Obituaries » Mary Katherine "Kay" Stephenson Wyatt
Mary Katherine “Kay” Stephenson Wyatt, youngest child of Arthur Benton (A.B.) Stephenson and Ora Belle Whitt Stephenson, was born on August 29, 1923 in Huntington, W. Va. She died at Westminster Canterbury in Lynchburg, Va. at the age of 98 on July 29, 2022 due to complications from a bad fall.
Surviving her are her two daughters, Susan Reynolds Wyatt and Caroline Elizabeth Wyatt Watkins (Charles Wesley Watkins, Jr.); three grandchildren, Cherece Noelle Watkins Hatcher, Charles Wesley Watkins III, and Leewyn Elisabeth Kellam; three great grandchildren, Nicholas Joseph Hatcher, Sophia Raine Hatcher, and Charles Wesley Watkins IV; two nieces, Ann Wyatt Johnson and Jane Wyatt Mason; two nephews Gray Wyatt and Calvin Wyatt and a surrogate grandson, Adam Wright. She was pre-deceased by her parents, her husband, William (Bill) Larkin Wyatt, and five older brothers and sisters.
Kay Wyatt also regarded as family the faculty and students at Virginia Episcopal School (VES) and the staff and residents at Westminster Canterbury. She lived at VES from 1946 until 1974.
While her husband Bill was serving as a teacher and ultimately Head of School, she worked to help create the library, served as Secretary in the Alumni office compiling the first alumni directory, and took charge of events as the wife of the Head of School. In this capacity, she became a surrogate mother and best friend to many students and alumni. In 1974, the couple moved to Chatham, Va. where Bill was employed at Hargrave Military Academy and Kay worked in The Fashion Shop and at their church. In 1995 Kay and Bill returned “home” to Lynchburg to live at Westminster Canterbury, next to VES. At Westminster Canterbury, she participated in volunteer activities, including being responsible for the library and organization of bridge games. She also used her artistic talents to create paintings and cartoons, and grew zinnias to distribute to other residents. During her 27 years at Westminster Canterbury she became good friends with many residents and staff, and appreciated so much the love and care provided by staff as her health declined.
Kay’s favorite thing was people, including family, friends, and staff. She had a genuine interest in people, seeking to understand their interests and concerns, and always hoping for a laugh, which she regarded as our best medicine. After losing her childhood dolls to mildew, her next most favorite thing was her collection of approximately 50 dolls, many of them given to her by family and friends. She was also fascinated with trees, and said that in her next life she would like to return as a tree.
Kay’s roots were in Southwest Virginia where her grandparents lived on a farm in Swords Creek. She spent much of her childhood in that area, but her family was a victim of the Great Depression, and as a result her father had to move to Kansas to find work. Thus, she spent her later high school years in Garden City, Kansas where she met her husband Bill while he was stationed in Garden City during World War II. After the War they returned to Winston-Salem, N.C. where he grew up, and then moved to VES.
Kay will be remembered primarily for her kindness, compassion, and sweet smile.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to Virginia Episcopal School (designate the Battle Fund for Faculty Compensation) (Address: The VES Endowment and Trust, 400 VES Road, Lynchburg, Va. 24503) or to Westminster Canterbury (designate the Employee Education Fund) (Address: Westminster Canterbury Development Office, 501 VES Road, Lynchburg, Va. 24503).
Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg is assisting the family.
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