Kathleen “Kathy” Umscheid passed away on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 after a valiant fight with metastatic lung cancer. She was surrounded with her loving family as she transitioned into Heavenly peace. A rosary will be held at 4:30 on Thursday, April 15th, and visitation from 5pm-7pm at Johnson County Funeral Chapel in Overland Park. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, April 16th at 10am at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Overland Park, KS with a Graveside Service following at Resurrection Cemetery in Lenexa.
Kathy was born on May 19, 1949 in Beloit, KS; the first daughter born to Helen and Sylvester “Buck” Gengler and joined her three brothers Danny, Dennis, and Stan at home – delaying their chances of starting their own football team. With three older brothers, Kathy quickly developed thick skin and a tough spirit and learned quickly how to stand up for herself. After Kathy, she and her brothers welcomed home six additional siblings -- Charlotte, Tom, Pat, Tim, Mike, and Beth. She grew up on a farm with an abundance of siblings and cousins nearby, which ensured there was always someone to get in trouble with and plenty of open space to do it. They worked hard on the farm and entertained themselves with everyday household items like an empty can to play kick the can, and a brick that served as a telephone – a precursor to a career with the telephone company. They learned to play cards at a young age and when they couldn’t play outside, there was always a competitive card game going on in the house. Her upbringing prepared her for a life of hard work, leadership, love of family, and ability to call B.S. when she saw it.
Kathy graduated from St. John’s Catholic High School in May of 1967 and attended Fort Hayes State University before moving to Manhattan in 1969 to begin her career with Southwestern Bell. She held many positions within SWBell before she was promoted into management.
In 1974, her path crossed with Randy, a part-time janitor at SWBell and full-time accounting student at Kansas State University and they began dating shortly after. In 1976, just nine days after the close of the income tax season, the two married at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Beloit. ‘Your Song’ by Elton John became their song and was sung by Randy’s cousin at the ceremony. ‘Gloria’ by The Shadows of Night also became their song when Randy spontaneously got up on stage and sang the popular song at the wedding dance. Kathy and her father, Buck, watched in both laughter and wonder for what she had just signed up for. The wedding dance was a hit and is still talked about to this day with great fondness.
Shortly after they were married, they moved to Kansas City to experience the big city and start a family. In 1980 and 1982, Kathy and Randy brought two daughters into the world, Stacey and Courtney (respectively). Together, Kathy and Randy juggled their careers, raising children, and big city life with an unwavering commitment to their family, love, and a sense of humor.
In 1987, Kathy took an early retirement from SWBell to watch her children grow up. She enrolled her girls in any and every activity possible so they could find their passions and creative outlets. She and Randy served as Treasurers for the PTO and were active volunteers at school and church. Kathy was a Girl Scout cookie captain and Leader for Troop #558. As her daughters grew older and more independent, she rejoined the working world at Jones Store before returning to the telephone company at Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems and finishing her career at Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages. She retired in 2009 after reaching 30 years of service with the company.
Even before retirement, Kathy was known for dabbling in a variety of projects like sewing, woodworking, upholstery, and more. She stayed confident and curious in her ability to learn new skills and hobbies. She enjoyed traveling with her family to places like the Bahamas, Nashville, Dallas, and rarely turned down a trip to Vegas. She never met a craft store, hardware store, or slot machine that she didn’t like. Kathy was always quick to lend a hand to someone in need; from helping a friend wallpaper, to helping set up a cable box, or sending a cheer package to a friend going through cancer treatments, she did it. She volunteered at the Olathe Public Library, the adoration chapel at Holy Cross, and the Johnson County Christmas Bureau. She firmly believed that people would forget many things in life, but they would never forget the way you made them feel and that showed in her generosity to both strangers and friends alike.
Kathy was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer in November of 2016 and underwent a total of four brain surgeries and countless treatments over her plight. If there was ever an award for Most Pleasant Cancer Patient, Kathy would’ve won it. She faced each appointment and treatment with courage, a sense of humor, and always a smile on her face. As usual, she made relationships with everyone on her care team -- she traded recipes with her radiation oncologist and befriended her research nurse. She put great faith in both the Lord and her medical team to take great care of her while she was fighting the good fight.
Kathy will be remembered for her tough yet gentle spirit, her sense of humor and contagious laugh, the kindness and compassion she showed to everyone, and the great pride she took in her family. She’s survived by her husband Randy of almost 45 years, daughters Stacey and Courtney, both of Overland Park, and a granddog Ruby Sue. She also leaves behind seven siblings -- Stan, Charlotte, Tom, Pat, Tim, Mike, and Beth and over 25 nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews and countless cousins, relatives, and friends. She was greeted into Heaven by her mother, Helen, father, Buck, and two brothers—Dennis and Dan as well as cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and in-laws who have gone before her.
Cancer research was incredibly important to Kathy; she benefited from numerous clinical trials during her cancer tenure and was amazed by the advances in treatment in small increments of time. Donations can be made to the Cancer Research Institute or Kansas City Hospice in her honor.