Cover photo for Katherine Jean Zilligen's Obituary
Katherine Jean Zilligen Profile Photo
1950 Kathy 2024

Katherine Jean Zilligen

August 16, 1950 — April 6, 2024

Battle Creek

On April 6, 2024, Katherine “Kathy” J. Zilligen of Battle Creek passed away after a long battle with chronic illness. She was 73 years old. She was a talented homemaker, compassionate nurse and mother of two daughters and step mom to Dave’s two daughters.  She was married to the love of her life David for over 50 years and was happy with their journey together in life.  

Kathy was born August 16, 1950, in Evergreen Park, IL the daughter of the late Harry A. Saak, and Marjorie R (Wilson) Saak and was raised in Matteson, IL. She graduated from the College of Saint Francis School of Nursing. 

After her marriage to David Zilligen January 27, 1973, she moved to Kankakee where they started their family. After having two daughters, they moved to Colorado Springs, CO in 1979, where she worked as a Nurse and eventually moved into hospital administration. In 1989, they moved to Fair Oaks, California as her career shifted to supporting Health Insurance Quality Assurance/Management. In 1995, they moved back to the Chicago area as empty nesters. Kathy’s job brought them to St. Louis for several years until moving for the last time to Battle Creek, Michigan in 2013. 

In recent years, chronic pain and fatigue left her restricted in her mobility. She was always involved in needlecrafts where she used her talents to lead knitters in a Prayer Shawl Ministry at the church in Manchester, Missouri.   While in Michigan, she joined a quilter’s guild and co-lead at outreach program, making quilts for kids who living out a crisis. While in Colorado, Kathy led the board of directors for the Colorado Springs Children’s Chorale. Kathy worked as a nurse in Illinois and Colorado working in Labor and Delivery.  In 1988, she moved to full time administrative roles focusing on the Quality of Healthcare. Kathy was under In-home hospice since February 2023, she inspired others with her positive outlook in happy anticipation of Heaven.  During these later months of her illness, Kathy enjoyed snuggling with her grandchildren, visiting with loved ones, & listening to worship music. 

Kathy is survived by her husband, David Zilligen; her children, Pam Zilligen, Wendy (Josh) Roby; her grandchildren, Brad Zilligen, Katie Amann, Luke Amann, Grace Zilligen, Benaiah, Sierra, Brillianna & Micaiah Roby; her brothers, Gary (Rosie) Saak, Charlie (Mary) Saak; and her sister, Barbara Saak. She was preceded in death by her parents and a sister, Ruth Saak.

 "And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ" Ephesians 4:32

A memorial service to celebrate Kathy’s life will be held 1:00 p.m., Saturday, April 13, 2024 at the Woodland Church 14425 South Helmer Rd. Battle Creek, MI 49015.  In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to the Calhoun County Quilts for Kids through the Cal-Co Quilters Guild and/or the Our Journey of Hope Ministry through Woodland Church.  Arrangements by Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Battle Creek.   Personal messages for the family and favorite memories of Kathy may be placed here at

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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