Katches, 29, remembered as a giving man who always spoke the truth
“Jimmy” Katches has lost his battle to what his family says was Lyme disease.
Jeremiah James Katches, born June 9, 1983 in Sacramento, died Feb. 15, 2013 in Colfax. He leaves behind his wife, Kristi, two young daughters and a large, extended family and many friends who mourned his loss at a memorial service held March 2 at the at Foothill Christian Fellowship in Meadow Vista.
The former soldier told the Colfax Record in 2010 that he believed he contracted the disease in 2004 during U.S. Army basic training in Missouri. After a day in the field doing simulated combat, Katches found three ticks on his body. He pulled them off, but a week later found a bulls-eye rash on his forearm. When the flu-like symptoms that followed didn’t clear up, Katches was given a medical discharge. In Colfax, he tested positive for Lyme disease and in October 2005 began seeing a specialist. The Veterans Administration declared him disabled in 2008.
Although they offered health care, the VA never acknowledged nor treated him for Lyme disease, Katches said.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention attributes most human cases of Lyme disease to the immature form of blacklegged deer ticks carrying the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. According to the Mayo Clinic web site, Lyme disease can easily be treated with antibiotics in its early stages, but if left untreated can cause chronic Lyme disease, which can affect the brain, nervous system, muscle, joints, heart, circulation, digestion, reproductive system and skin.
Kristi Katches said the disease is misunderstood. “The medical community doesn’t take Lyme disease seriously,” she said. “They don’t believe it’s a chronic illness that can do much damage to your body.”
Toward the end, Katches said, her husband suffered from extreme pain, lots of vomiting, no appetite, and insomnia. “It was hard to get up and have purpose in his day when he was so sick and hurting,” she said.
His death, she said, wasn’t expected. “He’d get bad, then better, then bad again. I thought he was going to get better, but he didn’t.”
Her husband, Katches said, never wanted his identity to be about Lyme disease, but “It was a huge part of his life. After learning about how controversial and correct the medical community is concerning this disease, we went to bat at bringing awareness to not only our families but to the local community.”
She said Lyme disease was “something that Jimmy wanted to conquer and I will continue on in striving to help and battle the misunderstanding this disease has in the medical community.”
Joseph Katches, one of Jimmy’s brother, said while his family lived in Auburn for several years, they mainly grew up in Colfax.
His brother, he said, was “Fearless of people – he wasn’t afraid to say what he thought about something. He would speak the truth and he would speak it in love.” He was also generous.
“He was always giving his stuff away. He gave me this special coin that he had, I think from 4th grade. … I still have it with me. … I don’t even know where he got it,” Joseph Katches said.
But the thing his brother was best known for, Katches said, was “his love for Jesus Christ and his love for his wife and daughters.”
Luke Pierceall said he and Jimmy Katches had been friends since they met in the third grade at Colfax Elementary and through Colfax High School. They recently reconnected and grew close again.
Pierceall said Katches was always in pain and since it was hard for him to get out of the house, he would visit his friend at home. They would “talk about life and God. God really affected his life and my life the last year. That’s the main thing we talked about and how much he loved his family. I love him like he’s my brother; I love his family,” Pierceall said. “I’m going to miss him until I see him again.”
Her husband, said Kristi Katches, wants people to know he “loved the Lord, his wife and kids and all his family and friends.”
Jimmy Katches kept many journals, and four years ago expressed his strong faith when he wrote: “If it is my time to go, then that’s OK, too. Because I know God will do exactly what is supposed to happen to me.”
Those wishing to make a donation to help Katches’ wife and daughters – Kayley, who turns 10 this month, and 5-year-old Kameron – can made donations to the Jeremiah James Katches Family Memorial Fund at any US Bank.