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I met Klonda in 1979 we worked at the Sawmill in Sumiton, Alabama.  We shared a home together  for a while in Sayre, Alabama not very far from work.  Living with Klonda was enriching for me. We certainly didn't have much money by any means but we enjoyed life  and worked hard. I don't think that Klonda ever knew a stranger as she made friends very quickly and was kind to everyone she met. But her greatest loves were cats. I loved that about her.. The picture of Klonda in a boat I took of her. We had gone to Smith Lake with friends we had met at work. Klonda was so brave. She, not even knowing how to swim went right out into the water with a life jacket on and it seems in no time she had overcome her fear of the water. Not me, I don't think I'lll ever overcome my fear of water.  Another picture of Klonda I took of her among the many pictures here is the one of her on the couch with the cat,  Fleefee one of her male cats,  the daddy of Bobby and 10 (who unfortunately did not live very long) Lady was their mama cat. Along with her many cats Roscoe, Dirk, Lady, Fleefee Bobby and 10 ( she was named after Bo Derek because of the movie 10, when Lady had the two kittens she just had to name one 10 because she was a perfect 10 in Klonda's eyes and heart.). My young son Darrell (also nicknamed Roscoe on the day he was born) and I had such a full and fun life with Klonda and her cats. When Klonda moved to Birmingham she gifted Dirk the cat  (whom she named after her greatest love.) to me.  Dirk as any of you who knew and loved Klonda knew about Dirk whom she loved from the start, and whom she did eventually marry many years later. Klonda moved to Birmingham then back to Dayton about late 1980. We kept in touch over the years. We shared a common love for cats. I have never known anyone as  devoted to her mission in life to  rescue love and care for her cats  as Klonda Sue Richey. 

After Klonda moved back to Dayton we kept in touch.  I finally got the opportunity to go visit my dear friend in Dayton in the summer of 1997 then again in December of 1997. At that time she had 13 cats and I was fortunate enough to have the pleasure of taking back home with me Fluffy, who used to frequent Children's Services where she worked. 


My heart is broken over the loss of my wonderful friend. I did not learn of her untimely death until 3 days ago almost a year later. We would keep in touch then lose touch again. I moved and had to change phone numbers 3 times in 2-1/2 years. I kept telling myself over time I have got to call Klonda tomorrow and give her my new number. We had lost touch over time but would always reconnect and pick right back up where we left off. I was missing my friend and said okay you have got to call her tomorrow which meant that this time I would call her tomorrow.  I couldn't find her number. I had Klonda's work number it somehow made the transition through 3 cell phone number changes in 2-1/2 years, but not her home number. So I thought okay well at least I have that number and will contact her at work on Monday if I can't find her number online in the white pages. So I pulled up her name and found that my very good friend was gone. My heart is broken at this loss of my friend. And to Klonda's family I want to say you have my deepest sympathies in the loss of this awesome wonderful lady. Had I known of this tragedy I would have been at her funeral and I would have most certainly taken one of her beloved cats back home with me to Minnesota. I loved my friend Klonda with all my heart. I am saddened and brokenhearted over the loss of my true friend. Forever in my heart she will be. I love you Klonda, forever.

   Your forever friend, Junie "Lee" Smart. 

Posted by Junie Lee Smart
Tuesday January 6, 2015 at 6:21 am
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