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Kate Anne Arroyo

May 12, 1979 ~ March 10, 2018 (age 38)

Kate Anne Arroyo, 38 years old, was born on May 12, 1979 to loving parents Pete and Marian Arroyo, and passed away on March 10, 2018. She is survived by her mother Marian Arroyo, sister Lilly Harris, brother-in-law Jason Harris, niece Isabel, and nephew Benjamin.

A little after turning a year old, Katie and her family moved to Ft. Lauderdale, FL and eventually to the suburb of Plantation, FL. Katie and her family enjoyed spending time together, traveling and having fun. During her school years, Katie was a Girl Scout, played soccer, ran cross country, played violin, and enjoyed creating many types of art. She worked at Chick-fil-A with her sister and learned the importance of team work and good customer service. In 1995, Katie, Lilly, and Marian traveled to Washington D.C. for a 25th reunion of Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Turkey (Marian had been a Peace Corps Volunteer there). During that trip, Katie decided that she wanted to study abroad. In her junior year of high school, she became a foreign exchange student to Chile. It was a wonderful experience as she made lifelong friends, developed an interest in international travel, and became fluent in Spanish.

Katie earned her Bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of South Florida. During college, she was able to travel to Cuba, Iceland, the Netherlands, and make a return visit to Chile. Later she moved to Oklahoma and earned a Master’s degree in International Studies with an emphasis in international trade and development from Oklahoma State University. While living in Oklahoma and working on her degree, she also worked at DISH network full-time and eventually had a management position. She completed a three-week internship to Sierra Leone, while working on this degree. This became a life changing experience for Katie, which led her to set up a small business called Gondwana. She sold goods from Africa and the profits were used to buy water filtration systems for Sierra Leone and to pay for immunization and other costs for future OSU intern students going to Sierra Leone to study.

After earning her Master’s degree, Katie worked for the SBDC (Small Business Development Corporation) in Stillwater at Oklahoma State University. This was a wonderful experience for her as she worked with clients and made many dear friends. She then realized her dream of moving back to FL and got a job as an international trade specialist for the SBDC at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. She excelled in her career, served on various local boards and committees, including the board of NASBITE, her professional organization. She mentored other trade specialists, won various awards, and was admired by many for her work ethic.

Katie was a dynamic person. In addition to the countries mentioned, she also traveled to Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico. She loved music, art, traveling, making jewelry and people. She was a wonderful friend to many and loved spending time with her family. She had a beautiful soul, and was loving, kind, and genuine. Katie was loved by all and will be missed greatly.

A gathering of family and friends will begin at 10 a.m., followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m., on Saturday, March 24, 2018, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 4450 Harden Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33813. A luncheon will be held immediately following the service at St. Paul Lutheran Church.

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