Kay J. McKAY
Kay J. McKAY
  • June 9, 1943 - April 27, 2017
  • Phoenix, Arizona

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Kay J. McKay, a beautiful and vibrant woman, passed away peacefully on April 27, 2017. She led a life full of love, laughter, family and professional achievement. Kay left her children and those who knew her a template for a life well lived. Kay was born in Plentywood, Montana in 1943, the daughter of Gibson and Helen Zeidler, and came to Arizona at the age of six, where she found great success in every aspect of life. She attended Northern Arizona University and was later awarded an honorary doctorate. Kay lived in Flagstaff, where she became and remained, a leader and a true citizen of her community, city and state in the best sense of that word.

In 1964 she married David McKay, a committed father, educator and the love of her life. They celebrated over 46 years of marriage. Together they raised two sons, Gibson, of Phoenix, and Paul, of Washington, D.C. In addition to Gibson and Paul, Kay leaves behind Gib's wife Becky and their three children, Jack, Sam and Charlie, and Paul's wife Heather and their two boys, Finn and Zach. David preceded Kay in death in 2011. She also leaves behind two sisters, Beverly and Diane, sister in law, Elsa, and was preceded in death by her eldest sister, Cheryl. In addition, Kay leaves a large extended and loving family of nieces, nephews and their children.

In addition to making a home and raising two children with David, Kay had numerous professional achievements, standing as testament to her indefatigable nature, eternal optimism and commitment to making her community better.

Her professional career spanned five decades, 35 years of which she served as Executive Director of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Northern Arizona. She functioned as the mediator for the Coconino County Superior Court, and was an adjunct instructor for Northern Arizona University. Kay also sat on the corporate Boards of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and Wells Fargo Arizona.

Kay was appointed by four different Arizona Governors, serving our state and communities on numerous boards and commissions, including the Arizona's Board of Regents where she served as the Board's President in 2002. Kay was Chair to the Supreme Court/Appellate Court selection committee. She served on many local boards on issues she cared deeply about, including the Flagstaff Medical Center, Northern Arizona Health Care, Inc. and as a founding member of Coconino County Literacy Volunteers.

She was recognized as Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America's Executive Director of the Year, the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce's Business Woman of the Year, and the Arizona Daily Sun's Citizen of the Year.

In 2004, Northern Arizona University named its newest residence hall "McKay Village" in recognition of her extraordinary service to higher learning in Arizona.

Beyond her formal accomplishments, however, she enriched and improved the lives of countless people, particularly those who knew her best and loved her most. She treated all with respect and had a wicked and unfailing sense of humor. She had the honesty and strength of character that allowed her to laugh hardest at herself. She was protective but fearless. She taught her boys to be honest with themselves and others, to have the wisdom to recognize life's many blessings and above all, to pay it forward.

Her family and all whose lives she touched and made better loved her and will truly miss her honesty, strength, humor and love.

Please join her family and friends in celebrating the life of Kay McKay on Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 11:00 AM. Services will be held at Phoenix College's Bulpitt Auditorium at 1202 West Thomas (map).