November 10, 1940 – April 24, 2019
Jennifer D. Liebnitz, 78, passed away peacefully Apr. 24, 2019, surrounded by her family.
She was born Jennifer Dee McGonigle on Nov. 10, 1940, in Attica, KS, to Glen McGonigle and Josephine Shirar McGonigle. She attended elementary school in Council Grove and graduated from Junction City High School. Jennifer attended the University of Kansas her Freshman year before transferring to the University of Freiburg, Germany, where she studied harp at the conservatory and foreign language. She returned to the University of Kansas where she earned a Masters in Germanic Languages.
Jennifer was a professional harpist and a member of the Mu Phi Epsilon professional music fraternity and the local musicians union. In addition to playing professionally, Jennifer passed on her love of music to the countless number of students she taught, many of whom have gone on to play professionally around the world. She served as Secretary and Membership Chairman of the American Harp Society and president of the local Lyra Chapter.
Jennifer was a gifted teacher of German and Russian Language and Literature at UMKC and Rockhurst University and retired from Rockhurst as Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
She was preceded in death by a son, Karl Liebnitz, her parents, Glen and Josephine, and a brother, Dennis McGonigle. She is survived by her husband of 58 years, Paul Liebnitz, four children, Phil Liebnitz (Jolee), John Liebnitz (Kassandra), David Liebnitz (Elle) and Katy (Liebnitz) Weber (Glen), and 8 grandchildren.
Those who knew Jennifer best will always remember her passion for learning and teaching, her adventurous spirit and the selfless way she lived life, always putting family and others before herself. Cheerful in all weathers, Jennifer handled every adversity she faced with grace and courage including her lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease. Words can’t describe the impact Jennifer made on the lives of so many.
Visitation will be held 10:00 am on Mon, April 29 at St Francis Xavier Church, 52nd & Troost KCMO, followed by Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am. Burial to follow in Mt. Olivet Cemetery. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations for scholarship be made to Rockhurst University, 1100 Rockhurst Road, KCMO, 64110. Attn: Bebe Harrington.
- Visitation Monday, April 29, 2019
- Mass of Christian Burial Monday, April 29, 2019
April 30, 2019
My first German teacher at Kansas City Junior college. Fondly remembered, Never forgotten!
April 30, 2019
Once our neighbor down the block, and a very nice woman. I loved her harp playing and she seemed to have a smile for everyone. She will be missed. My condolences to her family.
April 29, 2019
When I decided to begin studying harp at age 50, I was so fortunate to find a wonderful teacher right in my neighborhood. Jennifer was the kindest, most patient and encouraging music teacher I think I have ever had, and always generous with her time. Even while I was still very much a beginner, she invited me to play in her newly re-formed ensemble, Harps Accord, which led me into many performing experiences I might never have had otherwise. What a privilege to have known her, to have studied and performed with her, and to get a glimpse of how many lives she has touched.
April 28, 2019
Dear Paul: I'm your old friend from Rockhurst days. So sorry to learn of Jennifer's death. She, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Upon learning of Jennifer's death, I was planning on attending the funeral service in the morning and being able to offer condolences personally but some health issues prevented my doing that. So sorry! With prayerful best wishes, I remain your friend, John Murry
April 28, 2019
Jennifer was the first friend I made when Phil Barker and I moved to Kansas City. As the wife of the department head, she made a very frightened new faculty wife feel confident and secure. Her kindness continued all the time I was connected to UMKC. Her example has helped to shape my life. Just knowing that she was available was a comfort.
April 27, 2019
I remember Jennifer as a colleague and a friend. She treated students with unfailing warmth and patience, and also had a clear eye for the best ways to accomplish what needed to be done. I trusted her and treasured our friendship. She offered me and my children the use of the cabin in Lake George during a very difficult time, which was a healing experience for us. She and I could talk about anything. Her family was the center of her life, and I know that she wants you to remember her with joy.
April 26, 2019
I always loved hearing Jennifer play her harp. She was a wonderful person. I will keep the family in my prayers.