Kathleen “Kay” Frances O’Connor, 76, of Overland Park, KS passed away Oct. 10, 2018 at Olathe Hospice House. Visitation will be held 4:00-6:00 pm Wed., Oct. 17, 2018 at Bruce Funeral Home, Gardner, KS (913) 856-7111 with a Rosary at 6:00. Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:00 am Thurs., Oct. 18, 2018 at Divine Mercy Catholic Church, 555 W. Main, Gardner, KS.
Burial follows at Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Olathe, KS. Memorial contributions may be made to Nativity House, 721 N. 31st St., Kansas City, KS 66102. Condolences may be left at www.brucefuneralhome.com
Kay was born Nov. 28, 1941 in Everett, WA to Ernest S. and Dena (Lampers) Wells. She grew up in Alaska where she graduated from Fairbanks High School in 1959. Kay married Arthur J. O’Connor on Sept. 1, 1960 in Fairbanks, AK.
After marriage they moved to New Jersey. Art was in the Air Force so they lived in many places, moving to Kansas in 1983. Kay was a bookkeeper for Lowe North Construction Company, until she found her calling.
At age 52, with little formal education beyond high school, O’Connor plunged into politics, winning a seat in the Kansas State House and later one in the Senate. If her colleagues were expecting a shy, backward housefrau, they were in for a rude shock. From the beginning, Kay proved smart and outspoken—a fact even the media conceded. She retired from the Senate in 2006 after 14 years as a legislator.
Kay then became an elementary teacher at Padre Pio Academy in Shawnee, KS, retiring in 2010. Kay was a member of Divine Mercy Catholic Church in Gardner, KS and an active member of the Republican Party and Pro-life community. She will be dearly missed by family and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Clifford Wells and daughter, Bonnie Kim O’Connor. Kay is survived by her husband, Art, of the home; children: Theresa Sarra, Rolla, MO, Michael (Katherine) O’Connor, CA, Phillip (MaryBeth) O’Connor, Denver, CO, Barbara (Robert) Henry, Lee’s Summit, MO and Shawn (Stephen) Haag, Murphy, TX; sister, Nancy (Dick) Ferner, Katy, TX; eleven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.