Nancy Poteet Kaul

Nancy Poteet Kaul of Lawrence, Kansas, peacefully passed away August 19, 2023 at the age of 101 after a life of love and service. She was born November 6, 1921 in Kansas City, Missouri, to Allen and Agnes Thompson Poteet.

Nancy attended The Barstow School, Wellesley College, and the University of Missouri, graduating with honors in English and a minor in art history. She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She then worked as a bi-lingual stenographer in New York City during World War II, at Edward Keith Interiors and later at the KU Medical Center, where she met Dr. Philip Kaul. They married in 1950.

While busy caring for five children and their menagerie of pets, she was also active in her community. She was an enthusiastic docent at the Nelson-Atkins Museum for 37 years in addition to volunteering for PTAs, Scouts, the Wellesley and Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumnae Associations, People to People, and the Junior League. After moving to Lawrence in 1998, Nancy continued volunteering by reading to preschoolers at the Ballard Center for over 10 years. Ballard twice nominated her for United Way’s Volunteer of the Year award.

Family and friends treasured Nancy’s graciousness, upbeat personality and wry sense of humor. She was a master of last-minute entertaining. Actually a bit shy, she worked hard to compensate, going out of her way to make newcomers feel included. There was always room for one more in her house, and she provided sanctuary for many. She was quick to express gratitude and generally non-judgmental, with one exception: She had little patience for people with bigotry and negativity.

Nancy’s “Why not?” attitude enriched many lives, especially those of Phil and her beloved children and grandchildren. She shared Phil’s love of nature and was indeed a “happy camper” over many camping trips in the mountains. While hiking, she shared an encyclopedic knowledge of rocks and plants. She let three preteen daughters travel 850 miles by horseback and covered wagon to Santa Fe. She embraced their many and sometimes exotic pets – snakes, rats, ferrets, guinea pigs, tarantulas, Irish wolfhounds, even racoons and opossums. She hosted international visitors on short notice and loved the performing arts. Following Phil’s death in 1984, Nancy began to explore the world, visiting every continent except Antarctica. A lifelong learner, she took many continuing education courses at UMKC and later at KU. She also indulged her love of gardening and art, painting vibrant watercolors of flowers even into her 90’s when her vision was failing.

In sum, she has been an inspiration for us all.

Nancy is predeceased by her husband, Dr. Philip G. Kaul, and sister, Virginia P. Atwater. She is survived by children Lucy Kaul-Hurst (Stephen Hurst), Nancy Kaul (Norman McCain), Elizabeth “Libby” Kaul Clark (David), Kathe Kaul, and Frank Kaul (Nancy); grandchildren Brian (Meghann), James, Joshua, Philip (Amber), John, Erin, Karen, Jessica, and Rachel; as well as great-grandchildren Theodora and Annie Joy.

The family suggests donations to the Ballard Center ( or Burroughs Audubon Society (

Services for Nancy will take place Tuesday August 29th, 2023, at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 6401 Wornall Terrace, Kansas City, MO 64113. Visitation will be held from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM. Her Funeral will follow at 11:00 AM, at the same location. Following her service will be a burial at Mount Washington Cemetery 614 South Brookside Ave. Independence, MO 64053 at 2:00 PM.


  1. The Childs family, Richard, Donna, Carl, and Mac on August 23, 2023 at 7:58 pm

    We all loved Nancy and appreciate that she graced this world with a long life

  2. William LOVE on August 27, 2023 at 11:43 am

    Kathe, so sorry to hear of your beloved mothers passing. i have learned over the years that there are no words i can say to bring any comfort. Just know i am thinking of you.

  3. Deb Rawlings on August 27, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    My deepest condolences to the family. Nancy was such an amazing woman and so kind. She befriended my mother, Marge, and got us both interested in attending the summer band concerts. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  4. Amy Ziegler on August 28, 2023 at 1:03 am

    Nancy, Libby, Kathe, Frank, your mother was the bandleader, zookeeper and pack mother at the Kaul household. The Ziegler family always looked forward to sharing our family’s’ gatherings. (Remember slide slows of our camping trips in the Kaul living room?) The Kaul household hubbub was legendary at our house (why couldn’t we have pet snakes?) and we loved camping adventures with your family. Our mother, Trudy, adored her good friend, Nancy, and along with Phil and our father, spent many hours together— laughing, talking and sharing a beer or two. I lost touch after our mother died in 1995, but not surprised to learn that Nancy continued to live her life abundantly. Sending love to you all, Amy Ziegler

  5. Nancy Nicolay on August 28, 2023 at 8:48 am

    Your mom was a figure bigger than life in my life. I have so many memories of her, your family, and your house. She will be missed. The world is a better place because she was here.

  6. Tracy Thomas on August 28, 2023 at 10:32 am

    Oh, Kathe–what a terrific obituary of your dear Mom. So glad you included that new tab on your web site, since nobody I know has read the Kansas city STAR in decades. So smart of you to share it this way.

    You painted so many vivid word pictures that made me understand you better, how you have that same fierce exuberance for LIFE! I never heard your story of the covered wagon and 850 mile horseback trip to Santa Fe.

    I note that Bob Barker died this week, as well, and of course folks joked that as the host of The Price is Right, he did not go over his bid of 100 years. He was just under. Whereas your Mom, Nancy, lived every moment to the age of 101. Good for her. Hugs, Kathe. I see the show must go on this week, you very biggest ever estate sale–the day after her funeral. She would be proud of you, dear friend. I hope everyone is gentle with you this special week. You are amazing–Nancy’s daughter.

  7. Virginia Clark on August 31, 2023 at 6:57 am

    What a full and productive life Nancy led ! There are still some of us seniors in the Kansas City Wellesley Club who experienced her vivacious energy. She was Club President 1980-82 and always an enthusiastic supporter of our fund-raising annual Garden Tour. She was much missed when she moved from Fairway to Lawrence. Our condolences to the family. A memorial gift has been made to Wellesley Students’ Aid.

    Virginia Clark ’62

  8. ghulam a niazi on August 31, 2023 at 8:03 pm

    simply loving and graceful she shared her kindness to everyone known or strangers

  9. gio on December 5, 2023 at 9:46 am

    rip cuh on my mama cuh rip cuh im batucuhhhh

Leave a Condolence