Today, September 24th, 2023, we remembered Katie Moulton, the Highlands Historical Society's founder and first president.
It was a special occasion for all who loved and appreciated her, to gather in the place she was so passionate about and pay our respects.
We send our deepest thanks and condolences to her husband Hugh, children Geoff and Cindy and her grandchildren and great grand children.
Cindy and two grandchildren spoke, as well as the headmaster of Germantown Academy and myself. I will share my speech from today below.
Good afternoon everyone, thank you for coming to Katie Moulton’s celebration of life. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Dana Dorsey and I am the executive director of The Highlands. A title in which would have never been given to me without the stamp of approval from Katie and Hugh, which I am truly grateful for, daily. Shortly after Katie passed, Hugh asked me to speak at her service to which I felt both very honored and completely overwhelmed by, but of course I said yes because, really, who could ever say so no to Hugh Moulton about anything.
Without Katie and her appreciation for history, her passion for open space and her sense of duty to give back to her community, I don’t believe any of us would be right here, in this beautiful historic estate today. She was meant to be its original steward and caregiver. Katie & Hugh raised their family just across the street from this forgotten place and it was Katie who sprung into action to save it way back in the seventies with Hugh always by her side. It took a ton of serious hard work, time and effort to preserve The Highlands which people now fondly call the hidden gem of Fort Washington. This gem would not be so adored today without Katie’s touch.
And it wasn’t all fabulous new years eve parties and late nights dancing with friends to a live band in the veranada. Katie and Hugh, whom I like to think of as the original power couple, never shied away from the real work. Painting, ripping ivy off the mansion walls, raking leaves, and of course forcing Geoff and Cindy to weed in the gardens and dress up in over the top costumes for events.
Katie was constantly thinking about what improvements could be made and how The Highlands should be used. The huge gold leaf mirrors in the parlor and library for instance. Those mirrors were ripped from the walls and sold in at an auction and it was Katie who tracked down the antique dealer in Virginia who made that purchase And brought them back to this home. It is a home. It was an abandoned house and Katie’s love and care made it a home for not only her family to enjoy but for all of our families. I know that Katie understood how grand and important her accomplishments were. Her devotion was undeniable. But, I hope she truly knew what Reach she had through The Highlands. People get married here, they return years later with their children, students visit and learn with their schools here, neighbors walk through with their dogs, people who are having a rough week come to walk the grounds or sit in the garden to find some peace, away from the chaos in the world. And for me, Katie’s efforts quite literally changed my life. The Highlands gave me a purpose at a time in my life when I felt I no longer had a path to walk down. The Highlands gave me a home and provides my sons with a childhood so full of wonderment that I never imagined possible. And for that I will be forever grateful and indebted to Katie.
She and Hugh were kind enough to invite me to a Whitemarsh Foundation event a few years back. I was surprised, but not too surprised, because as I am certain all of you know, the Moulton’s generosity knows no bounds. It was a successful event with a ton of important people in attendance. Katie pointed out some elements of the event to me, the food options, the auction items, even her favorite carrot cake cupcakes which she forced me to try. After showing me all these things, she said, now THIS is what needs to happen next at The Highlands. The pressure was on..instantly.
Katie worked passionately for the success of The Highlands Historical Society that she founded so many years ago, through ..and up until the last days here with us. With Katie’s help, we had the successful gala that she so desired, in June, and I know I speak for all of the HHS members when I say that she was incredibly happy and proud that evening. Her face lit up when we dedicated the Moulton Meadows to her and Hugh, always by her side, supporting her at every step. We all miss Katie. But I hope today, we can all realize and appreciate all the ways we can remember and honor her. The Highlands Historical Society board of trustees and I have never been more inspired to work as hard as Katie did for this estate and we will remember her by pouring effort into the continued preservation here. We can all remember Katie by being generous to our community in some way or speaking kindly, while still voicing your exact opinion. She was appalled that I wanted to hire a DJ for the gala, when clearly live music is the only way to go!
We can walk through the gardens, sit on her bench, volunteer for our next gala, take a stroll through the Moulton Meadows or even remember her when visiting the bathroom at the Ambler Movie Theater. I will remember Katie by thinking about the day I sat with her and Hugh in the parlor for hours, looking at old photos and listening to their stories about the projects they worked on together here and all the people they worked alongside. Both of their faces were glowing, their smiles were infectious and the sound of their laughter while reminiscing was the sweetest sound.
Katie would be so humbled to see this huge group of people, gathering in the place that she loved so dearly, remembering and honoring her all together. Thank you all so much for being a part of the celebration of her inspirational life today. - Dana Dorsey