While looking into the face of my brave and beautiful friend, I am reminded of her urging that the words of Ka'iulani must be heard. Kathryn would be brought to tears, while explaining that she wanted this for her little girl, whom she soon would bring into the world. Our long talks of her plans for the future were so full, so detailed, so bright. Day after day, she made me promise that this would happen, then flash her big smile with a "Yeah, go girl!" She encouraged this project and stressed what it meant to her, as a new mother. Kathryn saw Princess Ka'iulani of Hawaii as a role model and heroine for the little life growing inside of her, and believed that the story of Ka'iulani could empower the lives of many young women. At times, when I felt unequipped to carry this project through, my dear Kathryn was full of encouraging words.
Kathryn Gayle Lawrence Dragas, 40, passed away on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009. A native of Norfolk, Virginia, she was the daughter of the late Gayle Zydron Battaglia. Among others, she is survived by her husband Bill Dragas, her brother and his wife, John and Lynelle Lawrence, and her father, Robert N. Lawrence. Kathryn was an authentic woman of high principals, and spent her life serving the welfare of children, as a dedicated occupational therapist at the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughter for 14 years.
Kathryn was a great friend, with a full heart for all who knew her. Her love and support was given, selflessly. In Hawaii, she cared for the wildlife and watched over the rare monk seals of the islands. We will remember how much love and beauty Kathryn brought to our lives and will keep her in our hearts. I know how helpless and lost we all feel and can only pray that peace and love will find all of us who loved her. Thank you for your friendship Kathryn, it was one of the greatest gifts any of us could have received.