Wendy Kae Kolb passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home in Fairfax Station, Virginia on January 10th, 2017, surrounded by her family, friends, and faithful dog, Mikah. Wendy was just 51 and had been battling colon cancer since 2003.
Wendy was born on October 29th, 1965 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Marvin and Virginia Kleppinger. She enjoyed a happy childhood in the mountains of Colorado, the beaches of California, and the streets of Chicago before finally settling (mountains again) in Meridian, Idaho, where she graduated from Meridian High School.
Wendy married Martin Rivera-Gomez in 1990, a union that resulted in two children, Margarita and Michael. Martin and Wendy later divorced.
She met Michael Kolb in 1996. Mike was her landlord when they met, and Wendy spent a lot of time breaking things in her house to get him to come over. They were married in 1998 and had a daughter together, Mikayla.
Wendy's infectious smile and personality made her a natural at retail sales. She managed several pizza restaurants before partnering with her husband on several successful entrepreneurial ventures. Later, she went back to school to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. Even while she was going through chemotherapy, she cheerfully assisted in the healing of wounded warriors from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. She loved to smile and took great joy in helping others in their time of need.
Wendy moved with her family to Germany in 2006 and had the time of her life, eating and drinking her way across the Continent. She visited over 20 different countries in Europe and Africa and made many close friends. She was particularly enamored with the French and German people, and counted Paris as her favorite 'happy place.' She bought a Porsche and could be frequently spotted zipping down the Autobahn at 120 MPH with the top down. After reluctantly leaving Germany, she lived in Redondo Beach, California before settling down in the Washington, D.C. area.
She considered herself an honorary USC Trojan. She always enjoyed the high energy of the football tailgates on campus and never missed an opportunity to visit and spend time with her friends in Southern California. The motto of USC athletics is "Fight On," which described Wendy perfectly.
Wendy donated her body to science. She hopes that she can do a small part in curing cancer. She survived metastatic colon cancer longer than anyone. When she was informed that the disease had spread to her lungs, her attending doctors told her she only had a 6% chance of surviving 5 years- that was in 2005. She loved to beat the odds, and squeezed every bit of life out of those extra 6 years. Her ashes were spread in the Sun Valley, Idaho area, a place she absolutely loved and wanted to be a part of for eternity.
Wendy is survived by her husband, Michael; her children; Margarita Gomez of Ramstein, Germany, Michael Gomez of Belfast, Maine, and Mikayla Kolb of Fairfax Station; her granddaughter, Seraphine Dietz of Ramstein; her brother, Todd Kleppinger of Homedale, Idaho; her sisters, Pamm Norris and Debra Nielsen, both of Wilder, Idaho, Terry Serrano of Nampa Idaho, and Robin Frazier of Boise; her brother-in-law Scott Kolb of Boise; and her mother and father-in-law, Patricia and William Kolb, both of Boise. She also said goodbye to dozens of nieces, nephews, and cousins. Family was everything to her.
We celebrated Wendy's life at 2:00 pm on February 4th at Christ Church, 7600 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, Virginia.
Her second service was held at 12:30 pm on June 24th at Ivywild Park Shelter, 416 W. Ivywild St., Boise, Idaho.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Wendy's name to the Fisher House Foundation or another highly rated charity.
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