Music 01

Karen 'Kay' Phillips Reese

March 17, 1941 ~ March 21, 2021 (age 80)



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 two 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 early 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 is survived by three siblings, her sisters and brother-in-laws; many nieces and nephews; grand and great grand nieces and nephews; and her two companion felines, P.J. and Tammy.

Memorial services in Shawnee, OK and Grand Haven, MI will be announced at a later date.



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