Mary Kay (Grogan) Jefchak, born March 26, 1936 in Hammond, Indiana, passed away on December 29, 2021. Kay was born and raised in Whiting, Indiana. She graduated from Marquette University and later earned Master’s Degrees from both Michigan State University and Aquinas College. Always eager to learn something new and share her knowledge with others, Kay spent her professional life working as an elementary school teacher, a reading specialist for Grand Rapids Public Schools, and a director with GRPS community education. Even after retiring, Kay went on to learn new languages, became a Master Gardner, and served as a volunteer for many years with Frederick Meijer Gardens, as well as the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Although, with all that knowledge and education, she never quite figured out how to reset her digital wristwatch without the assistance of her grandson.
Kay’s passion for knowledge and learning also defined her personal life. She was ever interested in the lives of those she knew and loved. There was no story, detail, or bit of information that Kay wasn’t eager to learn or discuss. They say that curiosity killed the cat; well, curiosity allowed Kay to thrive. But Kay wasn’t simply curious for curiosity’s sake. Her interest in the lives of those she knew and loved was driven by her passion for developing connections and exploring ways through which she could offer care and support. Her sense of compassion stayed alive in her until the very end.
Kay was also a woman of boundless resilience, both physically and emotionally. After breaking her leg at the age of 60, while tobogganing with her grandchildren, she was hobbling around in the garden come spring and, just a few months later, off to Europe for more adventures.
Surviving Kay are her three children, Vinny Jefchak, Pegeen Jefchak, and Katie (Scott) Campbell who are all blessed to have had such a loving and ever-present mother. Kay’s pride and joy were her three grandchildren, Patrick (Amanda) Campbell, Andrew (Kelly Harmon) Campbell, and Irene Mead. Kay’s grandkids brought light to her eyes and love to her heart until her very last day on this earth. Also surviving are Kay’s brother, Michael John (Jean) Grogan; sisters, Judy Just, Susan (Ray) Welch; brother-in-law, Paul Mehalso; and several nieces and nephews. Oh, and never to be overlooked, her beloved cat, Cara. Kay was preceded in death by her best friend and husband of 55 years, Andrew Jefchak; as well as her sister-in-law, Andrea Mehalso; and brother-in-law, Ernie Just.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff in Harmony Hall at Porter Hills Village, who watched over Mary Kay with great care during her last few weeks; as well as the amazing team from Emmanuel Hospice, who provided comfort and support during this time. Memorial contributions can be directed to Emmanuel Hospice, 401 Hall St. SW, Suite 263, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 or www.emmanuelhospice.org