Kathy Jean Kavanaugh

Kathy Jean Kavanaugh, a beloved daughter, mother, and friend, passed away at the young age of 63 on December 29th, 2023, after a courageous year-long battle with cancer. She was born to parents Marcia and Frank on November 12th, 1960, and grew up in Mission Hills, Kansas. Much of her childhood and early adult life was spent surrounded by her parents and grandparents learning about architecture, art, traveling, and gardening. Kathy graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School in 1978. After high school, she worked full-time and embarked on a career as a corporate and leisure travel agent at firms including Black & Veatch, American Express, and Donacyn Travel. In 1988, Kathy graduated from Avila University with a BA in Sociology, emphasizing her passion for understanding the world around her.

Her journey of motherhood began in 1991 when she and her first husband Marc welcomed their daughter Maret into the world. This precious mother-daughter bond would bring immense happiness and purpose to Kathy’s life. In 1995 Kathy embarked on a new chapter in Point Clear, Alabama with her second husband Nicky. In 1998 their son Sterling was born and with two children Kathy found her true calling as a dedicated mother pouring her love and care into her family. As a transplant from Kansas she embraced the southern culture making many lifelong friends.

Returning to the Kansas City area in the summer of 2016, Kathy settled in Prairie Village, Kansas with her 3 dogs where she continued to touch the lives of those around her. Her multifaceted personality and wide-ranging interests led her to form meaningful connections with people from all walks of life. Kathy had a heart of gold, always willing to lend a helping hand, and her dedication to others shone brightly during her time as a patient advocate at Wyandot Behavioral Health.

Kathy had a rich and vibrant life, filled with diverse interests. Throughout her life, she loved traveling with her family and friends and meeting new people. She was an ardent supporter of visual and performing arts, a passionate gardener, a connoisseur of good food, and always dressed to impress. Her sense of humor was infectious, and her zest for life was boundless. Kathy also had an innate compassion for animals, embodying kindness and empathy in all aspects of her life.

Kathy’s legacy is one of love and compassion with enduring bonds forged with family and friends. Her memory will forever remain in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to know her. Kathy is survived by her loyal dog Lucky, children Maret Katherine Miller, George Sterling Clay, mother Marcia Tharnish (Albert), father Frank Kavanaugh (Carolyn), sisters Kindra York (Kavanaugh), Kory Irwin (Kavanaugh) uncle Ralph Myers Jr., (Dana), aunt Susan Kavanaugh (Dennis), Maret’s father Marc Miller, stepfather John Graham and many beloved family and friends. She is preceded in death by grandparents Ralph Myers Sr. (Sherri), Jean Ottesen (Robert), Emmy Lou Kavanaugh, great-grandparents Conrad and Agnes Riffer, Claude and Lillian Myers, uncles Gordon Myers II and Dennis Kavanaugh (Susan), Sterling’s father Donald “Nicky” Clay and many cherished friends and pets.

A celebration of Kathy’s life will be held on March 21st, 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the 1900 building, located at 1900 Shawnee Mission Pkwy, Mission Woods, KS 66205, following a private interment at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery.


  1. Brooke Schnurr on February 1, 2024 at 4:53 pm

    I knew even as a young girl what a magnetic, passionate and powerful force Kathy was in the world! Im so sorry for your loss and the hole that remains with Kathy’s absence. I pray the wonderful memories can provide you comfort and eventually peace. Much love to you all.

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