junior year of high school. At that time, her family was transferred back to the United States, and she completed high school studies at Westfield High School in New Jersey.
Katharine Streibich earned her bachelor of arts degree from Mount Holyoke College in 1975, majoring in English literature.
Mrs. Streibich came to St. Thomas in the fall of 1975 to begin her career as an educator at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral School, where she taught from 1975 to 1978. It was there that she met her husband Bruce. The couple married in January 1978, and returned to the states the following fall, Bruce to earn his degree from Boston College School of Law and Kathy to earn her master of arts at Boston University.
They moved briefly to Ohio, where Kathy completed course work for a doctorate in English literature at Ohio State University and where their daughter Elizabeth was born in 1982. In 1983 the family returned to St. Thomas, to make their home in this community. Their son John was born in 1985.
Mrs. Streibich taught one more year at Sts. Peter and Paul and then joined the English faculty of Antilles School in 1985. Katharine Streibich was named head of the English department at Antilles in 1989, a post she served with distinction until the time of her death.
Kathy Streibich's career was marked by her love for her students and a spark for learning and teaching. In addition to teaching with passion and dedication, Mrs. Streibich was instrumental in developing a program of theater workshops which brought stateside drama educators and students and professional actors to St. Thomas. She made the workshops open to all students in the community, so that all high school students could be exposed to professional presentation of the works of Shakespeare, Shaw, Athol Fugard, and other playwrights.
Mrs. Streibich also mustered a small group of her colleagues to form a faculty Quiz Bowl team, to compete against the school's student team each lunch hour. In addition, she at various times moderated the National Honor Society, Moot Court team and yearbook staff at Antilles School.
In 1997, the Student Council of Antilles School instituted an "Inspirational Teacher of the Year Award." Katharine Streibich was the first to receive this honor from the student body.
Mrs. Streibich was also active at the administrative level. Under her leadership, Antilles School adopted a new, comprehensive curriculum for English literature, grammar and vocabulary development in the Middle and Upper School. She was elected Dean of Faculty by her colleagues in 1995; she chaired the Faculty Council; and she ably represented her colleagues to the school's Board of Trustees.
Kathy Streibich's dedication to young people extended to community activities. She was one of the original coordinators of the Teen Board of the Daily News when it was formed over five years ago. She also was active with the St. Thomas Pony Club, serving as the district commissioner during the rebuilding phase following Hurricane Marilyn.
Kathy was stricken by cancer in November of 1997. Over the ensuing 15 months she nderwent extensive chemotherapy treatment and two major surgeries at the University of Texas's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. She fought hard to be able to return to her family, community and teaching position. When further medical treatment was no longer viable, Kathy Streibich returned to St. Thomas to spend her final weeks at home.
Kathy was deeply moved by the presence of so many children with cancer at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. In lieu of flowers, her family asks that friends make contributions to the Pediatric Cancer Research Fund. Checks for this purpose should be sent, in her memory, payable to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 297153, Houston, Texas 77297.

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