Karen "Kay" Phillips Reese
Karen "Kay" Phillips Reese was a kind, gentle and generous soul who, even though she had just passed beyond her 80th St. Patrick's Day, left us all too soon and wishing for more time.
She was born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the first of an eventual five siblings. Growing up in Shawnee Oklahoma, she was involved in ballet, dance and music. After High School she attended the University of Oklahoma for 2 years before her marriage to George F Reese III in 1961. She completed her music education degree at Oklahoma State University
A few years later the couple moved to the Grand Rapids Michigan area wishing to live in a snow country region. They both became avid skiers.
George was an electrical engineer at Lear Siegler working on early navigational systems and other fascinating projects. Kay taught elementary music in the Wyoming Michigan School system. Their lives were rich with many friends and activities. Kay became a long time member of Fountain Street Church and sang in the choir which was renowned for cutting edge performances. George's extracurricular activities included photography, amateur film making, little theater and bagpipes. They both marched in a bagpipe band. Vacations were often built around motorcycle trail rides or trips in a "club" plane; each having a pilot's license.
Kay lost George in 1986 to Cancer.
Later her life became focused more and more on Taiji quan. Her teacher, mentor and eventual traveling companion was Don Klein. For several years they spent months at a time in Taiwan learning from a master in the art. Back home in Michigan they taught Taiji, Kay at 4 Points in Grand Haven.
After retirement Kay spent more time in Grand Haven finally selling the home in Wyoming MI. She and Don became more involved with C3, an Inclusive Spiritual Organization in Grand Haven. This became their spiritual home with many wonderful friendships.
Tango was added to their activities and again months were spent in special classes, this time in Buenos Aires.
She and Don both volunteered at Cat Tales, a no kill shelter in the area and adopted several lucky felines.
Kay lost Don in 2013 to acute pulmonary illness.
Since that time she has spent more time with family back in Oklahoma. Covid-19 limited travel keeping her in Oklahoma over this last year or so.
Multiple long term health problems finally overcame her on March 21st and left us, her family and friends, with a sudden void.
Kay lost her brother Lee in January 2021. Kay is survived by Lee's children and her 3 remaining siblings; a brother Mark Phillips, his wife Peggy and their children, grands and great grands; a brother Robbin Phillips, his wife and children; a sister Sally Phillips Gettys her daughters and grand children; sister-in-law, Nancy Reese Barrett, her sons Jack and Josh; brother-in-law, John Reese, his wife Sandy and his sons John T Reese and Dan Reese; Don Klein's sons Jeff and Joseph Klein; Don's sister Carol Klein and Kay's 2 companion cats P.J. and Tammy.
A Memorial service will be held in Shawnee, OK at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Saturday May 1, 2021 at 2PM with a reception to follow at the Pottawatomie County Museum. A Memorial service will be held at a later date, in Grand Haven MI .
In lieu of flowers, donations could be made in her name to Emmanuel Episcopal Church Building Fund, the Pottawatomie County Historical Society or the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Published on April 25, 2021