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Kay Kline Tribute

Former First Lady Kneldrith “Kay” Kline Passes Away

McPherson, KS – Kneldrith (Kay) Eileen Harden Kline, 95, died peacefully on Feb. 22, 2019 at her home in Wichita, KS. Born Oct. 25, 1923 in Berkeley, CA, she was the younger of two born to Francis Harden and Nelle Ashcraft Harden Boyd. Her dear father died when she was two, so Kay was raised with mother, grandmother, and sister Marian, as models of strong Christian women. In 1944, she married Bruce L. Kline with whom she shared 73 years and 79 days of married life. A graduate of Greenville College, Greenville, IL, Kay began teaching in 1945 at Wessington Springs College in SD, where Bruce taught and was an administrator. In 1959, Bruce joined the faculty at Central College in McPherson, KS. He was elected college president in 1964 and Kay became the first lady, energetically engaging with students, faculty and community. Besides raising a family of five, Kay was a teacher, speaker, artist, counselor, composer, playwright and director, advocate, and friend of the arts. An accomplished musician, Kay loved to entertain, hosting music nights and hymn sings at the President’s home, a practice she continued in every home throughout her life. In 1977, she helped establish the Mingenback Family Life Center to provide counseling, and parenting education.

In 1980, Kay and Bruce moved to Indiana to work for the Free Methodist Church of North America. Kay was a respected speaker for spiritual retreats, a noted editor, and an excellent writer. One of her books, Taking Charge, is in its 4th printing. In addition, Kay and Bruce invested time and resources in the Hungarian Evangelical Fellowship (HEF) in Budapest, Hungary for over 25 years. Bruce served as president of the HEF’s John Wesley Theological College senate and Kay taught English and ministered, founding a program that provides shoes for needy Hungarian children. They lived in Budapest for a year in the early 1990’s and returned 30 times to participate in HEF ministries. Kay and Bruce traveled internationally, deepening their appreciation for the breadth of God’s kingdom. This included raising funds for the library at Hope Africa University in Burundi, named after Bruce’s grandfather, Vivian A Dake.

Deeply receptive to God’s love for her in Jesus Christ, Kay experienced life-long transformation. Even in her last days, she honestly faced life and death. Her courageous spirit was shaped in the practice of a “morning bed-sit” to read scripture, connect with God, write in her journal, and reflect on relationships. Kay had a quality of outgoing love that warmly welcomed people into her heart and family to include virtually everyone who touched her life: students, church friends, P.E.O. sisters, neighbors, caregivers, Hungarian friends, especially the Ivanyi family, and many others around the world, with whom she maintained active correspondence.

Kay and Bruce believed “children are God’s best gift.” (Psalm 127: 3-5, The Message) She cherished five children and spouses, nine grandchildren and spouses, and seven great-grandchildren. The last of her generation, Kay was preceded in death by her loving husband, Bruce L., and son, Bruce Edward. She is survived by daughter-in-law Leora Kline of Kettering, OH; son Frank (Rhonda) Kline of Seattle, WA; daughters Carolyn (Patrick) Gaughan of Wichita, Miriam (Willis) Overholt of Wichita, and Celeste (Gary) Cranston of Seattle; grandchildren April Kline (David) Bush, Jonathan (Jackie) Kline, Karly (Eric) Marshall, Kerri (Megan) Gibbard Kline, Erin (Michael) Visitacion, Lauren (Daniel) Scislowski, Dan (Sunny) Overholt, Joshua (Rachel) Zahniser-Cranston and Elise (Tyler) Merrill-Cranston; great-grandchildren Kayla Bush, Hanalei Bush, Levi Kline, Bridget Lindberg, Poppynoel Marshall, Zoe Scislowski, and Vincent Myron Gibbard Kline; as well as many nieces, nephews and extended family.

Graveside committal service will be Fri, March 15 at 3pm at the McPherson Cemetery, McPherson, KS. Memorial service will be Sat, March 16 at 10am followed by lunch for all at Northwest Free Methodist Church, 3224 N Tyler Rd, Wichita. Memorial gifts may be made to Central Christian College of Kansas, 1200 S. Main McPherson, KS, to Hope Africa University via Friends of Hope Africa University, PO Box 580, Spring Arbor, MI 49283, and to Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice, 313 South Market Street, Wichita, KS 67202.

To give to the Kay Kline Memorial Fund, go to

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