She attended the University of Michigan for a semester and art school at Cleveland School of Art. At the age of 16, she met Sergei Guins in the rumble seat of a Ford while visiting a friend at the University of Michigan. Katherine and Sergei were married in 1939. In the late 1950’s, Katherine became aware of the criticality of the civil rights movement. She then dedicated much of her energy to it which led her to the peace and social justice movement. This defined her work for the rest of her life. While living in Baltimore, she was active in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) which led to her involvement with the Black Panther movement. During the Vietnam War, her focus was on the peace movement, but she never lost sight of the great socioeconomic justice movement. After leaving Baltimore, Katherine moved to Okemos, MI when Sergei took a job teaching at Michigan State University. She continued her work with WILPF and started working with the Lansing Area Peace Council (precursor to the Peace Education Center). Katherine and Sergei moved to Brazil for a year, followed by Pueblo, CO. In 1980, they returned to Okemos where they remained. Her activism never ceased. In fact, through the Peace Education Center, Katherine received two lifetime peacemaker achievements!
In addition to her peace work, she was a master gardener. She took charge of the gardens and greenhouse at the Urban Options Energy House (precursor to Michigan Energy Options). She was a supporter of local theatre and other local organizations.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Waldo and Marian Lemmon; her husband of 58 years, Sergei; sister, Miriam (Bill) Tallmadge; daughter-in-law, Ruth Guins; and special friend, Bern Engel. Surviving are 2 daughters, Katherine Guins of Baltimore, MD, Sara Chandler (George Titensor) of Huntington Beach, CA; 3 sons, George Guins (Ann) of Galion, OH, Thomas Guins of Pueblo, CO, and Peter Guins (Ruth Weitzel) of Lansing, MI; 9 grandchildren, Ross Allen Guins (Terry), Stella (Michael) Rinaldi, Nicole (Paul) Guins, Emily (Mark) Cooper, Richard (Natalie) Guins, Genevieve (Michael) Guins, Janey (Will) Wiles, Abigail Guins, and Ben Guins; 6 great-grandchildren, Michelle, Matthew, Madison, Malachi, Lola and Gage; and a vast array of friends and relations.
A memorial gathering will be held Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lansing, 855 Grove St., East Lansing, MI. Please contribute a story or meditation about Katherine to firstname.lastname@example.org. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Katherine’s name to the Peace Education Center, 855 Grove Street, East Lansing, MI 48823.