Jogger's Parents: “She was Perfect”

The freak accident that took Mary Kathryn "Katie" Ladany from this world happened much too soon for her friends and family. The 23-year old high school algebra teacher was running near Valley Green in Fairmount Park Wednesday night when she was crushed by a falling tree limb. She was wearing an iPod when the accident occurred, leading investigators to believe she didn't hear the 30-foot long limb falling towards the ground.

"It’s such a tragedy and a shock," Katie's father John said via phone Thursday night. "[She] was everything you would want in a child."

Katie moved to Philly from North Jersey after accepting a teaching position at Dobbins Career and Tech High School. Teaching was a passion for the Bucknell University grad, her parents said. "She was a beautiful young woman who was committed to teaching and loved her students," her mother Patty said.

With only one year of experience under her belt at Dobbins, Katie made a huge impression on the students, staff and faculty. "The Dobbins family will completely miss having Ms. Ladany here this coming school year and we truly are reaching out as we share the grief with her family," Dobbins principal Charles Whiting said. The young woman who had "so much potential" will be honored with the addition of her portrait to the school's memorial wall.

Her neighbors at Summit Park Apartments in Roxborough voiced their own disbelief about the loss. "She was just nice to everyone," neighbor Mike Flora said. "She had everything going for her, I can't believe something like that happened." Katie, who was fourth in her class in high school, was also an avid runner.

The former track star was regularly seen exercising after work and was not a stranger to the trail. Police believe the recent wild weather may have weakened the branch that killed her enough to cause it to fall 50-feet to the trail below. It appears she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In the end, Patty and John were able to sum up their daughter, who was so accomplished and so loved by everyone in three words:  "She was perfect."

Funeral services are set for next Tuesday.

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