In honor of National Woman’s History Month, I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to an incredible woman that means so much to the history of Sebastian – Kathleen “Katey” Ball Sebastian.
Katey and her husband, Bill, started Kerman Telephone Co. in 1946, which you now know as Sebastian. The company is still owned today by the Sebastian family, and is currently run by second and third generation family members.
Katey’s quiet spirit, strong work ethic, and the love of the company and community is embodied today in Katey’s Kids, Sebastian’s donor-advised fund within the Fresno Regional Foundation.
Katey’s Kids was started in 2010 by the Sebastian family and its employees to honor the life and legacy of Katey Sebastian. She devoted her life to the improvement of the lives of the children in her community through literacy, education and community development.
To date, the foundation has donated approximately:
- $172,000 to local organizations
- $70,000 in scholarships
- To 50 students
Katey’s Kids is committed to benefiting the children of the communities we serve, and the places in which we live and work.
It encourages good citizenship, better education, and civic improvements through contributions of both time and treasure.
Katey was the second of five children born to Harry and Ruth Ball. Her family lived just two doors down from a boy who was smitten with her from a very early age. Katey was full of spunk, spirit, and the “dickens” as her family would fondly say, and a young Bill Sebastian also took notice. The neighbor boy got his wish- Bill Sebastian and Katey Ball were married in 1939.
When Katey’s two daughters, Ruth (pictured right) and Susan, were older, Katey began teaching English as a Second Language at Kerman Floyd Elementary School. She later served there as a mentor for girls, and was also a board member for Kerman Unified School District. In addition to teaching and co-owning Kerman Telephone Co., Katey had many hobbies and interests. She served on many committees and was active in various clubs in the Kerman community.
Katey’s quiet spirit, strong work ethic, and the love of the company and community is embodied today in Katey’s Kids. At the telephone company that now bears her name, Katey Sebastian’s efforts are sure to endure into the future.