It is with broken hearts that the family announces the passing of Kathy (Petersen) Spence, with her family by her side, at the West Parry Sound Health Centre, on Thursday, January 12, 2023. Age 65 years.

Beloved wife of Robert Spence. Dear step-mother of Sean Spence (Lori), and Stewart Spence (Missy). Cherished Grandma of Nathan, Kyle, Ethan, Donovan, Collin, Stella, and Scarlett. Loving daughter of Marion Petersen. Dear sister of Audrey (Tony) and David; nephews Ben and Nik. Sister-in-law of Cheryl (Bob), Allan (Anita), Todd (Donna), and John. Forever missed by nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and many friends.

Kathy was born in 1957 in Dalhousie N.B. to Marion (Colwell) Petersen and the late Ken Petersen. Starting in Blacklands, then Dalhousie, N.B., Kathy packed so much activity into her life. High School was full of volleyball, skiing, basketball, figure skating, and life guarding, together with many who became lifelong friends.

Kathy was born to be an educator. Her favourite toy was her chalkboard - teaching her older sister and younger brother their letters and numbers. She continued in Fredericton where she received a Bachelor of Education from Saint Thomas University. She then took summer courses to complete her Master’s in Education from UNB. Her teaching career started in Spanish Harlem, NYC, and then took her to Brampton Ontario, teaching in several Peel Board schools, progressing from teacher to vice principal through to principal. She retired in December 2020 from the Near North District School Board after a 34-year career where she loved her job and mentoring many younger educators looking to move forward in their career paths.

It was in Brampton that she met her soul mate Rob. Together they built a beautiful, busy life, that began with a dream honeymoon in Hawaii. This was followed with 25 years of travelling every chance that came up, boating, fishing, camping, and teaching her nephews how to ski. She made many trips back East to spend time in Dalhousie and to the cottage by the beautiful Bay of Chaleur. Eventually they built a beautiful retirement home, ‘Trail’s End’, in McKellar, Ontario. Retirement did not mean slowing down. She volunteered at the hospital, the Lions Club, participated in a 5K Run for the Cure, and joined a group organizing a 150th birthday party for her new home community.

Interment of ashes will take place this summer in New Mills, NB, by MacMillan Funeral Home.

As expressions of sympathy, donations to Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated.


I’m so sorry to hear of your passing. I enjoyed your leadership and your charisma. You’ll be dearly missed. You were there as an excellent principal for me during the early pandemic days. Love you xoxo Rest in Peace

-Ryan Lapierre

I am so sorry for your loss, Kathy was a kind, caring, and amazing mentor to me as I begun my journey in teaching with the NNDSB. I send my condolences to your entire family.

-Jennifer Thomson

On behalf of the students and staff of MacTier Public School, we send our deepest sympathies to the family. We were all so very fortunate to have gotten to know and learn from Kathy. She will be sadly missed.

-Cheryl Sheffield

I met Kathy at TOPS. She was so friendly and kind.

-Kathy Crossman

I am heartbroken and so sorry to hear of your loss. I taught with Kathy at Glendale P.S. many years ago and reconnected with her years later as my mentor for my journey into administration. She was an outstanding educator who was so committed to her profession and students. She loved her family deeply and looked forward to her new life up north. I feel blessed to have known her.

-Debbie Shamas

To the Petersen and Spence Families:

I think I speak for many of the Class of 1975, Dalhousie Regional High School, in saying that Kathy’s death has come as a shock. Many of us had no idea that Kathy had been diagnosed with cancer. She met the challenge head on, as only Kathy would. This was her dance and she did it her way. That comes as no surprise.

Kathy always had a unique energy for life and her laughter was infectious. She was always fun to be around. So many memories and going back many years.

Sincere sympathies are extended as well as hugs from Calgary.

-Chris Petersen

The world has lost a bright light.
Kathy led a group of determined members aiming for better health. As leader of one of the Parry Sound TOPS chapters her lovely smile, guidance, positivity and support helped many.
I as advocate for the northeastern region chapters of Ontario got to work with her some, and knew from the get go Kathy was a special caring lady.
Rest In Peace special lady. You've touched so many lives.

-Donna Gauthier

I was saddened to read of Kathy’s passing. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Kathy was so caring, warm hearted, attentive, approachable and always tried to come up with a solution in everything she tackled.
I had the opportunity to have her as the principal for a time prior the pandemic where I work.
As for her grandchildren, soulmate love , mother of her (step)children I am so so sorry… she was absolutely a wonderful person and her personality radiated!

-Kim Morgan

I am at a loss of words. Kathy was an amazing principal, a great mentor and a wonderful support throughout my time at her school. She was always keeping children engaged with her beautiful bear stories at her cottage. Thank you for teaching me and guiding me. I will cherish these memories forever. May you rest in peace 💕

-Harvey Sandhu

Kathy will be so missed. She had tremendous impact on my career, and I will always remember having lively chats with her in her office and seeing her smile brighten up the halls. I really admired her directness and assertiveness, as well as her compassion and understanding in my time working with and getting to know her.
The world is better for having had her in it, and the children she’s loved are lucky to know an educator like her.

-Danila (Julia McMahon)

I met Kathy 25 years ago at the gym. She walked up to me in the change room with her beautiful smile and started a conversation that changed to a friendship very quickly.
She was a mentor, advisor and support system during some difficult times in my life.
She always had a way of looking at things that brought difficult situations to a good conclusion.
I learned many things from this amazing woman so much so I asked her to be both my daughter’s godmother. I am so grateful for that she excepted the responsibility.

We all will miss her very much, even if we didn’t see each other often she was always available to chat.

I am deeply saddened to not be able to chat with her anymore but know she will send her messages from heaven when she is not advising God.

My deepest condolences to Rob and the family. Our thoughts are with you all during this difficult time.
Love to you all.

-Julie Burbury, Bronwyn and Morgaine Leger

Dear Kath, It is with great sadness that I learned of your passing. I am so very glad that you came into my life as you were a great mentor and friend, we had great memories indeed. I will miss communicating with you, your laughter and smile. I will miss you.--Costen

-Costen McCann

I met once at a joint TOPS meeting! What a beautiful soul she is. To see her enthusiasm with the group will never be forgotten. God has called home another special lady and I believe she will always be in spirit for her family remaining on earth until they meet again. RIP Kathy and my deepest sympathies to her family and friends.

-Janet Pratt

Sharing in your sadness as you remember Kathy! My heartfelt sympathy to Rob, Marion, Audrey, David & all the family. A lot of memories flood back from our school years & I’ll especially miss our get-togethers on the north shore during the summer! You made us laugh about things that happened in our younger days & I’ll always remember your smile! You did it your way Kathy & you did it so well! RIP dear friend, until we meet again❤️


Sorry to hear about Kathy, she was very nice and very pleasant. I met her at tops. Sending my condolences to the family.

-laura mckowen

I fondly remember Kathy and was saddened by the news of her passing, especially at such a young age. Kathy and I worked together at Nahani Way Public School in Peel for several years and shared administrative positions as acting VP (me) and acting Principal (Kathy). Kathy’s first priority was the children, she was a caring and inspiring educator.
When ever we socialized Kathy always brought her can of Sprite! She made us smile…
My condolences to Rob and her family.
John Forth

-John Forth

I’m terribly saddened hearing of Kathy’s passing. She was a gem, a one-of-a-kind principal. She believed in me and her staff. Through her caring nature, she inspired her staff to greatness.

My deepest condolences to the family.

-Adam D Brox

Sadly, I just learned of the news of Kathy's passing today. Kathy gave me my start as a teacher. She hired me way back when she was a principal at Plowman's Park. Then our paths crossed again as we worked together at Morton Way. She had a way of making people feel immediately at ease with her down to earth nature and wonderful sense of humour. I enjoyed my time with Kathy and have fond memories of chats and funny stories--she even inspired me to run a few 10K races--something I never would have done without her encouragement! My deepest condolences to her family, I will remember Kathy not only as the principal that started my career, but as someone who marched to the beat of her own drum and lived her life to the fullest. May she rest in peace.
Natalie Nicol

-Natalie Nicol