Kathleen ‘Kay’ Vance " sponsored obituary | TheUnion.com
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Kathleen ‘Kay’ Vance " sponsored obituary

Kathleen was born Jan. 23, 1915 in LeQuire, Oklahoma. Her father owned an ice cream parlor, and later worked for the Oklahoma Pipeline Company as a telegraph operator.

Every Saturday, for four years, she rode the train to take “classical” piano lessons. One Saturday, she heard a Benny Goodman song that changed everything. She was hooked on Big Band and Boogie Woogie. She would never play classical

music again! She did, however, provide all the piano accompaniments for the local Baptist Church and school productions.



During the depression, the family moved to a 160 acre farm in Arkansas, where Kathleen graduated from Charleston High School, then joined the National Youth Administration.

From 1940 to 1942 she was married to Louis Hudson, and had her first daughter, Phyllis.




In January, 1944, she married Robert (Bob) Vance, a good looking soldier she met while she worked at the Fort Chaffee Army Post Exchange. While he fought in General Patton’s Army in Europe, Kay had another daughter, Sharlene.

His safe return in 1945 was celebrated, and in 1946, they moved to North Columbia,

California, where they opened a small grocery, bar, and gas station with his war bonds an her savings, calling it, “BOB & KAY’S.” Kay ran the store most of the time while Bob worked his gold claims. Later they bought a sawmill partnership in Columbia Hill called Spring Creek Lumber Company. Throughout the 1950s, Kay played piano in various combo bands on the weekends. She played at Peterson’s Corner, the Gold Nugget Inn, and other venues. In 1953 she had her third daughter, Linda.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Kay and Bob lived in Oregon, but spent many summers in California. After 19 years in Oregon, they returned to Grass Valley to retire. In 1990, Bob passed away. In 2002, Kay moved to Sacramento, CA, to live with her daughter, Linda.

Kay loved music and her family. She was the glue and the family matriarch. She had a way of making everyone feel loved. She had a keen sense of humor, and a wisdom all her own.

She is survived by her daughters Phyllis Hess, Sharlene Jackson, and Linda Bennett, and her four siblings, Adrian Kaylor, Wilma Culberson, and Louise Reynolds; six grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life tribute at Seaman’s Lodge, Pioneer Park, Nevada City, will be held following services.


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