(Margaret) Kay Carder Jayaram, or “Katie” by her nursing cohort, died on August 1, 2018 at home in Overland Park, surrounded by her family.
Kay was born on February 16, 1944 in Independence, Kansas, not far from the childhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and spent her childhood in Fredonia. After the church she was attending in town closed permanently, she began attending and baptized at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on December 21, 1960. She graduated from Fredonia High School in 1962, receiving some of the highest marks in her class. Kay started volunteering and working as a nurses aide, which led to her earning her G.N. at Mercy School of Nursing in Ft. Scott in 1965. Though she had left Fredonia behind, she always made time to spend time with her family members, especially her mother, her paternal grandmother, and sisters.
Newly certified as an R.N., Kay moved to Kansas City for work. At Children’s Mercy Hospital, she made lifelong friends, but also met “Jayu,” a young pediatrician recently emigrated from India. The two became enamored of each other, and against cultural odds of the era, they married in 1970 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Kansas City Missouri. Shortly after their marriage, the two drove in their red convertible Fiat to Brooklyn, New York, where Jayu was starting a fellowship in pediatric cardiology at SUNY Downstate. During their time in New York, their first child, Chris came into the world in March 1971. With a desire to grow beyond their cramped conditions, they returned to Kansas City for new opportunities and to raise a family. Jayu took a position in a pediatric practice in Kansas City, Missouri in 1972, and in March 1974, Kay gave birth to their second son, Kiran. After moving around, they purchased their first home in Overland Park in 1974. Their third child, Natalie, was born in 1979.
Throughout the 1980s, Kay raised their children and cared for her husband with love and devotion. As a devoted parishioner, she became an active member of the Curé of Ars community. As her children grew and required less direct parenting, her desire to serve led her to pursue degrees in social work. In 1992, she earned her Bachelor’s degree, and the following year, she received her Master’s degree. Subsequently, she worked at the Visiting Nurses Association, Operation Breakthrough, and Catholic Charities (as a counselor). She reveled in these positions, even with all of their challenges, for she gained strength from helping people, regardless of their color or creed.
Not content to settle down with age, in her sixties, Kay continued to serve through her job at Catholic Charities. To better connect with children at her school, she became certified in Play Therapy. Yet even with all her accomplishments, she remained a humble servant of God. She was mainly proud of her role as sister, wife, mother, and grandmother, reserving her only boasting when referring to her children and grandchildren.
In what seemed to be her prime, life was tragically interrupted in 2015 by a diagnosis of bulbar amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This illness cruelly first took her speech, then her ability to consume food by mouth, and then her ability to walk. She suffered this progressively dehumanizing condition with grace, only wishing for a cure so that she could take care of her husband, serve through her job, shower her children and grandchildren with love, and send out prayer chain Facebook messages and ask for help with a Word Jumble.
Kay succumbed to ALS early on August 1, 2018. She is survived by her husband Jayu, her sisters Ann Cook, Nikki Carder, and Christine Carder, brother Peter Carder, her children Chris, Kiran, and Natalie, her grandchildren Ethan Jayaram, Holden Jayaram, Landon Jayaram, Fiona Gertken, Jasper Gertken, her devoted Yorkshire Terrier, Bonnie Muffin, and countless friends.
A visitation will be held from 6-8 PM, on Monday, August 6, at the Johnson County Funeral Chapel, 11200 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS. A Catholic Mass will be held in her honor at 10 AM, on Tuesday, August 7, at Curé of Ars, 9401 Mission Rd, Leawood, KS 66206, with reception following from 11 AM-1 PM. Graveside service will be held at 1:30 PM at Johnson County Memorial Gardens in the Indoor Mausoleum.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Operation Breakthrough, 3039 Troost Ave, Kansas City, MO 64109, or The Learning Club, 2225 Troup Ave, Kansas City, KS.