MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

October 21, 2013

Papilion manager flies into job with enthusiasm

Butterflies and plants at Honor Heights Park’s Papilion have someone new to help care for them.

Katherine Coburn started in September as the Papilion’s operations manager.

She said she’s ready to take on the new position with enthusiasm.

“With this new position, you have a clean palette or slate, just an open book for you to plan things and organize things. To be creative,” Coburn said. “Plus, it’s a lovely place to come to work. Many people don’t know where the place is, or they only came out for its opening. But it’s just beautiful. The garden is full and will be open through the first weekend in November, weather permitting.”

The Papilion, which opened earlier this year, features a butterfly house, a collection of gardens of various types and a lawn where people can gather. Coburn, 59, said she works with an assistant manager and a horticulturist/zoologist, who tends to the butterflies and garden beds.

“I had been newly appointed to the Friends of Honor Heights Park Board, and through them, I knew this position was out there,” she said.

Coburn comes to the new position with ample experience of helping things grow and thrive. The New Jersey native earned a degree in nursing from the University of Tennessee. Around that time, she met Jerry Coburn, a young optometry student.

“The closest school of optometry at the time was in Memphis,” she said. “I lived in an apartment under his.”

After moving to Muskogee, Katherine Coburn spent 30 years as a nurse. She also found time to participate in her children’s schools. She served two years as president of the Education Foundation of Muskogee.

She has two grown sons. A daughter, Mallory Paige Coburn, died of leukemia as a child.

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