OBITUARY

Cathey Jean Kelly

February 23, 1946July 30, 2022
Obituary of Cathey Jean Kelly
Cathey Jean (Smith) Kelly, Nana, Grandma, Mom, Aunt, Wife, Sister, and Teacher passed peacefully on July 30th, 2022 at her home in The Woodlands, Texas. She was 76. Cathey brought deep love, indefatigable passion, and sheer force of will to bear on everyone and everything in her life, personal and professional. Cathey was born in Houston on February 23rd, 1946, to William Raymond Smith and Pauline Evelyn (Cathey) Smith. She grew up idolizing her older siblings, Billy and Wanda as well as competing fiercely with her friends in the neighborhood. A self-described “tom-boy”, she loved going to the beach and helping her engineer father in the garage and outside. Cathey also loved everything about school, and was always determined to teach. She left Houston for Texas Tech, earning a BA in Education. She taught English and History, then attended West Texas State to earn an MA in History. She built a great career at Amarillo High from 1983 until her retirement in 2004. None of her students have forgotten her. She loved teachers and teaching. She built great, lifelong friendships with her teachers and professors, then with her own colleagues and students. She loved visits from former professors and long-grown former students. This is not news, but Cathey was passionate about politics as well. She asked hard questions and was never afraid to engage in debate. She was the young, white teacher who sat on the “black” side of the auditorium in a not-yet desegregating Georgia high school. She was the active parishioner and vestry member who helped two congregations welcome and affirm LGBTQIA+ members as beloved children of God. She loved to spar with friends, family, and her students. And her sparring partners will all confirm that she respected them and their points of view. She loved our country, its history, and its great promise — her political opponents just “weren’t doing a good enough job” of upholding that promise. So she let them have it. Back to passion, Cathey and Rick’s 55 years of marriage kicked off in her first year at Texas Tech, where she met a calm, gentle, tall kid from Amarillo. From there, things went pretty quickly. They still won’t tell us many stories from when they started dating, so as not to make us too uncomfortable. They were married before they finished at Tech and began building a fantastic life together. That Amarillo kid also had a bunch of sisters, a brother, parents, and a growing group of nieces and nephews that she fell in love with as well. With Rick, she raised, loved, and broke up daily fistfights between three sons. Together they set a great example of loving one another, taking care of family, friends, and community, and working as hard as you possibly could at whatever you set out to do. After her retirement, and when their sons had married and started families, Cathey and Rick moved to Fort Worth. There, they enjoyed the city and a fantastic home full of grandkids. It couldn’t have been easy, but they built a whole new place full of energy and love whose creaky floors and beautiful back deck are the backdrop of memories for the next generation of Kellys. Cathey’s faith was a big part of her life and she and Rick found a loving and active home as well as many lifelong friends in the Episcopal Church. They raised their sons at St. Andrew’s in Amarillo, where Cathey was active in numerous church groups, a frequent delegate to diocesan conventions, and a building-committee member when St. Andrew’s rebuilt a beautiful sanctuary. In Fort Worth, her “retirement” also included tireless and fervent work at the St. Luke’s in the Meadow. Later, St. Luke’s community was a huge and happy part of Cathey’s life. Cathey is survived by her husband of 55 years and a month, Rick Kelly, her sister, Wand Patrick, as well as by her sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren: Russell and Emma, their children Eleanor and Matthew; Ryan and Penny, their children Jessica (with husband James, and the great-grandsons Tyson and Miles), Abigail, Savannah, and Tatum; Randal and Bernadette, and their children Madeline, Mia, and Owen; Cathey’s beloved nieces and nephews from both sides of the family, as well as their spouses, children and grand-children. She is reunited with her father and mother, her beloved big brother, her mother-in-law and father-in-law, brothers and sisters-in law, many great friends, and her amazing granddaughter Megan. She’s undoubtedly correcting their politics again as you read this. People are going to remember this woman. Cathey’s family would like to thank a few folks: First, everyone at The Conservatory at Alden Bridge, Cathey and Rick’s home since 2020. Neighbors and staff have become true and appreciated friends. Next, all of the loving family at St. Luke’s in the Meadow in Fort Worth. You’ve been fantastic colleagues and friends in Christ as well as the most trusted caregivers. In lieu of flowers, we bet Cathey would have appreciated it if you did something for your favorite charity, your church, or anything that’ll help kids at a school in your neighborhood. A memorial service for Cathey will be held Monday, August 8, 2022 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM at Cashner Funeral Home, 801 Teas Road, Conroe, Texas 77303. A Reception will be held after the memorial service at 11:30 AM at the Woodlands Resort Conference Center in the Glass Room, 2301 North Millbend Drive The Woodlands, Texas 77380. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.cashnerconroe.com for the Kelly family.

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  • FAMILY

  • Survived by her husband of 55 years and a month, Rick Kelly, her sister, Wand Patrick, as well as by her sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren: Russell and Emma, their children Eleanor and Matthew; Ryan and Penny, their children Jessica (with husband James, and the great-grandsons Tyson and Miles), Abigail, Savannah, and Tatum; Randal and Bernadette, and their children Madeline, Mia, and Owen; Cathey’s beloved nieces and nephews from both sides of the family, as well as their spouses, children and grandchildren.

Past Services

Monday, August 08, 2022

Memorial Service

Monday, August 08, 2022

Reception Following