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Kay Ann Coles

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 www.ksufoundation.org/give/memorials

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


A candle was lit in memory of Kay Coles

Cynde McElderry Mitchell Feb 14 2022 1:01 PM

I am sorry for loss. We were fellow Indians and Wildcats, turns out fellow North Carolinians also. Be at peace

Cynde McElderry Mitchell Feb 14 2022 1:00 PM

Saddened to hear of Kay's passing. Kay and I were debate on the same debate team at MHS. We were dorm roommates at KSU in our Freshman year. Such wonderful memories. What an amazing and accomplished woman. RIP Kay.

BILLIE J OHAGAN Feb 13 2022 12:53 AM

I am so sorry to hear that Kay passed away! My deepest sympathy to Kay's family and friends! She was a shining light to so many!

Diana Hess Duncan Feb 12 2022 10:51 PM

My sincere sympathy to Kay's family of her passing. I've known Kay since kindergarten through high school. She was a wonderful, fun, and sincere person. May she be at peace.

Ms. Rosemary Martin Nishikawa Feb 12 2022 9:20 PM

I am so sorry to hear of Kay's passing. She was brilliant and fun and kind and my best friend in high school.

Barbara Crank Moody Feb 12 2022 8:36 PM

I did not know Kay, but worked with her dad, Embert Coles at K-State. Kay had quite a career.

Howard Erickson Feb 6 2022 2:25 PM

Such a wonderful and charming human being. I first met Kay in 1982 working political campaigns. Such a warm and gentle soul, a very gifted and talented writer and tactician. Kay will be missed but she will not be forgotten as she touched so many of us during her life.

Don Cooper, Topeka Feb 6 2022 12:34 PM

I was shocked and saddened to read about Kay's passing. Linda joins me in extending our deepest sympathy to Dan and Kay's family. Kay did a wonderful job as a member of my team! She had a tender heart and cared deeply about her neighbors and was a very talented professional advocate. I'm grateful for her service to the people of Kansas.

Jim Slattery Feb 6 2022 11:20 AM

My sympathies to Dan and Kay's family. She was quite a girl! She will be missed by many.

Barbara Brown Feb 5 2022 10:22 AM

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