She is survived by her husband of 43 years, John Gresham who remained constantly at her side for the duration of her illness. She is also survived by her brother, Andy and his family.
She was predeceased by her parents, Kathryn and Ralph "Dick" Bender of Jacksonville.
Kay attended Meredith College before transferring to UNC Chapel Hill where she received her BA in education in 1970. She earned her MA from East Carolina University and Ed.D from Duke University. Her professional career in the Onslow County School System included a variety of roles: teacher, administrator of Federal programs, Executive Director of Head Start, and most recently as Director for Early Childhood Initiatives and Federal Services and Thompson Early Childhood Center. She also had been an instructor in the Graduate School at East Carolina University and Coastal Carolina Community College.
She served as Executive Director of Sponsors for Academic Talent, Inc., and was past chairman of the board of Governors for the Governor's School of N.C.; she began the Interact Club at Jacksonville High School, served on the Steering Committee to establish the Onslow County Women's Center, and established a television studio in the Onslow County Schools. She served on numerous boards and was a member of the Women's Forum of N.C.
An active Rotarian, she was past president of the Jacksonville Rotary Club and was prepared to assume the position of District Governor of the southeast region of Rotarians. She was past president of the Jacksonville Junior Women's Club and the Upsilon Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. Elected as Onslow County Woman of the Year in 1998, she also received the award as one of Onslow County's Top Ten Women of the Decade.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Jacksonville. Visitation will follow the service.
Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to SAT Sponsors for Academic Talent, Inc., P.O. Box 233, Jacksonville, NC 28541.