Kay Ellen Evans

January 23, 1941March 8, 2023
Obituary of Kay Ellen Evans
Oh, what an amazing life she led. Rich in friendships and embroidered with many magical experiences, many would say Kay’s life was charmed, but it was Kay who charmed. Born in Michigan into a family with deep roots on her mother’s side and an immigrant Scotsman, Kay’s early years and fondest memories revolve around the generations-old farm and its place in history as a stop on the underground railroad. The family farm was rich with history and heritage and likely developed her lifelong love of both in her later profession as an interior designer and architect of the Decorative Arts and Study tours. When Kay was in her early teens, the family packed all their belongings and boarded a train to Mexico City, where Kay would spend her formative years attending the American School. She spent her free time exploring the vast city, and enjoying time in Acapulco, where she was an accomplished water skier. It was there that she met and skied with John Gavin and Rock Hudson before they were household names. She loved everything about her time in Mexico and maintained many of the friendships she made there throughout her life. She returned to the states for college, married and had three children, adding another as a teen to her family, all while running her own design business in Newport Beach, California. It was an idyllic setting in which to raise a family and she always delighted her friends with stories of carpooling with John Wayne and other celebrities of the day. For more than 35 years, she called Newport Beach home, but her desire to live in San Francisco was strong and it pulled her to the city twice. After her divorce, she settled in Nob Hill to start another interesting life chapter. Passionate about design and architecture, she began organizing trips to Europe and her beloved Mexico City to explore art and architecture. Word spread and the trips became very popular among fellow designers and their clients, and all became cherished friends. Kay returned briefly to Southern California where she was a founder of the La Cienega Design Quarter and president of the Architectural Design Association. Through a myriad of activities and associations, it always appeared as though Kay had some connection to everyone, everywhere. And she was so gracious about connecting people in her world because she truly loved them all. And it was mutual. Kay worked until the very end, leveraging her years of experience to take on challenges that took passion and stamina – of which she was made. In 2019, she served as the Director of her favorite annual event, the San Francisco Fall Antique Show. And for the past three years, she served as the VP of Marketing for the International Architecture and Design School at the Academy of Art University. Words cannot express how much our dear Kay will be missed by her loving family, sons Stephen (Colleen), Ian (Julie) and daughters Amy and Gabrielle, her six adored grandchildren, and multitude of friends. Her warmth, unending energy and enthusiasm for life were unequalled. Kay left this world as she lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace, surrounded by family and friends. She is now dancing in the stars!

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