Kay Linda (Christeson) O’Connor passed away suddenly at her home in Salem, Oregon, after a short illness 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. She was preceded in death by her Father Nile Willard Christeson and her Mother 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 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. Kay is remembered by her colleagues as a “gifted and beloved educator” and the “best colleague an educator can ask for.” 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.” Kay’s family will remember her most as a cheerful, kind, and loving mother and grandmother. Her humor, kindness, and goodwill toward others infused her life. She relished the role of swim team mom with her children, Malora, and Michael, and spent many years in McMinnville supporting their activities on the pool deck.
As the beloved “Nanny” to her grandchildren, she and John were blessed to spend their retirement years living nearby the grandkids in Salem. They converted a room in their house to a kids’ playroom so their days were filled with kids soaking up the love and guidance Kay and John provided. Although she has gone to heaven, Kay’s memory and her always cheerful presence will live on through her own children and grandchildren and the many other children whose lives she touched.
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.