Fishtown Preservation Society has lost a treasured leader. Kathryn Eckert Omoto died on July 15, 2022. Kathryn was one of the founding members of our Board of Directors and served as its chairperson for over 15 years. A resident of Leland, Kathryn had an extensive background in historic preservation, having served as a State Historic Preservation Officer and Advisor to the Midwest Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She wrote extensively on state and regional historic preservation.
In her work for Fishtown Preservation, Kathryn laid the groundwork for its future success. She guided the development of a master plan for the work at the Fishtown site and an interpretive plan, pressed for the creation of an Historic Structures Report, and designed our archives. She saw Fishtown in its broader historic context as an operative fishing village and not just a collection of quaint shops. She set high goals. She wanted Fishtown to be named to the National Register of Historic Places as a distinct district and lived to see that happen earlier this year.
Importantly, Kathryn’s connections within the historic preservation community gave us access to the talents we needed to carry out our work – preservation architects, historic landscape architects, folklorists, and other preservationists. She also understood the connection between credibility and fund raising. She was close to major funding sources and knew who to pursue for which purposes. Largely due to Kathryn, FPS has never suffered from a lack of resources.
In short, Kathryn gave us credibility. She drove us to do what had to be done. Her service, passion and skills will keep us on the right path. Without her, it wouldn’t have happened.
We are grateful to Kathryn for her contributions, and we will miss her energy, wisdom, and sense of humor.