Katherine M. Stromberg (Hawkins), 71, of West Milford, passed away suddenly on Nov. 10.
Born in Hoboken to James and Pauline (Maineri) Hawkins, Katherine worked in fixed income markets as a portfolio manager for Morgan Stanley in New York City prior to retiring in 2017.
She graduated from Newton College (now part of Boston College) with a degree in economics, later earning her Masters in Business Administration from Farleigh Dickinson University.
She began working at Merrill Lynch in New York City shortly after graduating from Newton College and worked in the financial sector in greater New York City at Merril Lynch, MetLife, Kidder Peabody, and Dean Witter/Morgan Stanley for close to 50 years.
After retirement, she became involved with the Friends of the West Milford Township Public Library, where she quickly became an integral part of organizing and running events.
A survivor of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, she was in the stairwell of the south tower of the World Trade Center evacuating the building at the moment it was hit.
She had worked on the 72nd floor of Two World Trade Center for close to 10 years leading up to that day, with her office relocating to Jersey City for several years after the attacks.
She was a driven woman and a gifted written communicator.
In an era where few women were able to advance to high levels in her field, she climbed the ranks of the financial industry through her determination, her steady demeanor, and a talent for her work.
Her commitment to her work did not prevent her from being a truly extraordinary person in her personal life as well, though.
A committed wife and mother, she was the calming center of her family and helped make her husband and sons truly the best versions of themselves.
In a house filled with a bunch of often volatile boys, she instilled patience, restraint, and thoughtfulness in her family.
She was always willing to drop everything to help her loved ones.
Even after long days at work with a very long commute, she was always willing to help her sons write a paper or be a needed sounding board for her husband.
She was an exceptionally warm and caring person and it only took a few minutes for anyone who came in contact with her to begin to understand that.
She is survived by her loving husband Gary Stromberg, beloved sons, Timothy, Daniel and Michael Stromberg, and their wives Erin, Brittany, and Kelly, her brothers James, Anthony and Robert Hawkins, a sister Dorothy Hawkins, and four grandchildren, Haylee, Owen, Maisie, and Connor.
Friends and family may visit Friday, Nov. 15 from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m., at Richards Funeral Home, 1440 Union Valley Road in West Milford.
The funeral is scheduled for noon on Saturday, with family receiving friends from 10 a.m. to noon prior to the service.
Final disposition is private.