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    Person Beyond A Name: Recalling Pedestrian Fatally Struck By Police Car

    (October 18, 2006) -- posts below a self-explanatory email we received following the tragic Oct. 17 pre-sunrise accident on Ocean Blvd. near 36th Place. As we reported yesterday, Kathryn Stephens, 39, of Lakewood was crossing Ocean Blvd. near the intersection when she was fatally struck by a police car on routine patrol.

    [begin email text]

    We read about tragedies such as this -- where a woman was killed when struck by a police car in the early morning darkness -- and then move on to the next article, the next disconnected tragedy. But unfortunately, sometimes a name is just too familiar, the spelling just distinctive enough that we wonder whether that's the same person we know.

    And, unfortunately, in this case it is someone I know.

    Kate Stephens was a remarkable person. She overcame substance abuse problems and went on not only to build a productive life for herself, but to touch the lives of other women battling addiction.

    She founded A Moveable Feast Catering through the Willmore Urban Agency and First United Methodist Church. A Moveable Feast employed women in recovery from the Flossie Lewis Center to teach them catering industry skills that would give them a head start when they graduated from their treatment programs and reentered the workforce. She spent untold hours counseling recovering addicts.

    It was my pleasure to work with her and the women she was helping through the Long Beach Area Literacy Council. She brought us learners who would have never taken the step toward becoming literate -- and clean and sober -- if it weren't for Kate.

    And, my Lord, she was a good friend. She was a good mother.

    She will certainly be missed.

    And it makes me realize that there's a backstory for every one of those names connected with tragedies such as this.

    s/ Scott Gray
    Long Beach

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