Cover photo for Kay Ann Coles's Obituary
Kay Ann Coles Profile Photo
1953 Kay 2022

Kay Ann Coles

December 18, 1953 — January 31, 2022

On Monday, January 31, 2022, Kay Ann Coles passed away at the age of 68 in her home in Sanford, North Carolina.


Kay was born in Colby, Kansas.  Shortly thereafter the family moved to Manhattan, Kansas where she grew up and where her father, Embert served on the faculty of Kansas State University.


She graduated from Kansas State University with both bachelors and master’s degrees and remained a lifelong Wildcats fan.


As a teenager Kay joined her parents in Nigeria where her father served as an agricultural and veterinary instructor.  She explored Africa riding horses, camels and toured the great pyramids of Egypt.


Kay held many important positions throughout her career serving as editorial page editor for The Topeka Capital-Journal, a lobbyist and director of communications for the Kansas affiliate of the National Education Association in Topeka, Kansas, campaign manager for Congressman Dan Glickman, and Executive Director of the Topeka YWCA.  In that capacity she led a highly successful capital campaign, supervised extensive renovation and expansion of the facilities, and through her leadership greatly strengthened the outreach and mission of the YWCA.


Following 9/11 Kay moved to Washington D.C. to become the senior professional of state education policy for National Education Association.  Upon retirement, she and her husband Dan moved to Sanford, North Carolina.


Kay is survived by her brother David Coles, her nephew John Coles, her niece Allison Coles Bunck, and her husband of 19 years Dan Stanley.  Her passing is also mourned by her loving fur babies Sir Bigley and Cosmo.


A celebration of Kay’s life will be held at a future date with the location to be announced.


A memorial for Kay Coles has been established at the Kansas State University Foundation. Contributions may be sent to: KSU Foundation, 1800 Kimball Ave., Ste 200, Manhattan, KS 66502; please indicate fund M47388. To make a gift online, go to

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kay Ann Coles, please visit our flower store.


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