Linda Kay Nelson was born in Oakdale, Louisiana on January 3rd, 1941. She was an only child to William & Marian Nelson. When she was two, her family moved to Springfield, Oregon. Kay graduated from Springfield High School in 1959. That fall she left to attend Oregon State University where she met the love of her life, Robert “Bob” Petrik, on a blind date. She was a die-hard Beaver fan the rest of her life. After a sweet courtship, they married May 17th, 1963.
Bob was commissioned by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1962, and assigned to Germany shortly after they married. Kay stayed behind in the States to finish her last term at OSU and then joined him shortly after. Kay loved exploring that part of the world as a newlywed. She taught military children for two years while they stationed. During Vietnam, Kay returned to Springfield to live while Bob was deployed. When he returned they moved to Portland, Oregon.
In 1969 they purchased a ranch in Echo, Oregon and settled in to start their family. Their first child, Robin was born that same year, with many internal issues as a result of Bob’s exposure to Agent Orange. She had 6 surgeries in her first year of life. Kay not only became a mother, but a full-time nurse to Robin. Their son Ryan was born a year-and-a-half later, and five years after that, another son Rodger was born. Kay gave so much to the care of Robin, eventually giving her a kidney, saving her life. Bob & Kay raised their three children on the farm for several years, caring for Robin’s health needs and bringing up two active boys until they moved to Deer Park, Washington in 1980 to be closer to more quality medical care for their daughter. In December of 1983, after 14 beautiful years, they suffered their greatest loss when Robin went to be with the Lord.
In 1990 the family moved to Baker City, Oregon where Bob & Kay established a successful small business together. During 2004, they met their great friend, Bobby Michaels, and became enthralled with the good work he was doing in the country of Cambodia. Their hearts were moved for the people of that nation after visiting with Bobby. They established and ran a purse factory that created hundreds of jobs for women in Cambodia, supported several orphanages, and ministered to the Khmer people, traveling there many times over the next decade. They established The Lydia Project, a nonprofit organization to continue and support their work there. Kay’s favorite part of their travels was visiting the orphanages and loving on the children, passing out toys and candy, shoeboxes, and basic needs. Bob & Kay’s passion and love for the Cambodian people overflowed to anyone who talked with them during this time. Many, many lives were changed thanks to their ministry there.
Kay and Bob retired in from Ag Insurance in 2008, passing on the business they had built to their youngest son Rodger and his wife, Lindy. They spent their retirement years visiting Cambodia, enjoying their grandkids, hosting birthday parties and holidays, and gardening. Kay loved to go on trips and adventures with her family, from Beaver football games, to Hawaii, to Disneyland, she made so many beautiful memories with all of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
In 2015 Kay was diagnosed with a rare infection and eventually had to have one lung removed. She lived the last 4 years with 1 lung and 1 kidney, doing everything she could despite a frustrating diagnosis. On September 15, 2019 she went home to be with our Lord and Savior and was reunited with her precious daughter, Robin. She lived a full and beautifully bright life. Kay is preceded in death by her parents, William and Marian Nelson, and her daughter, Robin Petrik. She is survived by her husband Robert Petrik, her son, Ryan Petrik, and his wife Katie, her son, Rodger Petrik and his wife, Lindy. Her five grandchildren, Vivian, Elizabeth, Grady, Gemma, and Griffey Petrik, her two step-grandchildren, Bailey and Riley Lancaster, and her two great-grandchildren, Clara Parker and Remington Petrik.
Kay’s funeral service will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday, September 21, 2019 at the First Church of the Nazarene in Baker City. Pastor Lennie Spooner will be officiating. Following the service, friends are invited to join the family for a reception in the church fellowship hall. Kay loved to wear bright bold colors like pinks, purples and reds and always had on a bold lip. The family would like for those ladies attending to wear bright colors (jewel tones) in honor of her as we celebrate her life. Interment will be on Monday, September 23, 2019 at Greenwood Memorial Terrace in Spokane, Washington.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Lydia Project - Cambodia, the nonprofit organization Kay help start over 10 years ago, through Gray’s West & Co. at 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.