Mary Jean Statz, 70, of Leawood, Ks., passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021 from cancer. She was born in Neosho, Mo. on Jan. 23, 1951 to Orvis L. and Louise Bachler Statz of Anderson, Mo. She is survived by the thousands of students to whom she had the pleasure of teaching and serving as their Principal; also, she is survived by her spouse and partner for 40 years, Penny Wade; her sisters Darlene Statz and Dr. Karolyn Yocum; her nieces Melisande (Ben) Hill and Monet (Michael) Fischer and her five great-nephews; also, in-laws Mary Lou Halchak, Susan (Rick) Nairn, and David (Cindy) Wade; 9 additional nieces and nephews and spouses, and 18 additional great-nephews and nieces.
Like her mother and 2 sisters, Mary was a lifelong educator who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education in 1973 from Southwest Missouri State, her Master’s degree in Sociology from Central Missouri State in 1981, and her Master’s in Educational Administration from KU in 1988.
She taught Social Studies in Lebanon, Mo. and in Grandview, Mo. from 1973 until 1982 when she found a Social Studies teaching job at the Loretto Academy which she loved. When that school closed in 1984, Mary joined a handful of upper school faculty and the principal to start a school of their own modeled after the innovative, creative, collegial-style of learning founded by the Sisters of Loretto. Thus, the Kansas City Academy (KCA) was born with their dreams, visions, energy, and not much else. At KCA, Mary taught Social Studies from 1984 to 1998 and concurrently served as Vice Principal from 1994 to 1998; she then served as Principal from 1998 until her retirement in 2011. After 37 years, the school is still going strong, with new generations of students thriving within the strength of the vision and hard work of Mary and many others. It is truly am amazing and special school!
When not giving her time to the school and family, Mary enjoyed the simple things in life like friends, having her feet in the water, either the creek where she grew up or any ocean she could find, going on walks, or traveling, especially going on cruises, to Las Vegas, or any beaches.
A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday Oct. 23 at 1pm at the Crossroads Church at 7917 Main, Kansas City, Mo. followed by a reception and available tours of the school at the Kansas City Academy directly across the street at 7933 Main, K.C., Mo. 64114. Feel free to bring memories and thoughts about Mary that you are willing to share yourself or send them to Martha Sanders, Admissions Director, at the KCA address above or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will read them. In lieu of flowers, Mary’s wish as a co-founder who loved the school was for donations to be made to the Kansas City Academy, a not-for-profit organization. You may send them to KCA at the address above, or donate online at www.kcacademy.org. She was an amazing woman who will be greatly missed.