Cover photo for Katherine Twarog's Obituary
Katherine Twarog Profile Photo
1933 Katherine 2020

Katherine Twarog

April 4, 1933 — June 22, 2020

A Tribute to Dr. Katherine Twarog (1933 – 2020)


Dr. Katherine (Kitty) Lee Foster Jorgensen Twarog, 87, died peacefully at home 6/22/20, surrounded by family.  She is survived by 6 children, 10 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren.  Born in Lodi WI to Dr. Harold and Ethel Foster, she grew up in Moweaqua, IL till she started college at 17, then married.  A brave single mother with 4 children, she returned to college in her early twenties at Ohio State University (OSU), to win her BA, MA and Ph.D., and many honors, including Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude.  She also won the hearts of her beloved husband, Dr. Leon Twarog, founder and long-time chairman of the OSU Slavic Department, and his son.  Together they created a beautiful home, and loving family life, and a constellation of stellar friends over the years.  Katherine (Kitty) was known above all for her great heart, beauty, humor, loyalty and devotion.  It is a devastating loss for many, but we were lucky to have her for so long.  For full obituary please see


When Katherine was delivered by her own father’s hands, Dr. Harold Foster said to his wife Ethel Foster and the baby “why you are too little to be Katherine, we will call you Kitty. She grew up in Moweaqua Illinois. She was beautiful and bright and loved to sing. She was a semi professional singer and a beauty queen.

She went on to become the mother of 6 children the matriarch to a family of 22 descendants including 6 children, 9 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.  She is the mother of Rebekah, Jill, Wendy and William (Bill) Jorgensen and Sophia and Stanley (Stas) Twarog.

She joins now her beloved husband Dr. Leon Twarog who founded and ran the Slavic Department at Ohio State University. He had a Ph.D in Slavic languages and literature from Harvard University. They hosted well-loved faculty dinners at their home in Clintonville Ohio and were devoted parents to their six children. Leon & Kitty first met on Valentine’s Day 1962. Their first date was to see the play, Pygmilion, Leon was 14 year older than Katherine. Their romance and marriage were uniquely cross cultural, cross generational, and vibrantly creative.

Katherine was a pioneer and natural scholar. She could speed read as a young child, and earned a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and PhD in Cultural Anthropology. This was at a time when few women with children were earning Ph.D.s.  She defended her Ph.D. during the Kent University incident.  Katherine was a professor at Ohio State University, Ohio State Pontifical College Josephenum, and Ohio Wesleyan.

She loved to travel and was courageous. She took her children to Europe on her own for two months camping around Europe before Leon arrived from the USA and they set up home for a year in Munich Germany. She was a warrior and took action. Katherine was fiercely protective of her family, especially of her best friend Bill. She was also a cozy Kitty who liked to curl up with a good book and a cup or three of coffee.  She had a great sense of humor and positive outlook on life until the end. She could laugh and laugh until all the room laughed with her. She maintained an attitude of gratitude. She and her family all deeply appreciated the care her son Bill took of her at home.

She left us 15 minutes after a window was opened and birds singing and her soul flew free like a butterfly.

Please share your memories of Kitty on the Tribute Wall at

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