Kay C. O'Connor 1951 - 2022

Kay Linda (Christeson) O’Connor passed away suddenly at her home in Salem, Oregon, and is at her eternal rest with Jesus. Kay is survived by her loving husband of 45 years, John O’Connor; and her children, Malora (Chris) Bell and Michael (Erin) O’Connor; seven grandchildren, Miciah, McKenzie, Cambryn, Kennedy, Quillen, Elliott and Emerson; and two brothers, Jim (Linda) Christeson and Bill (Lisa) Christeson; plus many beloved nephews and nieces. She was preceded in death by her parents, Nile and Marian Christeson.

After leaving her childhood home in Yreka, California, Kay was blessed to meet the love of her life, John O’Connor, at Southern Oregon College. Kay began her teaching career in a two-room schoolhouse at Big Springs Elementary in Siskiyou County.

When Kay and John married and relocated to McMinnville, Oregon, to settle down and raise a family, Kay taught for many years as a special education teacher at Wascher Elementary in Lafayette, Oregon, where she worked until her retirement. She arrived early and stayed late with the determination to “see the strengths in her students that brought them to success time and time again.” Her colleagues will remember her as someone who “listened, encouraged, and made the best darn chocolate chip cookies the staff room had ever known.”

As the beloved “Nanny” to her grandchildren, she and John were blessed to spend their retirement years living nearby the grandkids in West Salem.

Most will remember Kay with her vibrant red hair, compassionate heart (offering rides to hitchhikers between Lafayette and Mac), good humor and warm Diet Coke in hand. She spent countless hours volunteering with McMinnville Swim Club, worked nearly 34 years for McMinnville School District and devoted her life to helping those in greatest need. She loved her time gathering with friends in Mac for Thirsty Thursdays, Breakfast on Sundays and other occasions!

In her memory, please kindly consider book donations to Wascher Elementary Library or clothes, hygiene products, food, school supplies and household items to McMinnville High School Resource Room.

Please join us at Wascher Elementary for a Celebration of Kay's Life at 1 p.m. Tuesday, December 20.

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