Kathleen Rose McGonagle - Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel

April 27, 1949 - March 7, 2023

Kathleen passed away at home in Minneapolis on March 7, 2023, at the age of 73, after making the difficult choice to end her cancer treatment. She is survived by sons Adam Kleczewski (Erika Pamer) of NYC and Tom Kleczewski (Jessica Arck) of Minneapolis; grandsons Liam, Reid, and Marek Kleczewski; siblings Margaret, Marilyn, and Robert (Diane) McGonagle; and former husband Mark Kleczewski (Carmen Price). She was preceded in death by her parents William and Rose McGonagle, of Hopkins, and her partner Jerry Hauwiller.

Kathleen grew up in Hopkins and attended St. Margaret’s Academy. She graduated from Marquette University and taught in elementary schools for several years in Wisconsin before returning to Minnesota. She worked in management at Ecolab and later worked for Peace Trails, a peace-making mission for teens in Bosnia. She served on the board of Laketrails Base Camp, a camping experience she enjoyed as a teen. In 2002, she and her sister Margaret founded Rose’s Daughters, a successful move-management company for seniors. In retirement she volunteered as a guardian ad litem for vulnerable children in Hennepin County.

Kathy cherished her close relationship with her sons and daughters-in-law. She was a committed and loving grandmother, regularly taking care of her oldest grandson, Liam, before she got sick. They loved playing with her eclectic toy collection, exploring parks, and playing Pooh Sticks together. Kathy reveled in the joy of all her grandchildren, even helping with the babies after her cancer diagnosis. Her days were always brightened by holding them, reading to them, and watching them grow and learn. Her passing is a great loss for her grandchildren and their families.

The friendships that Kathleen made from all parts of her life—school and college, camp, work, dancing, and yoga—were so important to her. An avid reader (especially of Austen) and a prolific sock knitter, she also played piano (duets, too), traveled, walked, and did yoga. She unabashedly loved shopping, both window- and bargain. She enjoyed her annual trips to NYC to see Broadway plays and shop; as a break from her routine, she worked one summer at the gift shop of Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, knitting socks between customers. She was quick to say yes to adventures. She loved to bake bread, and during Covid regularly delivered loaves to friends. An accomplished dancer, she made many friends in the social dance community; her New Year’s Eve parties always ended early so everyone could go dancing.

Kathleen and her family were appreciative of the many messages posted on her Caring Bridge site throughout her illness.

Because of the joy that dancing gave Kathleen, in lieu of flowers, her preferred memorials are to Heart of Dance and Tapestry Folkdance Center, local nonprofits that teach and promote dancing for all.


  1. All of us at Heart of Dance are saddened to learn of Kathleen’s death. The social dance community in the Twin Cities has lost a vibrant light! We’re very grateful to be chosen as a charity of her choice, so we may continue to share the many mental, physical and emotional benefits of social dance that she experienced, with youth and seniors who would otherwise not have access. “Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” – Plato. Dance on, Kathy!

  2. Becca, Yann and Raphie says:

    We are so sorry for this tremendous loss for your family and for the community as a whole. It’s been a privilege to learn more about Kathy’s full, vibrant life through this beautiful memorial you’ve written. While we know her death leaves an enormous hole in your lives, we also know that the time she’s had with Marek during his first year will be a solace and incredibly cherished as he grows older and learns more about his wonderful grandmother. May her memory be a blessing.

  3. Pat Elliott says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Kathleen passing. I worked with her at Ecolab, and she was always a voice of reason and reality … i.e. behind the door in her office “ our credit policy – we sell to any sucker.” She had a heart as big as the moon, coaching and promoting people who just deserved a chance. I loved when she and her sisters started the business Roses’s Daughters, because I had been thru hard transitions for my aunt and my parents as their Alzheimer’s disease progressed. I know how much she loved her sons, and I recall rafting trips that I would not have the courage to tackle! What a beautiful soul. I miss you!!!

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