Date of Death: 08-02-2022
Interred: Ridgely Cemetery
Funeral Service : 10-08-2022
Kathy June French, 74, of Smithville, Mo. passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by her loving family on August 2, 2022. She had fought a difficult 15-month battle with ovarian cancer.
Kathy was born October 20, 1947 in Excelsior Springs, Missouri to Marvin Sudbury and Norma Mae (Razer) Sudbury. She is predeceased by her parents, her two sisters and brothers-in-law, Marty (Larry) Driver, Edith (Sydney) Parks, and a nephew Richard D. Parks, all of Smithville.
Kathy is survived by her husband of 53 years, Philip French of the home, a daughter Jonica (John) Merritt of Smithville and a son Lucas (Lisa) French of San Francisco, CA. She is also survived by two granddaughters, Kayla Lincoln and Charley Lincoln and a grandson Carson Merritt, all of Smithville. Kathy is survived by brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Denney (Shirley) French and Johnny (Sharon) French. Kathy is survived by two exchange students, both from Finland, a boy, Miikka Mattila, and a girl, Lumimaaria Ojala. She is survived by several cousins, many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
Kathy graduated from Smithville High School in 1965 and then graduated from cosmetology school to become a hairdresser. She operated her own beauty salon in Smithville until 2001.Kathy and Phil were high school sweethearts and married 4 years after graduation on January 31st, 1969. They lived in Columbia, Missouri while Phil finished his last three semesters at the University of Missouri. Upon graduation they moved to Kansas City North.
Their daughter, Jonica, was born in 1973 and their son Lucas was born in 1977. Shortly after Luke's birth the family moved to Smithville so they could raise their children near other family members.
Kathy was an active member of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Smithville, MO. She was also active in the Smithville community. Kathy enjoyed the flexibility of being self-employed so that she could participate with the kids in many of their activities. Kathy was a leader in scouts, church youth activities, 4-H, PTA, etc. She was a member of the social sorority, Beta Sigma Phi.
Kathy and Phil were host parents to two exchange students, both from Finland, a boy, Miikka Mattila, and a girl, Lumimaaria Ojala. Some of the highlights were family snow skiing trips to Colorado and Montana. Kathy and Phil traveled to Finland to visit and have maintained a close relationship with the Mattila and Ojala families.
As Jonica and Luke went on their own, Kathy became interested in environmental issues and worked on committees to get curbside recycling in Smithville. She also worked as a volunteer on hazardous waste collection days. When granddaughters Kayla and Charley came along, Kathy enjoyed sharing in the activities that they enjoyed such as church camp, school color guard and chicken farming.
Kathy had an infectious laugh. Many people have said that she could light up a room with her smile and her laughter.
Kathy also loved cars. Her favorites were the 1966 Mustang GT that she bought new, a Camaro convertible, a Toyota Supra and the 5 Corvettes that she and Phil owned from 1970 to present. Kathy and Phil joined the Kansas City Corvette Association in 2002 and Kathy became the KCCA Membership Chairman. She loved to welcome new club members. Kathy and Phil enjoyed road trips with fellow club members in their Corvettes. Their road trips were from one day up to two weeks covering several thousand miles.
Kathy and Phil traveled to Europe several times, to Scandinavia, to the Mediterranean, Canada, Hawaii, Mexico and Panama. One of Kathy’s favorite trips was traveling with five other women to South Africa. But her all time favorite trip was when she and Phil took granddaughters Kayla (then 16) and Charley (then 12) to England and France in 2016! During the last 22 years, Kathy and Phil have made 16 trips to California to visit their son, Luke and his wife Lisa.
In addition to cars and travel, Kathy’s hobbies included family boating, ceramics, and basket weaving. Kathy attended basket seminars and taught many weaving classes herself. She wove baskets of many different styles and sizes and made them of various materials including reed, oak, and willow. Kathy enjoyed being a member of a social and philanthropic group of women called "The Twisted Sisters".
Kathy loved her family more than anything and was so proud of each one of them. Her family is comforted knowing that she is safe and at peace in the arms of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
There will be a joyous “Celebration of Life” at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Smithville on Saturday, October 8, 2022 from 2 PM to 3:30 PM. A live stream is being planned. The celebration will be followed by a coffee, punch, chocolate and snack reception provided by the Christian Women’s Fellowship service group.
Ashes will be interred at Ridgely Cemetery during a family service at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the First Christian Church “Memorial Fund” at 201 N. Bridge St., Smithville, MO 64089 or to the ovarian cancer awareness group “OverRun” in Overland Park, KS.