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1942 Kyra 2024

Kyra Raye Grace

November 24, 1942 — June 3, 2024

Amarillo, Texas

Obituaries have a traditional format, one that outlines what to highlight about a person’s life. It suggests you identify certain logistics—place of birth and death; where one graduated high school; all the places they lived and worked; and a list of surviving family members. Although these plot points give the reader an overall sense of the person’s life trajectory, they don’t really capture the themes, the words and descriptions, that really give us insight into WHO the person was and HOW they influenced others. So let me get the plot points out of the way, so we can focus on what really matters. 

 

Kyra Raye Grace, daughter of Eldon and Lucille Nuttall, was born on November 24, 1942 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At the age of five, she moved to Midwest, Wyoming where she involved herself in all manner of activities, graduated from the only high school in town, and met the man who would become her husband. After getting married, she moved to Amarillo, Texas and had two daughters. She was a homemaker until her divorce after which she got a job with the Veterans Administration, resulting in her moving to Seattle and then Dallas. When she retired, she returned to Amarillo until her dementia required a transition to Burleson, Texas where she died on June 3, 2024.

 

With my nod to tradition now finished, I want to focus on who mom was and the impact she had on my sister and me. To do so, we have chosen three words. The first word is beauty. Our mom was beautiful and created beauty wherever she went. With her sparkly outfits, bejeweled fingers and ears, and artistically applied makeup, mom’s first canvas and preferred mode of creative expression was her appearance. However, her artistic flair also found outlets in more traditional ways. She loved to paint and draw portraits, many of which hang in the homes of friends and family. Not only did she decorate the homes of others with her art, but she also poured her passion for design and decoration into the two homes she had built. Her eye for color and her bold style made everything she touched unique. Our world was more vibrant and beautiful because of her.

 

The second word is fighter. Like many women of her generation, mom had not prepared herself to enter the workforce but rather to be a wife and mother. However, when she divorced in her mid-40s, she found herself searching for a way to provide for herself. Despite not having a college degree and only having “homemaker” on her resume, mom rebuilt a life for herself. Her courage, perseverance, and fortitude inspired my sister and me, giving us a living example of just how strong women can be. In fact, it was our mom who taught us how to “fight like a girl,” so much so that when we encountered our own hardships, we had the resources we needed because mom had instilled them in us. Mom always told us that we could do anything we set our mind to, that our potential as women was limitless. We believed her because we watched her do it.

 

Our final word is love. Words are not big enough to encapsulate the type of love that exists between a mother and her children. As mothers, my sister and I know that this love is not always perfect but is unconditional and enduring. Our mom loved us, never stopped believing in us, and always wanted the best for us. We were not the only recipients of this love. Her family and friends also experienced the warmth of her presence and affection.

 

Others could have written this obituary differently. They would have used different words to describe her. Her twin sister, Myra Howard, might have told you about their childhood or their conversations about how this world is going to hell in a handbasket. Watching those two together was like watching stand-up comedy (although they weren’t trying to make anyone laugh). Her grandkids might have told you stories of her constant questions about their love lives or their experiences in school. If her cats could talk, they would tell you how she treated them like royalty. Obviously, this obituary cannot contain all the stories, but one thing is certain--Kyra Raye Grace made an impact on everyone she met.

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Saturday, June 8, 2024

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