Kathryn (Kay) Duffield
Many hearts are heavy with the passing of Kay Duffield, loving mother, wife, aunt, sister, teacher, and cherished friend on June 9, 2021 from complications of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. She was held in the arms of her husband Mike and sons, Scot and Jack, when the chariot came with a whirlwind to deliver Kay to Heaven. We are very sad, but are also happy knowing Kay can once again breathe freely.
She was born to Robert and Hattie Martin on January 21, 1948 in Billings, Montana. The second of four children, Kay was born into a boating, camping, and outdoor family and spent many early mornings fishing on Yellowstone Lake and trying to stay warm! Her family later moved their destination campsite to the warmer waters of Canyon Ferry. Kay had many days of fishing and water skiing the reservoir, and as many nights camping on its sandy beaches.
Kay graduated from Billings Senior High in 1966. She attended the University of Montana where she met Mike, her husband of 51 years. Kay and Mike married March 21, the first day of spring, 1970. After graduating together, they moved to Seattle where they lived and worked for 8 years. Scot, their first-born son, arrived on August 19, 1974. Eventually Montana called them home, and they returned to Missoula to live permanently in 1978. Jack, their second-born son, joined the family May 2, 1980.
Kay was an administrative accountant to many Missoula non-profits including the Missoula Symphony, the Montana Eye Bank, and Garden City Harvest. She served as President for many organizations including Alpha Phi, the Symphony Guild, and the Montana chapter of P.E.O. She also served P.E.O. on the International level from 2005 through 2013 which required her to travel extensively. Kay was an active member of the First United Methodist Church, serving on many Church committees and as Church Financial Secretary. She also held leadership roles in United Methodist Women and Ruth Fellowship and was active in Walk to Emmaus. Kay was particularly proud to serve as a Stephens Minister, which is a Church lay minister trained to help parishioners solve their daily problems of life. Kay said many of her very best mentors and her very best teachers were actually the parishioners she was assisting!
Kay and Mike would often leave a week ahead of her P.E.O. travels, to explore and learn about the areas she was visiting. Some more memorable visits included touring New York, staying at Niagara Falls and visiting The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. In New Mexico, they explored Chaco Canyon, Roswell (!), and the incredible Carlsbad Caverns. In Iowa, they visited Nebraska's Platte River and experienced the awesome annual Sand Hill Crane Migration. In the Washington D.C. area, they toured James Town (Va.), Valley Forge (Pa.), Constitution Hall/Liberty Bell/Independence Hall (Philadelphia), and of course many of the Smithsonian Museums.
Kay and Mike continued exploring the world after she had completed her term for P.E.O. International. Memorable travels included ski trips to Switzerland (including visiting their 1992 foreign exchange student from Zurich), a cruise of Southeast Alaska's Inland Passage, Danube River Cruise from Germany to Budapest, a cross-Atlantic cruise, London, and separate trips to visit Scot and his wife Jill in Japan and Taiwan. The only trip they would not do again was a visit to Antarctica, both agreeing the Drake Passage crossing (a 48-hour roller coaster ride) and visiting the stark landscape of this "Seventh Continent" need only be done once.
Kay drafted this obituary as a humble report, but the family knew her incredible spirit of adventure and curiosity touched so many others. She will best be remembered for her generous spirit, her sunny smile, abundant words of encouragement, and her easy gift of friendship. Kay taught by example and brought joy and love to all around her. She said her Mom, who was a Public Health Nurse, taught Kay to be a helper, often asking, "Who have you helped recently?" Kay cheerfully volunteered at swim meets, track meets, PTA, Boy Scouts, you name it. Mr. Rogers always said, "In time of trouble and need, look for the helpers and there you will find the hands and feet of Christ." So simple, and so humble, that's how Kay lived. She generously set out to help in her community, her Church and schools, and be the best wife and mother who ever was. She succeeded.
Kay is survived by her husband Mike of Missoula, and two sons Scot (Jill) (and Grandson Aaron) of Seattle, and second son Jack of Coeur D'Alene; sister Joyce Jensen of Billings; brothers Chad (Fusako) Martin of Billings and John (Vandama) Martin of Honolulu; and many nieces and nephews.
Kay and the family also want to thank the incredible nurses and physicians in St. Patrick's ICU for their truly excellent care. We were in awe watching their heroic efforts to care for Kay. Thank you!
We love you Mom, and miss you to the moon and back. "Well done my good and faithful servant." Kay said she expected Heaven to be like being in Glacier Park, pretty sure she's right. And we're happy knowing she is at peace, and yes, can take deep breaths once again.
Donations may be made to any of the non-profits Kay supported or to one of your choice. A memorial service will be held in Missoula at the First United Methodist Church on Saturday June 19th, 2021 at 3:00 PM.