Kathleen "Kathy" Ann (Wollum) Gilleen was born May 23, 1942 in Brainerd, Minnesota to Robert and Dorothy (Elliason) Wollum. She spent her first years in Red Top and Anoka, Minnesota. The family then moved to Coon Rapids, where Kathy grew up and attended school. She graduated from Anoka High School in 1960.
Kathy raised her two children, Jon and Mary in Ham Lake. She was a homemaker for many years, and later went back to school at Anoka Technical College, graduating with her Associate's Degree in 2000. Following this, she worked for several years as a medical transcriptionist. Kathy was also a guest columnist for the Mille Lacs Messenger for several years. She resided in Coon Rapids from 1998 until her passing on June 16, 2022.