OBITUARY

Kay Ann Villa-Garcia

May 9, 1946January 1, 2019

Kay Ann Villa-Garcia, age 72, passed away on January 1, 2019, surrounded by beloved family members. She was born in Bluffton, Indiana on May 9, 1946. Her parents were James W. Murray and Mary Elizabeth (Tonner) Murray.

Kay’s love of travel and of other cultures began in 1959, when her family lived in Venezuela for three years. She graduated from Ball State University with a teaching degree and spent her junior year in Spain. Upon graduation, she expanded her love of adventure as a young woman living in Spain for several years, in Germany for two years, and went on a Rotary Scholarship to Peru, where she met her beloved husband, Leo.

Kay was passionate about learning and spent her entire career of 51 years as an educator at the middle school through college level teaching Spanish, English and German. She earned her doctorate in Spanish Literature from Indiana University. She taught at Norwell High School, Bloomington North High School, Indiana University, William and Mary College, Elon College, Duke University and NC State University. She was instrumental in starting the study abroad programs for NC State to Peru and Spain.

She was a gourmet cook, who enjoyed expressing her love of friends and family through dishes and deserts that were memorable to all, including making the wedding cake for her youngest sister. She was a lover of all things beautiful including flowers and gardening, sunsets, art, poetry, opera and classical music. She was a woman of great joy and enthusiasm for life. She gave 100 percent to her students and was an inspiration to countless people whose lives were changed by her love for them and for teaching.

She flawlessly became part of Leo’s very large family and hosted most of her nieces and nephews at some point for sometimes months at a time. Becoming a mother was one of her greatest joys and she loved her daughter with abandon, even taking her as an infant on a European trip in which she hosted her mother a niece and nephew on a grand adventure. She did not seem to have a judgmental bone in her body, always met everyone, no matter the color or culture, with respect, enthusiasm and curiosity. She was known for her generosity and her laughter. She was a strong woman who did not let anything get her down or interfere with her drive to live life to the fullest. She made a huge impression on everyone she met and she had life long friends in a number of different countries.

She is survived by her husband of 45 years, Leonardo Villa-Garcia; daughter, Isabel Villa-Garcia; sister, Judy Anderson of Ft. Wayne, IN; sister, Cathy Grigsby of Bridgton, ME; and brother, Ted Murray; as well as 24 nieces and nephews and 5 in-laws. They will all remember her by the large smile with which she greeted everyone she met.

A memorial service will take place on Saturday, January 12th at 2pm, Withers Hall Auditorium - Room 232, at NC State University.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to WCPE, www.theclassicalstation.org (please mention your donation is in memory of Kay)

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's St., Raleigh, NC.

  • FAMILY

  • She is survived by her husband of 45 years, Leonardo Villa-Garcia; daughter, Isabel Villa-Garcia; sister, Judy Anderson of Ft. Wayne, IN; sister, Cathy Grigsby of Bridgton, ME; and brother, Ted Murray; as well as 24 nieces and nephews and 5 in-laws.
  • DONATIONS

  • WCPE, www.theclassicalstation.org

Services

  • Memorial Service Saturday, January 12, 2019
REMEMBERING

Kay Ann Villa-Garcia

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Phyllis Speicher

January 12, 2019

I remember her at our family reunions. Many of us were about the same age and came with our parents and grandparents to the reunion. I think of Kay more as a first cousin because our families were often together. I met Leonardo and her daughter, Isabel at family events. She had a wonderful family and life. I will miss her.

Linda Nowling

January 6, 2019

I will always remember how kind and helpful Kay was to me when I was a new French teacher at Bloomington High School South in 1979. The last time I saw her, we were celebrating the completion of her PhD, yet we remained in contact through the years by Christmas cards and later by Facebook. She was a delightful person and I’m glad that I knew her.

Lea Rutter

January 6, 2019

My husband and I, along with Kay's cousin Barbara Cooley, enjoyed touring the Museo de Arte in Cusco during the Study Abroad in Summer 2017. She and Leo were so knowledgeable about all things Peruvian including history, culture, and politics. Kay was a great calming, guiding force for the group and made every student feel cared for. I've attached a photo of one of the native modern art pieces that particularly touched me. I miss her already.

Richard Ritz

January 6, 2019

We remember Kay with great fondness and respect. We can say nothing more than what was included in her obituary which was the total reflection of everything we saw in her. Her devotion to teaching and others leaves an everlasting legacy.

Richard Ritz, former Department Chair of Foreign Language, and my colleagues from Bloomington North High School.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

Kay Ann Villa-Garcia, age 72, passed away on January 1, 2019, surrounded by beloved family members. She was born in Bluffton, Indiana on May 9, 1946. Her parents were James W. Murray and Mary Elizabeth (Tonner) Murray.

Kay’s love of travel and of other cultures began in 1959, when her family lived in Venezuela for three years. She graduated from Ball State University with a teaching degree and spent her junior year in Spain. Upon graduation, she expanded her love of adventure as a young woman living in Spain for several years, in Germany for two years, and went on a Rotary Scholarship to Peru, where she met her beloved husband, Leo.

Kay was passionate about learning and spent her entire career of 51 years as an educator at the middle school through college level teaching Spanish, English and German. She earned her doctorate in Spanish Literature from Indiana University. She taught at Norwell High School, Bloomington North High School, Indiana University, William and Mary College, Elon College, Duke University and NC State University. She was instrumental in starting the study abroad programs for NC State to Peru and Spain.

She was a gourmet cook, who enjoyed expressing her love of friends and family through dishes and deserts that were memorable to all, including making the wedding cake for her youngest sister. She was a lover of all things beautiful including flowers and gardening, sunsets, art, poetry, opera and classical music. She was a woman of great joy and enthusiasm for life. She gave 100 percent to her students and was an inspiration to countless people whose lives were changed by her love for them and for teaching.

She flawlessly became part of Leo’s very large family and hosted most of her nieces and nephews at some point for sometimes months at a time. Becoming a mother was one of her greatest joys and she loved her daughter with abandon, even taking her as an infant on a European trip in which she hosted her mother a niece and nephew on a grand adventure. She did not seem to have a judgmental bone in her body, always met everyone, no matter the color or culture, with respect, enthusiasm and curiosity. She was known for her generosity and her laughter. She was a strong woman who did not let anything get her down or interfere with her drive to live life to the fullest. She made a huge impression on everyone she met and she had life long friends in a number of different countries.

She is survived by her husband of 45 years, Leonardo Villa-Garcia; daughter, Isabel Villa-Garcia; sister, Judy Anderson of Ft. Wayne, IN; sister, Cathy Grigsby of Bridgton, ME; and brother, Ted Murray; as well as 24 nieces and nephews and 5 in-laws. They will all remember her by the large smile with which she greeted everyone she met.

A memorial service will take place on Saturday, January 12th at 2pm, Withers Hall Auditorium - Room 232, at NC State University.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to WCPE, www.theclassicalstation.org (please mention your donation is in memory of Kay)

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's St., Raleigh, NC.