June 13, 1948 – December 16, 2020
Kathleen Bajo, 72, of Scottsdale, AZ, passed away unexpectedly on December 16, 2020 after suffering a stroke a few days earlier. She died peacefully at Honor Health Scottsdale Osborn Hospital with her loved ones by her side.
Kathleen was born June 13, 1948 in East Chicago, Indiana to Esther (Patai) Bajo and Dr. Joseph M. Bajo. As the oldest of five children, she took her big sister responsibilities to heart, developing the beneficent heart and leadership qualities that later defined both her work and personal lives. Kathleen liked to take care of people and she did it well.
She earned her undergraduate degree from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN and her Master’s degree in Hospital Administration from Ohio State University. During a time in history when women were expected to be homemakers and mothers, Kathleen was forging her own independent path. After working for many years at Ross Laboratories, she left to form a new company with two other partners called Smith Hager Bajo, a consulting firm with expertise in women’s and children’s healthcare services. Their ingenuity and innovative ideas were sought after by more than 1800 hospitals, clinics, and manufacturers worldwide. Around this time, Kathleen’s friend introduced her to Dr. Bill Wiand, who became her soulmate and the love of her life, and they married in April of 2000.
Although Kathleen enjoyed her success as a respected businesswoman, family was always her first priority. She and Bill loved hosting out-of-town family members at their homes in Columbus, OH and Orlando, FL. Kathleen had an eye for beautiful architecture and interior design, and their stylish yet comfortable homes showcased that talent. The colorful fresh flowers she especially loved were ever present and reflective of her appreciation for the beauty of nature as well.
Kathleen’s love of family never wavered. She lavished love, time, and gifts on her many nieces, nephews, and godchildren, never missing a birth, birthday, graduation, wedding, anniversary, or other milestone. She flew hundreds of miles each year to attend parties, ceremonies, and celebrations. Kathleen had a particularly special place in her heart for the children in her life. She spoke to them as her equals and often said, “I have friends who are 72 and friends who are 2.” She would take the children individually on trips to New York, Las Vegas, or Disney World, giving them her undivided attention and making them feel like the most important person in the world. There are many gifts already wrapped and under trees around the country from Aunt Kathleen and Uncle Bill, waiting to be opened on Christmas Day.
Her friends, too, were the fortunate recipients of her time, care, and generosity. Kathleen didn’t just text people. She called. She visited. She spent time with people. She listened and she cared. She helped in any way she could, always setting aside her own needs to meet the needs of others. Her friends all had the same words to describe Kathleen: loving, kind, generous, giving, caring, sweet, bighearted, second mother, mentor, confidante, shining star. Kathleen was a beautiful human being whose soul will continue to shine brightly in the lives of those she loved so well.
Kathleen was predeceased by her mother, Esther Bajo, father, Dr. Joseph Bajo, and brother, Dr. Tom Bajo. Left to cherish her memory are her loving husband Dr. Bill Wiand of Scottsdale, AZ, sister Tessa (Pat) McGann of Granger, IN, brothers Dr. Joe Bajo of Las Vegas, NV and Dr. Jim (Roxanne) Bajo of River Forest, IL, and cousin Jacki Patai of Tucson, AZ. Also remembering her are nieces and nephews Kelly (Nick) Laneman, Shawn (Dr. Maria Romano) McGann, Bridget McGann, Collin (Jessica Hindsley) McGann, Hannah (Tony) Calvis, Alyssa Bajo, Joe Bajo, Jake Bajo, Phil Bajo, and Elliot Bajo, great-nieces and -nephews Macy, Cole, Nathan, Maggie, Matt, Nolan, Ellie, Thomas, Mia, and Dominic, adult foster son Jacob Avery. Kathleen had many special Goddaughters and Godsons including other young people, Carolyn Pema, Patrick and Kathleen McGuire. Her sisterhood of treasured friends will forever be our family.
A private Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Kathleen on Monday Dec. 27th at 1:00pm EST, at St Pius X Catholic Church Granger, IN, Msgr. William Schooler, Pastor, officiating. The church will live-stream the mass at StPius.net and Facebook.com/StPiusGranger Kathleen will be laid to rest in Cedar Grove Cemetery on her beloved campus of the University of Notre Dame.
Memorial donations in Kathleen’s memory may be directed to: Tom Bajo Endowment Fund https://tombajo.org/ or Women’s Care Center https://supportwomenscarecenter.org/ or Donors Choose https://www.donorschoose.org/kathleenbajo. To send your private condolences to the family log on to: www.McGannHay.com.