"Kay" Mary Kathleen Fitzgerald

Sunday, September 10th, 1939 - Saturday, August 1st, 2020
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Missoula, MT – “Kay” (Mary Kathleen) Fitzgerald, age 80, passed away of natural causes,
on Saturday, August 1, 2020 at St. Patrick’s Hospital, Missoula, Montana.
A long time Madison, WI, resident, Kay was born in Armstrong, Iowa on September 10, 1939
to Edward and Kathleen (Callahan) Fitzgerald. She graduated from Armstrong High School
in 1957 and attended Briar Cliff College, Sioux City, Iowa, attaining a degree in Business
Education with an emphasis in Accounting in 1961. She married Donald Severson of
Ruthven, Iowa on June 9, 1963. They had two children, Thomas John in 1966 and Diane
Marie in 1969. They lived in Emmetsburg and Madrid, Iowa, and two summers in Greeley,
Colorado before relocating to Madison, Wisconsin in December, 1972. Kay lived and worked
in Madison for the next 41 years, before following Tom out to Missoula, Montana for her
Kay worked at Ray-o-Vac Corp. for a brief stint once her children were in elementary school,
before becoming a legal secretary for the Madison law firm Bakken, Feifarek and Taylor. In
the late 1980’s she began working as a payroll clerk and librarian for the Biochemistry
department at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she remained until her
retirement in 2008.
Kay was a very musical person having played the piano and bassoon from an early age.
While still in school she began playing the organ for St. Mary’s Catholic Church in
Armstrong. She played the organ for many churches over the years; Our Lady Queen of
Peace, St. Mary’s Hospital, St. James’ and most notably, St. Joseph’s Church, all of
Madison. She had a beautiful soprano voice and sang in church, the UW Choral Union and
the Diocesan Choir of Madison. She played the organ and occasionally sang for many a
wedding and funeral over the years.
Kay was always smiling and had a kind word for everyone. She loved to laugh and share
funny things on Facebook. She got the gift of the gab through her Irish heritage and was
always available for a chat. She was the living embodiment of her favorite prayer, “The
Prayer of St. Francis”: She brought love, hope, light, and joy to the world. She always
consoled, understood and loved everyone. She pardoned everyone, and gave everything. It
is in dying that she is born to eternal life.
She is preceded in death by her parents and her beloved brother Eugene Fitzgerald, and her
niece Colleen McNamara. She is survived by her two children, Tom (Barb) Severson,
Missoula, MT, and Diane Severson (Magnus) Mori, London, UK, her grandsons, Samuel
Fitzgerald Severson and Dante Igino Mori, her sister-in-law, Marjorie Fitzgerald and many
cousins, nieces, nephews and dear friends. She was a second mother to many. She will be
missed by so many.

A private service will take place at Garden City Funeral Home, Missoula, MT, with a
celebration of life at a later date. The service can be viewed live below on August 6 at 1:00pm

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in Kay’s name to St. Patricks Hospital, c/o
Providence Montana Health Foundation, 502 W. Spruce St, Missoula MT, 59802, St.
Josephs Catholic Church, 1905 W. Beltline Highway, Madison, WI, 59713, Briar Cliff
University, 3303 Rebecca St., Sioux City, IA, 51104, or the American Diabetes Association.

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Service Details

A private service is being held on August 6th but can be viewed live at the link above,


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Patty Wood

Posted at 04:08pm
One of my fondest memories of Kay involved a particular Sunday at St. Joseph’s Church. When I got to mass to sing in the choir with her she informed us that we were having a substitute priest. She didn’t know his name at the time but she had seen him come to get ready so she told us she named him” father easy on the eyes“ .- since he was quite handsome! Kay always had the best sense of humor! Kay was such a lovely and kind lady.
I can’t picture her without a smile. I met her at a time in my life when I needed to see smiles. She never failed me.
The angel choirs have gotten a beautiful soprano.
Love, Patty Wood

Diane Severson Mori Posted at 02:59am

My mother inherited a humorous way with words from her father (which I unfortunately did not inherit), which was always good for a chuckle. And she always appreciated good-looking men! Thank you for this memory!

Kathryn Holtgraver

Posted at 03:25pm
Kay was a such a kind, warm friend from many years ago. My deepest sympathy to her family. May she Rest In Peace and Power.
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Diane Severson Mori Posted at 03:04am

Thank you, Kathryn. She talked about you, and we know she loved you!

Katrina and Jim Lemens

Posted at 12:47pm
When Jim and I moved back to Madison in 2000 we had a fire and lost most of our belongings. As a musician, the loss of my collection of musical scores was particularly difficult. I was going back to school to get certified to teach, Jim was an apprentice so I was doing church gigs to supplement our meager income. Kay was helpful and generous by helping me find the music I needed and also sent a few jobs my way. Tom and Diane, your Mom was special to us and we have many good memories of her.
Rest in Peace Kay.
Jim and Katrina Lemens

Diane Severson Mori Posted at 03:00am

She was so generous. I’m glad some of it came your way.

Jim and Katrina Lemens

Posted at 12:36pm
In loving memory of a kind, generous woman and musician.
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Jay and Bernadette Gagen and Family

Posted at 03:12pm
A wonderful memory of Kay this tree will provide...much love
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