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In Memory

Judy McKenna

January 10, 2014

Judy McKenna passed away peacefully in her home on January 3, being cared for by her family, just as she wished it to be.

Judy McKennaShe had been diagnosed just eleven months previously with a malignant brain tumor.

She was born in Lawrence, Kansas, on November 7, 1941, to John and Mary Ellen Sheaks. She attended East High for one year and then moved to Southeast High when it opened. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 1963. She met and married Thomas McKenna in Germany in 1965, they moved to Colorado in 1975 with their son KC, and were later divorced. Judy went on to earn two more degrees from Colorado State University, and a PhD from the Oklahoma State University. She married William D. Kruse in Ft. Collins, on November 9, 1985, blending their two families into a unit of seven.

Judy's career included many different roles: a long-time involvement at Colorado State University as a professor and Extension specialist in the area of family resource management; member of numerous committees at department, college, university, state and national levels. She was successful in acquiring many grant dollars for funding numerous practical programs for the community members she served, which included many high school financial education activities and retirement planning programs for seniors. For her CSU Extension work she developed many software programs that were used throughout the state.

Judy has been recognized over the years for her many contributions by receiving a number of awards, such as the Impact Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the Anderson Distinguished Service Award for CSU Extension Personnel; and the Outstanding Financial Education Program Award from the Association of Financial Planning and Education.

If you think this list of accomplishments is long, you should see what we left out.

Another noteworthy accomplishment of hers, in which she took enormous satisfaction, was helping to launch a significant community-based mentoring program for women, called Women of the Year. Many people know her for the column she wrote for the Coloradoan newspaper on financial planning.

Depending on which family member, friend or colleague you would ask about Judy, you would hear different descriptors of her roles: beloved wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister; loyal friend; caregiver; active member of the Unitarian Church; vocal advocate for causes she believed in; avid reader and bridge player; community and political activist; hard worker; idea generator and implementer; worldwide traveler (Bill says they didn't miss a country); supporter of the arts; proud member of Pi Beta Phi and alum of the University of Kansas.

No matter whom you speak to about Judy, you will hear the same descriptors of her character and personality: energetic, cheerful, determined, tireless, positive, enthusiastic, loyal, loving, encouraging, compassionate, organized, respectful, creative, practical, inventive, fun loving.

She is survived by her husband, William D. Kruse of Ft. Collins; her children KC McKenna (Alexandria, Izzabelle, Chance) of Ft. Collins; Jean Kruse of Miami, Fl; Julia Doria (Luis) of Denver; John W. and Tracie Kruse (Paulina, Delancey) of Denver; Joseph and Sarah Kruse (Jackson, Sawyer, Wylie) of Ft. Collins; her father, John Sheaks, of Wichita, KS; her sister Susy Sheaks Hammons (Josh, Carey Hammons Parks and Rusty) of Pittsburg, KS, and Carey's children Avery and Nate; her brother, Mickey Sheaks and wife, Mary Nelson of Wichita. She was preceded in death by her mother, Mary Ellen Sheaks.

A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. The Lincoln Center on Friday, January 17,  in the Canyon West Ballroom. To please Judy, all are invited to wear at least a little something red. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to your favorite local charity.

Memories can be shared at the following online tribute wall!/TributeWall.