Kay Arvin

Arvin, Kay - 1922-2014. Kay grew up in 1920's Kansas on a working farm. At 3 years old, she followed her sister to a one-room schoolhouse. Since education had yet to be ruined by bureaucracy, Kay was given a desk and invited to listen. Thus began a life of engaged learning. Kay was modest, pretty, and popular. In college, she met the love of her life while putting up decorations for a dance. She didn't like Les in that particular way that made love inevitable. "Arrogant," she wrote in her diary that night. Also, "After I danced with him the 1st time, I knew I wasn't going to dance with anyone else." When Les was stationed in Hawaii during WWII, he conspired to get Kay a job in Honolulu at the War Department. They were married in a hillside church overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Their love never faltered. Shortly after marriage, Kay was blinded by an accident. In spite of this, she got a law degree, raised 2 sons, and practiced law at the highest level. She was the 1st female lawyer to argue a case before the State Supreme Court and win. She served as Judge of the District Court. She advocated for battered women and won awards too numerous to list. She was also a sculptor whose work astonished those unaware she worked in complete darkness. While pundits argued the merits of feminism, Kay quietly embodied its best ideals. Still, she scorned the idea of "having it all." She considered her man the most important person in any room, including the White House. But she was fully capable of standing her ground against all comers. She was formidable. Kay and Les traveled the world together, and co-taught a class on the U.S. legal system in Singapore. They moved to Nashville in 2001. They made friends and enjoyed life. Kay's faith sustained her, and, believing God would always catch her if she fell, she made a trapeze out of life. 15 minutes before her death, Kay said, "I can do this. All is well." If you wish to honor her memory, try something new in life. Pray fervently and without artifice, as Kay did. Take stock of whatever whining you do in life and reduce it by at least half. Then, smile and get on with things. Kay and Les are survived by their sons Scott and Reed, both married and residing in Nashville. "Good-bye, Mom. We love you."

Published in The Wichita Eagle on June 29, 2014