She titled her 2008 memoirs Live
Until I Die, and there's no question that widely admired corporate
executive and philanthropist Katherine Chancellor, who passed away
on August 1st following a short illness, lived life to the
fullest. She was 84.
Born Katherine Shepherd, she grew up in Genoa City and attended Genoa City University before marrying high school and college classmate Gary Reynolds. Following his sudden death, Katherine took the helm of the Reynolds family's business empire, ultimately turning its management over to her second husband, Phillip Chancellor II, and renaming it Chancellor Industries. She assumed sole leadership when Phillip died in 1975.
Katherine is being remembered by family, friends and colleagues as a creative, intelligent and savvy business leader, who carried herself with elegance, grace and humility. "She was tough in business, but possessed the kindest, gentlest, most generous heart I've ever known," said longtime friend Victor Newman, who Katherine recruited to run Chancellor Industries in the late 1970s.
"She was fearless, with an indomitable spirit," said Jack Abbott, Jabot Cosmetics CEO, of the woman he'd known all his life; Katherine and his late father John, Jabot's founder, were childhood friends. He noted that she survived a number of challenges that might have destroyed someone of lesser strength, and worked up until a few months before her death. "It's hard to believe she's really gone," he said.
Unfailingly outspoken and often brutally honest, with a keen sense of humor, Katherine enjoyed mentoring young people and was a patron of the arts. Her charitable endeavors included grants to Genoa City University, Genoa City Memorial Hospital, the Genoa City Art Museum, the Genoa City Homeless Shelter and the Genoa City Rec Center. She also founded The Second Chance Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center and chaired the annual Genoa City Arts Council Gala for many years. "She never shirked her responsibility to give back to the community or took the gifts she'd been given for granted," said Katherine's son, Brock Reynolds.
"She wasn't just about writing checks - although she wrote plenty of those! She rolled up her sleeves and served dinner to the less fortunate every Thanksgiving, made sure the kids at the homeless shelter had a beautiful Christmas tree and a visit from Santa each year. She may have been rich, but she would have been the first to tell you it wasn't because of her money, it was because her life was full of love."
In addition to Reynolds, Katherine is survived by husband Patrick Murphy; son Tucker McCall of Hong Kong; stepchildren Phillip Chancellor III of Sydney, Australia, Gina Romalotti and Danny Romalotti of Los Angeles; grandchildren Mackenzie Browning Hellstrom (J.T.) of Washington, D.C., and Devon Hamilton of Genoa City; step grandson Phillip Chancellor IV of Washington, DC.; great-grandson D.J. Hellstrom, and friends too numerous to count. She was preceded in death by her fourth husband, Rex Sterling. A memorial celebration is pending.