CLEARWATER, FL — Kathy Biddle, athletic director of Clearwater High School, said she was thrilled when the school named its newly installed turf football field Katherine H. Biddle Field at Jack White Stadium in her honor in August. latest.
However, the longtime Clearwater High School teacher and coach said the generations of students she taught and coached will always be her lasting legacy.
After a long and fierce battle with breast cancer, Biddle passed away on Tuesday, March 15.
Biddle was quick to fire those who portrayed her as a legend at Clearwater High School. Always humble, she said she never did anything to earn that title. She was simply a dedicated teacher and coach to her students.
These students say otherwise.
Biddle was the physical education and social studies teacher at Clearwater High School for 43 years as well as the track and field, cross country and cheerleading coach.
During that time, she led the high school to eight district championships, eight conference championships, four regional championships, and multiple state tournament appearances.
For the past 20 years, she has also served as high school graduation coordinator and senior class sponsor.
For Biddle, Clearwater High School wasn’t just where she worked. It was at home.
Five years after earning her bachelor’s degree in physical education from Florida State University, she was back at her alma mater as a full-time teacher.
Even a stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis in October 2019 couldn’t keep her away from school.
She underwent treatment for her cancer while continuing to teach, coach and cheer on Tornadoes from the sidelines.
Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Michael Grego described her as a “force of nature.”
“I think the city of Clearwater, the county and the community are indebted to Ms. Biddle,” he said.
“She was loved by everyone,” her longtime friend Jenna Bostic said. “She loved Clearwater High and the students, sports, Florida State Seminoles and Disney. She was positive until the end, keeping everyone up to date with her posts. She will be missed by so many.”
“Mrs. Biddle is the most beautiful soul I have ever met,” said former pupil Garet Springer. “She really cares about people. Of all my 12 years at school, she was definitely my favorite.”
“Coach Biddle was an amazing person who thought and helped others before himself,” said Todd Belisle. “She will continue to watch the pitch and follow forever.”
In March, Biddle was among eight women honored by the Clearwater Historical Society Museum and Cultural Center for National History Month. The display in her honor was a tribute to the school where she devoted more than 40 years of her life, including student photos, trophies and signed sports memorabilia, as well as a tribute to her dedication which earned him induction into the Kiwanis Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1992, Social Studies Teacher of the Year in 2007, inductee into Clearwater High School’s Varsity Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011, recipient of Commitment to the 2014 Pinellas County School Excellence in Athletics, 2018 Suncoast Football Conference Association Administrator of the Year, 1st recipient of the Pinellas County Athletic Administration Leadership Award, Honorary Comedian for Drama at eight-time high school and Pinellas County Schools Cross Country and Track Coach of the Year.
Sharing her honors as well as the toughest days of breast cancer treatment, her husband, Bob, was her constant companion.
They were introduced by a cake decorator from the bakery run by Bob Biddle, but their first date didn’t go as planned. She stood him up.
“She was spending time with her family and completely forgot about the date,” he said.
Fortunately, she remembered their second date, which ultimately led to their marriage on June 21, 1980.
Forty-one years later, he was still by her side when she breathed her last.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her mother Linda Hershfelt Woodhouse; sisters, Susan Hershfelt Katte (Nick), Helen Hershfelt Avers (John) and Lynda Hershfelt Gorken (Greg); sisters-in-law Beth Biddle, Joleen Frank and Kathy Wellens (Mike); nieces and nephews, Christina Katte Brantley (Stan), Mathew Katte (Taylor), Michelle Katte, Taylor Gorken, Kendall Gorken, Griffin Gorken, Reed Avers, Erin Avers, Jordyn Avers, Cassie Jo Frank, Colin Frank (Kathy), Deakin Donley and Abby Wellens; great-nieces and nephews Grayson, Tessalyn, Maizie Brantley and Ethan Katte.
A celebration of life was held on Saturday April 16 at the Church of the Ascension. Click on here for the video.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Church of the Ascension, American Cancer Society, ASPCA, or Metropolitan Ministries.
Sunset Point Funeral Home in Clearwater was in charge of the arrangements.