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Daughter's death inspires Vogel to serve others

Kathy's House founder helps families in duress

Dick Vogel, executive director of Kathy's House, in front of a stained glass rainbow hanging in the lobby Aug. 1, 2011.

Dick Vogel, executive director of Kathy's House, in front of a stained glass rainbow hanging in the lobby Aug. 1, 2011. Photo By Mary Catanese

Aug. 17, 2011

Dick Vogel's passion is people, and he says all have purpose.

"I believe very strongly that we are all loved by God regardless of our circumstances," the 80-year-old Mequon resident said.

That faith has been tested. He's the executive director of Kathy's House, a Wauwatosa hospitality house for patients needing care at area hospitals and their caregivers. He founded the home in memory of his daughter, Kathy Kuettner.

Kuettner was just 39 when she died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma on July 4, 2000. "She was diagnosed at Stage IV. That's not good."

One year later, Kathy's House opened; it's been a good 10-year run.

"It's significant, and it helps those who are in desperate need of help, which is what it was designed to do."

His daughter's picture is displayed prominently in Kathy's House, although Vogel doesn't need reminders.

"Her presence is very strong here. Our guests feel it. I think she helps them on their fearful journey."

When she died, Vogel said, he and family relied on faith to see them through.

"We strongly felt that God was with us at all times that summer."

Vogel's no stranger to adversity. He cheated death once in a 1955 car accident that killed the driver, and seven years ago, he battled throat cancer.

"Dying doesn't bother me. In many ways, I'll be happy to rejoin Kathy and others I've lost."

Still, the former real estate developer who loves reading and gardening said he has too much to give to give up.

"I love living. I love challenges."

To recommend a person be featured in Someone You Should Know, send an e-mail to someone@cninow.com or call (262) 446-6643.

JUST THE FACTS

NAME: Dick Vogel

AGE: 80

NOTED FOR: executive director of Kathy's House

ONLINE: www.kathys-house.org

PEARLS OF WISDOM: "I believe very strongly that we are all loved by God regardless of our circumstances."

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