Kathy Werkheiser has led a full life, experiencing two careers, raising four children, and relishing diverse travel opportunities.
Kathy is married to State Representative Bill Werkheiser, and they live in Glennville, but she spent her childhood and teenage years in the Atlanta area, as did Bill.
“My parents, Keith and DeAnn Baker, live in Woodstock, but I grew up in nearby Dunwoody. I was born in Ohio, but we moved to Florida when my dad was in graduate school and then to Ann Harbor, Michigan, before we moved to Georgia. He was a CPA and an accounting professor, first at Georgia State and then retired from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. My mom was a nurse for Delta at the Atlanta Airport clinic and from where she retired,” Kathy said.
Most people unaware that the airport has a clinic available for both employees and airline passengers.
Kathy has a sister, Wendy, who is a teacher and lives in Clearwater, Florida. She has a son, Bradley, and a daughter, Rebecca, who recently married. Kathy has a brother, Doug, who lives with his wife, Karen, in Woodstock; their two children are Rachel and Henry.
Bill’s parents are the late Russell and Doris Werkheiser of Snellville. Bill is the youngest of five. His siblings include Beth and husband Mike Rawlins in Lexington, South Carolina; Diane Alexander in Snellville; Mark and wife Cheryl Werkheiser, also in Snellville; and Barbara and husband John Stewart in Melbourne, Florida.
However, Kathy and Bill did not meet until they were both attending Georgia Southern University (GSU) at the same time.
“I knew him when I was a freshman, and he was two years ahead of me. I began attending FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) meetings, mostly for a social gathering where I could meet other Christians, and Bill was chairing the meetings. It was over a year later when I was helping him place posters for FCA that we began dating,” Kathy said.
After graduation from GSU, Kathy married Bill, and they moved to Glennville. Bill was working for an Atlanta print shop that suddenly closed, and Kenny Tarver of the Mascot Pecan Company invited him to come to Glennville and help set up his mail order business. Kenny and Bill knew each other from college.
“Bill also met Lindy Knight when we moved here, and the two bought some acreage and began building a house on Zachariah Church Road, where we lived for the first 18 years of our marriage,” said Kathy. The couple next moved to Claxton for 14 years but returned to Glennville in 2016 to live once again.
Bill bought the Glennville Printing business in 1986 at the building where The Journal Sentinel, formerly the Glennville Sentinel, is today. From Barnard Street, he moved the business to several locations on Hwy. 301 South and then later to Banks Street when Bill bought the former TAM building. From there, they bought the building on Hwy. 301 South where the present O’Reilly’s Auto Parts is today, although Bill had already sold the property to Marc Nobles.
After the recession around 2009-2010, and the availability of computers for homes and businesses for much of the printing, Bill later sold his printing business.
Since 2014, Bill has served as a Georgia State Representative and is Chairman of the Industry and Labor Committee, among serving on several other committees.
“He is very responsive to his constituents and is constantly replying to people through texts, phone calls, or emails. He really loves serving the citizens and actually likes to be contacted on various issues,” Kathy said.
Kathy’s first degree was in Home Economics, and when she moved to Glennville, she worked for three years as a County Extension Agent under EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program). She explained that she traveled in Tattnall, Toombs, and Appling counties educating low-income citizens how they could stretch their food dollars while eating more nutritiously.
After the birth of their first child, however, Kathy became a stay-at-home mom to their four children: Brett, Courtney, Russ, and Ashley.
Brett and his wife, Brittany, live in Marietta with their five children, three biological children and two foster children whom they hope to adopt. The children include Kailer, eight years old and a third grader; J.R., age seven and a second grader; Ava, age seven and a first grader; Shanelle, beginning kindergarten; and one year-old Rylan. Brett is a Project Manager for Uber, and Brittany is an ICU nurse at Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, working part time as needed. Brett and Brittany, before having children, served in the Peace Corps in Africa for several years.
Courtney also lives in Marietta with her husband, Owen Farist, an attorney. She is a special education teacher but is currently enjoying being at home with their children, four-year-old Molly and five-year-old Baker, who just started kindergarten. Courtney enjoys baking cakes for sale during her spare time, and is she involved with the Blue Skies Ministry as well.
Since 2016, Russ has lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but will soon be locating to Kansas City. His Logistics degree from GSU has led to his position as a director at Canadian Pacific Railroad.
Ashley, the youngest of the four children, is married to Chase Colwell, and they live in Marietta and have a one-year-old son, Ezra. Ashley is a part-time occupational therapist at Kennestone Hospital, and Chase is a school counselor at East Paulding Middle School.
“When I was 46, I began college once again. I realized that after the children were grown and in their own households, I still wanted a career. Although my mother was a nurse, I never felt a pull to that profession earlier in life. But, I think that it was just God inspired for me to want to become a labor and delivery nurse,” Kathy said.
In 2007, Kathy and her daughter, Courtney, began college together at Georgia Southern; they even had a class together. After completing her needed core classes, Kathy was able to enroll in a part-time degree program in nursing at Armstrong. Two children were still at home, and she did not want to be attending school full time.
“My goal was four years to earn my nursing degree, and I never wavered. In 2011, I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. I spent my first three years at Evans Memorial Hospital, which gave me a variety of experience in med surg, the monitoring unit, and the ER,” Kathy said. “I was able to secure a position as a postpartum and then Labor and Delivery RN at Candler/St. Joseph’s Hospital in Savannah and stayed in that position until 2018.”
Kathy then left Candler to become a travel nurse, starting at Emory in Atlanta, which made it possible to be in Atlanta with Bill during the legislative session. Kathy has travel nursed in Georgia near the Atlanta area except for the 13 weeks she was in Baltimore, Maryland, at John Hopkins Hospital, and had her first experience in her lifetime of living by herself. She missed being close to her family and soon found herself back in Atlanta. In 2021, she landed at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta close to their children.
Two new grandchildren and then the declining health of her mother led Kathy to take a few months off, and she is now continuing to work part time at Kennestone Hospital. Each month, she travels to Marietta and divides her time between her parents and her children and their families while working her shifts, and then comes home to Glennville.
Traveling has been one of Kathy’s passions, and she and Bill have recently returned from a trip to Israel with a group from the Statesboro First Baptist Church. She has also visited China for two weeks and visited Kenya, Africa, when Brett and Brittany were in the Peace Corps there. Kathy and Bill trekked to Ireland and found this country beautiful and fascinating. Other countries toured have been England and France, with Italy on her bucket list.
“Bill likes to travel as much as I do, so we look forward to more trips abroad in the next few years,” Kathy said.
Kathy loves to read, and suspense/mysteries are favorites. She also likes to cook for her family, and Kathy makes the Chart House Mud Pie every year for Bill’s birthday. The Pumpkin Bread is her grandchildren’s favorite, and the Coffee Punch is served at most of their family get-togethers.
“Life has been good for us and fulfilling as well. Bill and I both love what we do and make sure we connect with our children and their families. With Bill in Atlanta the first three months of the year, this gives us an opportunity to see our children and grandchildren,” Kathy said.
Kathy Werkheiser’s Recipes
2 cups sugar
8 Tbsp. instant coffee
3 quarts hot water
6 oz. chocolate syrup
2 quarts milk
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
Mix together sugar, coffee, water, chocolate syrup, and milk. Leave in the refrigerator overnight. Add ice cream about 1 hour before serving. Serves 35 to 40.
CHART HOUSE MUD PIE
1/2 pkg. Nabisco Chocolate Wafers
1/2 cube butter, melted
1 gallon coffee ice cream
1-1/2 cups fudge sauce
Crush wafers and add butter. Mix well. Press into a 9” pie plate. Cover with soft coffee ice cream. Put into freezer until ice cream is firm. Top with cold fudge sauce (it helps to place fudge sauce in freezer for a time to make spreading easier). Store Mud Pie in freezer for approximately 10 hours.
Presentation: Slice Mud Pie into eight portions and serve on a chilled dessert plate with a chilled fork. Top with whipped cream and slivered almonds.
2-2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup cooking oil
2 cups pumpkin (or 1 (16-oz. can)
2/3 cup water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 cup raisins
Grease and flour loaf pans.
Mix ingredients well, adding nuts and raisins last. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F. oven. Makes 2 large loaves. Lay on side when done to cool.
1 (8-oz.) pkg. of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 to 1 cup powdered sugar
Whip together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add milk a few drops at a time if needed to thin. Spread over pumpkin bread.