Mama Kay was a survivor.

As the family and remembered Kay together, one refrain I heard was something I already knew: Kay was a survivor.

We know when we call someone a ‘survivor’ that they’ve been through some hard times. By the time we get to be a certain age, we’ve all lived through difficulties. Yet, as we know, Kay had more than her share of grief and loss. Bob has given us an idea of who she was and what her life was about.

Here at St. James, one of the ways you could tell that Kay was strong, and that she could roll with anything that could be thrown her way, was around the time of the Olde English Tea each year. When new people – who had never even been to a Tea – were drafted into volunteering, she would embrace them, match them up with a responsibility, and see that they had a part to play in the success of the day. Kay welcomed all comers.

You name it, she could roll with anything at the last minute. If there weren’t enough cucumbers, we ran out of lemon curd tarts, if the geraniums took on a life of their own – and even if it snowed – Kay was a master of taking lemons and turning them into lemonade. Whatever seemed to threaten the event’s perfection, she remained our calm leader with a strong positive outlook and trademark perseverance.

Who is there among us who didn’t have a moment of crisis, or stress, or other worry in life when Kay would cut your negative attitude off at the knees. She would tell you in no uncertain terms that everything was going to be just fine. If you didn’t see how that could happen, then she sat down, thought out a plan, wrote down a list, and gave you your assignment. She expected you to overcome the obstacle and be better for it.

She was a cheerleader with an iron will. Her children remember that as they were growing up they knew that she believed they could do anything.

Only someone who had already been tested and come out on top could do that. That was Kay. She was like the Psalmist who said:

“Though the earth be moved, and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea; Though its waters rage and foam, and though the mountains tremble at its tumult, The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.”

Early on, life experience showed Kay that she would never be abandoned by God. She knew from whence her strength sprang – and it was from the God of new life, Jesus, who overcame death and the grave – and who gave Kay new life when death came near and knocked the wind out of her. She had a lifelong assurance – that the peace and the power of God was always right here at hand.

People who are grounded by such a faith as Kay are the “Oaks of righteousness” the prophet Isaiah describes. In a broken-hearted time, Kay received the good news. She found liberty, favor, and comfort in God. As John did in his revelation, she came to know that “the home of God is among mortals.” Having learned that, she lived ever after as a testimonial to the oppressed, the imprisoned, and the grieving.

It was often Kay herself who brought the garland of hope, the oil of gladness, to us in our own dark night. She sat us down and pointed the way through. No denial. No avoidance. She knew that in meeting a problem head-on, God would provide the way. When she gave us our marching orders, she was displaying the glory of God.

Her family remembers her incredible work ethic – as do so many of us here. When all of the helpers at an event had long gone home, Kay still would be there organizing a few final things. I don’t know how many times, in her exhaustion, she insisted on making a package of left-overs for me before we went home.

If it was ever drudgery, Kay never showed it. Kay even worked hard at having fun. To that end, once she gave her sister, Rita, some advice. She said, “Rita, you are going to have to learn how to have fun.” That is something Rita will always remember.

No matter what, Kay saw to it that she had fun living life. To her nothing was more fun – or made her happier – than family. She loved Bob and Faith so much. She adored her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Family was happiness.

Whether she was “trotting” a baby on her knee, dressing up for Halloween, throwing a party, or basically “living large,” Kay had panache. Only someone with real confidence could carry off flamboyance the way she did.

Kay had unshakable confidence because she believed whole-heartedly when Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” 

She has not died. She is at the “heavenly banquet … where there is no death, neither sorrow nor crying, but the fullness of joy with all the saints.”


The Rev. Dawn M. Frankfurt
July 31, 2021
St. James Episcopal Church, Wichita, KS

The Readings Appointed for the Burial of Kay Hoffman

Isaiah 61:1-3

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion — to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, *

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, *

and though the mountains be toppled into the

depths of the sea;

Though its waters rage and foam, *

and though the mountains tremble at its tumult.

The Lord of hosts is with us; *

the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, *

the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her;

she shall not be overthrown; *

God shall help her at the break of day.

The nations make much ado, and the kingdoms are shaken; *

God has spoken, and the earth shall melt away.

The Lord of hosts is with us; *

The God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Come now and look upon the works of the Lord, *

what awesome things he has done on earth.

It is he who makes war to cease in all the world; *

he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear,

and burns the shields with fire.

“Be still, then, and know that I am God; *

I will be exalted among the nations;

I will be exalted in the earth.”

The Lord of hosts is with us; *

the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Revelation 21:2-7

And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

John 11:21-27

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

AUGUSTA, GA-Hoffman, Mrs. Katherine E. 81, died on Sunday, March 22, 2020. Her memorial service will be held at St. James Episcopal Church in Wichita, KS at a later date. Mrs. Hoffman attended Oklahoma College for Women and Oklahoma City University. She went on to lead an active life as a social worker, teacher, realtor and volunteer. She was a member of St. James Episcopal Church where she served in many leadership capacities. She was also a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority and was active in the leadership of the alumnae chapter. A community leader, business-woman, and award winning cook, she filled the world with her beautiful presence, elegance and grace. She loved to travel, thrived at the beach, and left a legacy of creativity and vision in the world. She is survived by her children, Robert G. Bledsoe (Robin) of Williamsburg, VA, Faith E. Bledsoe of North Augusta, and Clifton R. Bledsoe of Utah; her step-daughter, Karen McLarty; her grandchildren, Brittany Lavender (Wil) and Katelyn Bledsoe; 3 great-grandchildren; 7 step-grandchildren; her sister, Rita Smith (Mike); her nieces, Segen Smith, Sonder Crane and Susie Ruesser. She was preceded in death by her husbands, Charles N. Bledsoe, Rodney K. Johnson and Ralph L. Hoffman, as well as two step-children, Greg Hoffman and Sandra Carson and step-granddaughter, Jennifer.