Kathleen Coons

Obituary of Kathleen Leora Coons

Kathleen Coons (maiden name Porteous), known as Kay, died peacefully in her sleep on January 13, 2020, at the age of 87, after a long fight with dementia. She was ushered through her last hours with music and story by her oldest daughter, Marjoyre Wright (also known as Joy or Margie). Kay is survived by her daughters, Sharon Wright, a school teacher in St Charles, IL, and Joy Wright, a nonprofit fundraiser, writer and storyteller in Oak Park, IL, and her son, Clifford Wright, a photographer in St Petersburg, Russia. She is also survived by five grandchildren, Alexandria and Samantha Patinka, Ayush and Varsha Hemmady-Wright, and Sophie Wright. Kay was born and lived most of her life in Syracuse, NY, with periods of time in Nashville, TN, Houston, TX, and Sodus, NY. She attended college at Bowling Green University and Syracuse University, earning an undergraduate degree in English and a Master’s in elementary education. Kay was a songwriter, musician, published writer and poet, guitar teacher, and school teacher, as well as a feminist and woman ahead of her times. Music was in her from the beginning, and she began writing songs at an early age. Throughout her life she composed hundreds of songs both individually and in collaboration with others, including a song called, Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt recorded by Pat Boone in the late 1940s. A musician (guitar, piano, banjo, Hawaiian guitar, others) and singer, Kay also performed from the time she was a child on the radio until late in life. She was in a number of country and bluegrass bands, and played for many years around Syracuse at honky-tonks and bluegrass festivals, as well as in Nashville at local writer’s nights at the Bluebird Café, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, and The Opryland Hotel. She appeared regularly on of local access television on At Home with a Poet, and her play, One More for the Streets ran a number of times on the same station. In her end years when suffering from dementia, an old country or folk song played on guitar and sung by her daughter would bring it all back to her, and she would join in with beautiful harmony. The two of them often had an audience of other residents dancing with walkers and wheelchairs. A line from one of her beautiful songs speaks for her children at this time, I adore you most of all. Services were held for family on Wednesday, January 14, 2020.
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