Kay Ellen Seth McCartney
May 27, 1937 – March 31, 2023
Kay Ellen Seth McCartney, 85, passed away after a brief illness on Friday, March 31, 2023, in Richmond, VA.
She was born in Butler, PA on May 27, 1937, and was raised in Leechburg, PA along with her 3 sisters. She followed her eldest sister to college in Texas and transferred to what was then Greeley College in Greeley, CO. She enjoyed being near the Rocky Mountains and graduated with a degree in elementary education.
While at Greeley, she met her husband of 25 years, Duane McCartney. Together they raised 2 children. Her family moved to various different parts of the country until settling in North Carolina in 1964. In 1986, Kay moved to Scottsdale, AZ to be closer to her mother and youngest sister. She remained there until failing health three years ago led her to move to Richmond, VA to be with her son.
While in college, Kay spent summers working in the Grand Teton National Park along with her eldest sister and two future brothers-in-law. She developed a life-long love of that area, to which she returned several times in her later life. She also loved Oak Island, NC. She and her family spent many summers there, along with her mother, sisters, and all of their families. She loved all things beach related and was known for her extensive lighthouse collection.
Kay was an elementary school teacher and spent many years teaching kindergarten, which she loved. After she moved to Arizona, she began a new career as a pharmacy tech, which she also enjoyed. She was very active in her church as well as in two different knitting groups. Kay was a woman of strong opinions which were often prefaced by the expression, “What the Sam Hill?” Her quick wit and sense of humor was much appreciated by friends and family. She had a very generous heart and expressed it in a number of ways. She enjoyed baking and brought homemade cookies every week to the knitting groups she joined after retirement. Her concern for the warmth and comfort of family living in cooler climates led her to knit a multitude of scarves for them. She often carried dog treats in her purse or walker to pass out to neighbor’s dogs as she walked. Deep in her heart, she was really a cat lover and was preceded in death by her kitties Hudspeth and Stanley. She knew the names and life stories of all the employees at the Trader Joe’s she frequented in Scottsdale. She bought them gifts for their birthdays or newborn children. She was reprimanded several times at the assisted living facilities she moved to in her later years for buying gifts for staff. It was a practice which was frowned upon, but which brought her great joy. A strong believer in dental hygiene, she made sure everyone got toothbrushes in their Christmas stockings.
She was a loving mother and extremely proud of her children and grandchildren and was over the moon thrilled at having lived to meet two great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Mary Jo Seth Noffsinger and Richard Leroy Seth; two sisters, Charlene Seth McKeithen and Sally Seth Jones; and beloved companion, Ray Locati.
She is survived by her sister, Ann Seth Doyle of Scottsdale, AZ; son, Matthew McCartney (Judith) of North Chesterfield, VA; daughter, Shauna McCartney Leinbach; four grandchildren, Rebecca, Virginia, Micah, and Joelle; two great-grandchildren, Redmond and Eleanor; as well as many friends and extended family members.
In lieu of flowers, Kay requested memorials to the charity of your choice.
You were a wonderful friend and great theatre companion. We shared so many good moments.
You are missed every day. Peace and love to your family. We cherished our time together.
Love, Shirley and Tom
Kay I have missed you since you moved from AZ. We had such great times at knit group. I will always remember the laughs and think if you fondly.
I knew Kay when they lived in Greensboro, NC. We played bridge many years in a couples bridge group and in a woman’s group. We had much in common because we were both teachers and had children about the same age. We kept in touch throughout all her moves and once in a while she came back to NC to visit.
It was always fun seeing Kay and keeping up to date on all the news. She wrote a long note not long ago telling me about her health issues and reminiscing about our earlier years.
My condolences to Shauna and Matthew and their families.
Kay was the long-term partner of my wife’s uncle. That’s how I first met her. Right from the start, I thought Kay was one of the nicest women I’ve ever met, with a very sunny disposition.
After our uncle passed away, Kay continued to stay in touch with my wife and me. We always felt like she was our aunt, and she always treated us like we were her niece and nephew. She even sent us birthday cards written to her niece or nephew. In many different ways, she made it clear that we were family.
This went on for years and years, maybe a decade or two. Kay would call us and we would call Kay. And when Kay still lived in Phoenix, we would visit and go out to dinner with her. She especially liked when we went to our uncle’s favorite Italian restaurant. She always thought of him and the happy times they shared.
Later, when Kay and I both started to get sick, we would speak about about our ailments and our doctor visits. I tried my best to keep Kay’s spirits up, and she did the same for me.
Each day since Kay has passed, I have felt an emptiness in my heart. She was a great woman, and I will continue to miss her each and every day.
It’s hard to sum up your feelings for someone you truly loved. The best I can say is that Kay always made me smile. She was warm, compassionate, and always seemed to put others’ needs ahead of her own.
Kay was with my uncle before his untimely death. Had he not been taken so early, she would’ve officially been my legal aunt. Upon his death, however, we simply declared that she was our aunt, and she vowed to treat us as such, which she did for the rest of her life. Kay seemed to want to stay in our lives as much as my husband and I wanted her in ours. Not only did we share a special bond with her, but she made sure she spoke of our uncle frequently so he would always be at the front of our memories.
Because she had such a quiet voice, I wonder how many people noticed how funny Kay was. She had a zany sense of humor! My cats received Christmas cards from her cats every year. Her sarcasm was so subtle yet spot on, that she sometimes made my sides hurt from laughter.
While it’s typical for women of a certain age to brag about their families, I hope that Kay’s children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren know that Kay took this to an extreme. She bragged about them continuously. She was very proud of them.
Kay, I am going to miss spending time with you. I’ll especially miss dinners at Uncle Sal’s, brunch at the diner, all your great stories about our uncle, and mostly, those long conversations we had about nothing in particular that ended only when the phone started to hurt our ears. The world is a dimmer place without your smile to brighten it.
Aunt Kay was my “secret hero” who knew something of the difficulties I faced as a kid. She always seemed to have a quiet empathy as well as a sense of wry humor that made me feel like I was understood. My prayers and love go out to you all, and know that her spirit lives on in so many of us. She is truly an angel and we shall all be together, forever and ever, when we make it to the promised land 🙏🏻💖😇