Kathi Kresol has worked at the Rockford Public Library for years and loves sharing her enthusiasm for reading in any way possible. After working for some time as a Library Branch Manager, Kathi, in 2021 was offered the position of Mobile Library Manager. Kathi loves the new and exciting challenges of bringing Rockford Public Library resources into new and different locations and neighborhoods.
A member of the Rockford Historical Society, Kathi is always digging through Rockford’s past and she gives all the credit for her research skills to local history specialists Jean Lythgoe and Jan Carter of the Rockford Public Library.
Kathi Kresol has been researching the history of Northern Illinois for twenty years. She has published two solo books: “Murder & Mystery in Rockford, Illinois,” (2015); and “Haunted Rockford, Illinois,” (2017). Kathi has also collaborated with other local authors and shared articles in three books featuring compilations of Rockford authors.
Kathi shares the stories she researches in presentations for local organizations and in events sponsored by the Rockford Public Library and her business Haunted Rockford events. The local newspaper, Rock River Times has shared Kathi’s stories for several years. He column “Voices From The Grave” has allowed Kathi to share her passion for history with a larger part of Rockford’s community. She is always honored when someone mentions reading one of her stories.
Kathi’s main goal in sharing her stories, whether they are true crime, ghost stories, or local history, is to honor the lives of the men, women and children who came before. Some of the stories reflect a tragic moment in these people’s lives; but Kathi also tries to show the courage that the survivors displayed as they move forward from what must have been the worst moment in their lives. She also hopes that these stories illuminate the compassion that the folks of Rockford have always displayed for those who are suffering.
Kathi tries to weave history and legend together with personal experiences in sharing ghost stories. Her goal is not to convince anyone to believe in ghosts, but to invite folks to read the stories with an open mind and decide for themselves whether these tales are just interesting legends that have been passed down, or stores of actual ghostly encounters. Maybe it’s as Einstein once said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.”
Kathi started teaching history using ghost stories when she homeschooled her children. Kathi loved the research and the ghost stories so much that she wanted to share them with more people. She found the perfect solution in forming Haunted Rockford Paranormal Tours in 2004. Haunted Rockford has given her the opportunity to work with some great people from all over Illinois and Wisconsin. Kathi feels honored that she can share the stories of the men, women, and children who settled Rockford and created such a rich history.
Besides researching, writing and organizing events, Kathi gives presentations over much of Northern Illinois on aspects of local history. She has been interviewed for several radio stations, local newscasts, and newspapers.
Kathi’s main inspiration comes from her four remarkable children and “the guy who brings her coffee,” John. They all support her by allowing her to drag them to historical places, listening to the stories, helping her “look for the dead guys,” and putting up with her absences when she disappears to research or to write.
Rockford Buzz, “online source of all things Rockford,” published an interview with Kathi Kresol on October 31, 2018 and summarized like this:
“To uncover what makes local organizations tick, you must go back to their founders. Kathi Kresol is Haunted Rockford. She is the heart of the organization, and everything you see comes from her brain and her passion.
“When I got to sit down with Kathi to discuss how Haunted Rockford came to be, she seemed to have an endless supply of stories to tell. Honestly, I could have sat there all day and listened to everything she had to say. The way she tells these stories with respect to the folks who have passed is admirable. They aren’t just things for her to tell and forget, each one stays with her and you can hear it in her delivery that she truly cares. Whether they died of natural causes or were victim to terrible circumstance, it doesn’t change her demeanor. She wants to tell their stories and it allows them to live on.”Rockford Buzz.