Katharine’s friend and physician, Greenmount communist Dr Alexander Jolly, was summoned to her house when she had a stroke late on 2 October 1969. He couldn’t save her and she died not long before her son, Ric, arrived from the airport for a visit. If she had any last words, it was Jolly who heard them.
Katharine used to credit Jolly with keeping her alive through her seventies and eighties when she had been expected to die from her bad heart and high blood pressure.
At the pivotal 1949 federal election, Jolly stood as the Communist Party candidate for the seat of Swan. Although he was a Midland councillor, the council forbade him as a communist candidate from hiring the town hall. So he held the rally outside his house on the Great Eastern Highway. Anti-communist protestors came to disrupt the meeting, singing ‘Waltzing Matilda’ in unison as loudly as they could. Katharine was the celebrity guest, declaring ‘In this most critical period of Australian history, is up to all of us to use our courage and common sense to fight the gang of millionaires, warmongers, unscrupulous politicians, and their henchmen.’