Kathryn had beaten the disease six years ago, but it returned last year. Nevertheless, she wasn't about to let the effects of chemotherapy slow her down. She arranged her work schedule around the treatments.
"She was a real fighter," said her nephew Norman Bell, manager of the Youth Study Center.
" 'Yeah,' she would say, 'I'm going to get through it.' "
"She wanted to bring comfort to the next of kin of murder victims," said Lt. Norman Davenport, administrative officer of the Homicide Division. "She took that responsibility personally. She had many contacts in city government and she would use them to get whatever resources were needed.
"She was young at heart. She was full of life. She viewed life as a gift. She truly believed she exercised that gift to the best of her abilities. She was an amazing woman."
Kathryn's work would begin after a murder had been committed. The day after a homicide, Kathryn would call the victim's family and let them know the resources available to them. That includes up to $6,500 for funeral expenses to offset any costs not covered by insurance.
In an interview in April with the Daily News, Kathryn said that her job was to show victims' families the "human side" of the Police Department.
"Our objective is to show them that we do care about them as a family, that their loved one is a person to us, not just a number," she said.
Kathryn was often honored with certificates from the Police Department. She was a runner-up in the Daily News' Fencl Award in 2001, when she was victims' assistance officer in the 12th District, in Southwest Philadelphia.
She was past president of the Guardian Civic League, the organization of black police officers, and an active volunteer with the CHEERS (Community Health Enrichment Empowerment Resources Services) program.
Kathryn was born in Philadelphia to James McNeil and Jaundice Grant. She graduated from John Bartram High School in 1972. She joined the police force in 1987 and worked for a time as a street cop out of the 17th District, in South Philadelphia.
After a stint as an undercover narcotics officer, she transferred to the 12th District, at 65th Street and Woodland Avenue, to work with crime victims' families.
She is survived by her mother, and two sons, Christopher Tucker and James Headen.
Services: 11 a.m. Saturday at Fifty-Ninth Street Baptist Church, 315 S. 59th St. Friends may call at 8 a.m. Burial will be in Fernwood Cemetery.
Contact John F. Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-854-5573