MADISON - Kay Gordon McGuire, age 75, passed away January 6, 2018, at Agrace Hospice Care surrounded by her family. She was born on July 31, 1942, in Iola, Wisconsin, to Arvie and Mary Jane (Christensen) Gordon of Chilton, Wisconsin.
Kay grew up in Chilton, Wisconsin, graduated from Chilton High School, and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning her bachelors degree in Education and participating in the Integrated Liberal Studies program. She was a lifelong learner; continued coursework in English throughout her career and loved auditing classes at the university during her retirement.
Kay began her teaching career in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and then Janesville, Wisconsin, before she started teaching at LaFollette High School in 1969. She taught English at LaFollette High School for 31 years, retiring in 2000 and thereafter continuing to teach as a long-term substitute for another five years, until 2005. In addition to the countless students whose lives Kay influenced during her career at LaFollette, Kay also was the head of the English department from 1982 until 2000. From 1971 to 1992, she was a member of the paperback committee, which was comprised of representatives of all four Madison High Schools. The committee worked to review new books that would be recommended and available for teachers to use in their classrooms. She was a recipient of the Bassett Award for teaching excellence in 1985. Kay loved teaching, helping students appreciate all avenues of literature and writing, but loved her students most of all. She delighted in seeing her former students, now in their 30's, 40's or 50's, out in Madison and hearing what they had been doing since she had last seen them. The smile on their faces at seeing her was only outdone by the smile on her face at seeing them.
In addition to her teaching career, Kay was a member of Bethel Lutheran Church, an avid traveler and was passionate about exploring her Norwegian heritage. As a member of Bethel Lutheran Church, she participated in the life of the church through her work with the altar guild and Vacation Bible School. Kay loved to travel, enjoying experiencing the history, beauty and food of the many places she visited. She loved the preparation and organization of all her trips especially those that took her to one of her favorite places in the world, the Lake District in Northern England. Kay also took a great deal of pleasure in exploring her Norwegian family history, spending time researching and traveling to Norway to visit her relatives and learn about her Norwegian ancestors, Norwegian culture and language. She kept a running correspondence with some of her closest Norwegian relatives, visiting with them on each trip to Norway and developing great friendships and connections to them that the rest of her family benefitted from immensely.
As well as being a wonderful wife and mother, Kay was a devoted and loving Grandmother ("Nana") to her grandson Ethan, delighting in every opportunity to see him, hear his voice, read to him and play the piano with him.
Kay is survived by her husband Francis McGuire, her son Michael McGuire, daughter-in-law Cheryl (Miller) McGuire and grandson Ethan McGuire, as well as her three sisters Linda (Gordon) Teetaert, Jane (Gordon) Long and Ann Gordon.
Kay's family would like to extend their sincere thanks and appreciation to the nurses, doctors and staff at Agrace Hospice Care, in particular Kristin, Michelle, Kristine and all the members of the purple team who took such wonderful care of Kay and her family during Kay's last few weeks of life.
A visitation will be held from 5:00pm to 7:00pm at Cress Funeral Home on Friday, February 2, and funeral services will be held at 11:00am on Saturday, February 3, 2018, at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison Wi.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Agrace HospiceCare (www.agrace.org/donate) or to the Kay Gordon McGuire Memorial Scholarship Fund (www.youcaring.com/KayMcGuireScholarship or by check made out to "La Follette High School" with "Kay McGuire Scholarship Fund" in the memo line and mailed to Kay McGuire Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o La Follette High School, 702 Pflaum Rd., Madison, WI 53716).
Please share your memories of Kay.
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road Madison
I remember her fondly as my Senior year Advanced English teacher. Wonderfully caring teacher that made the class educational and enjoyable. Truly a class act.
So sorry to see the loss of Ms. McGuire. She was my favorite teacher in my years at LaFollette HS(76-79). Her literary choices from the Classics to more modern works were inspiring with her ability to dissect and instruct any novel. She was so NICE and always carried herself professionally and with class. God has held a SPECIAL place for her! God Bless!!
Dear Fran - I am so saddened to hear of your loss. I have heard such glowing things about Kay....as a teacher, leader and all around good person.... both from my friends who have worked at LaFollette, and my in laws who attended there. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.
I had Kay as my Advanced Sophomore English teacher during the 1983-84 school year. She had an amazing sense of fun and spirit. I remember quite clearly one "unfortunate" haircut she had which prompted all of the students in the class to call her "Spike". She knew it was a term of endearment from all of us. I, too, became an English teacher in part because of her influence and example. She even went with me to American Player's Theater while I was in college. I am now in year 29 of my career at Case High School in Racine. I'm "Living the Dream" just as she taught me by her example!
As many have already posted, by far and away she was the best teacher I ever had! My thoughts are with your family while we all mourn this terrible loss.
Kay (Tyler) Maier, Class of '83
Fran & Family, so very saddened to hear of Kay's passing. My heart goes out to you in this sad time. Always enjoyed the social times we shared although they were to few. Making the old Chilton connection with Kay added some extra spice to our visits.
Loren & Nancy
We won't be able to attend the visitation as we are heading to Mexico on Friday.
Thank you Kay for your life, your spirit and being so genuinely nice. Our moms are together in heaven and I'm sure they welcomed you home already.
I have many 1st cousins but you were always my favorite. Til I see you again. Love Mark
Kay was a good friend of mine in kindergarten and first grade and the we met up again in the ILS Program at the UW. And then we both were teachers in the Madison Metropolitan School District. She was a warm, sincere and generous person. I am sorry for your family's loss. She is the child sitting at the right end of the first row. I am the girl in the middle. Kindergarten in 1947.
Her generosity of spirit was a true gift to all of us. She wil be missed dearly. Janet Gordon
Ms. McGuire inspired me with her positive spirit, sense of humor and genuine comfort among her high school students. I didn't necessarily want to be there (at school) but she sure did. She had a great energy about her that I well remember. My condolences for your loss.
I had Mrs. McGuire for AP Sophomore English in 1983-84. She was one of my all-time favorite teachers, and I wasn't the only one who loved her. At the end of the school year most of our class (maybe the whole class?) took her out to dinner at Lombardino's. It's 34 years later and I can still remember her positivity, her smile and her great way of engaging teenagers, and that fun dinner! How many teachers have such an impact that a bunch of teenagers want to take her out to dinner to thank her? She will be missed...so sorry for your loss!
I am saddened to hear of her passing. She was my absolute favorite teacher at LaFollette. She always made you feel that you were important and gave me a great love for books.❤️ Prayers to her family but know how much she was loved! Aliesha Searle Rauls (class of 1990)
My prayers and sympathy to Mrs. McGuire's family. She was a kind, caring and funny person...always smiling. Her legacy will live on.
I was lucky to have Mrs McGuire sophomore and senior year 1980. She remains my favorite teacher to this day. My sincere sympathy to her loved ones.
My sympathy to the family. She was a favorite teacher of so many of us. Now I see we also shared a birthday. Peace to you all at this difficult time.
Mrs. McGuire, as I always think of her, even now at 43yrs old, was my favorite teacher. Had her for Adv English in 1990/91 and still remember so much about her and her class. She could connect with us as we were but also expected us to reach for more. What a wonderful woman, I'm so sorry for your loss.
Holly Reiff Hoffer
MS. MCGUIRE was probably the best Teacher I've ever had, and I've had many. She was my AP English Teacher, my Sr year in 77-78. I worshipped your Mom. So much so I brought her back a miniature orange tree from Daytona Beach spring break. Your mom combined humor, wisdom and an insight to every thing she taught us and I'm a much better person for having had her as an instructor and as a mentor. As I continued my education into the Nursing profession I remembered her qualities and asked myself more than once how she would've handled a particular situation. She had the good sense to see in me what others did not and pushed me, realizing I was smart but bored. She challenged my mind and my conscience and I will NEVER forget her. As an adult I now understand what she was trying to teach us. Not only English or sattire.... She taught us how to see life from all views and that we all have the power not only to change our world, even if it's our little corner of our world but to be able to laugh at ourselves. The teaching world and the community has lost a wonderful lady!! My heart goes out to her family nd friends. She was incredible!! Prayers to you..??'"??'"??'"??'"
Kay McGuire was my English teacher at LaFollette in the 70's. I just thought she was wonderful. My favorite teacher of all time. I'm so sorry for your loss. Pat Kennnedy (Rutledge).
Mrs. McGuire was my 10th grade English teacher back in the late 1980s at Lafollette. She was a wonderful teacher and a fantastic lady. So sorry to hear of her passing. Wishing your family peace during this difficult time.
Hugs and deep sympathy to the whole family. Your devotion to her was breath-taking -- I feel privileged to have known her and connected to you all.
I had Mrs McGuire in 10th grade English. It was probably one of the most formative classes I took. I remember looking forward to her class, the books we read and (gasp!) even the homework. She challenged us for sure and I deeply appreciated her. My thoughts and prayers to you.