Kay MacDonald

We gather this morning to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Kay MacDonald.

Isaiah wrote these words of comfort from the Lord, “do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you’ I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isa. 41:10

Paul wrote these words about having an eternal perspective on life,

We do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal.

Please pray with me,

Our Father, we bow before you as the one who is ruler over all things including life and death.  We ask you to draw near to us this day as we mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Kay MacDonald.  Help us to remember and strengthen our hope.  We ask these things in the name of Christ. Amen.

Kay L. (Tamblyn) Macdonald was born April 18, 1952 to Phyllis and the late Earl Tamblyn . She married Donald Pfeiffle on June 7,1975. He preceded her in death on July 31, 1993. Kay married Humphrey (Mac) MacDonald on October 13, 1995. She died June 14, 2010 after a very brief battle with cancer. She is survived by her daughter

Kelly (Eric) Rothermal

and her step children:

Tela (Nathan) Geiger &

Ian MacDonald.

She is also survived by her siblings

James (Peggy) Tamblyn,

Connie (James) Fontana,

Tammy (James) Rummel

and her seven grandchildren.


Kay MacDonald was a woman with a big heart. She not only was an intelligent and attractive woman, she was also a beautiful woman. She loved helping others. Whether they were struggling with an addiction, lonely, or troubled in some other way, Kay was there with a smile and some straight-forward advice….whether they wanted it or not. She lived by a simple philosophy, “A hug a day will keep delinquency away.”

Kay and her sisters were known for the “Tamblyn Girls Laugh”.  The family grew up very close and Kay was able to spend the last few weeks with her dad.  She grew up as someone who was organized and pushed for excellence. She became a Pharmacist and was good at her job.  She grew up believing you should do as you were told.

Kay saw life in terms of black and white. There was right and wrong. There was good and evil. There was the truth and there were lies. Kay told you what she was thinking and would allow you to do the same. It was a very refreshing quality.

When she had Kelly she always wanted to have the kids come over to her house where she could keep an eye on them. Many people remember the fun of swimming parties in the backyard of Don and Kay’s home. Kay loved Kelly very much. Their relationship seemed to grow and deepen as the years went on.

When Don died suddenly Kay felt lost for a while. She has always remained a part of Don’s family and Mac became part of that family as well.

Mac and Kay met at a Divorce and Widows Recovery Group in 1993. Mac will fill you in on the details. They became friends and after a while began doing some things together. They were married in October of 1995 in Las Vegas. Kay welcomed Tela and Ian as well as Mac’s dad and the dogs. It was fun for Kay to see her family expand so quickly. Their home was a place where people knew they could go to talk or find counsel. Kim became like an adopted daughter. Kay helped sponsor many in various programs. She was well liked by everyone who knew her.

Mac was a good fit for Kay. With Mac Kay learned to relax a little more and have some fun. She became a little less “anal”.  Mac was always making her laugh and smile. They enjoyed doing things together but were comfortable giving each other freedom as well. It is always special when two people are able to begin again. It is a testament to the fact that God can take the broken pieces of our lives and make them into something special.

Kay really liked being a Grandma. Jacob always called Kay “Big Grandma” because she was so tall. She enjoyed the time with the kids and appreciated the fact that she could take the time to be with them.

Kay enjoyed and appreciated food. Not long ago she ate a big Barbecue Beef sandwich and some fruit. At the same time she enjoyed being able to get back into thin jeans again. She especially enjoyed wearing those jeans to the Friday night fish fries.

Kay made many trips to see children and Grandchildren and also was able to go to Scotland with Mac. Kay squeezed a good deal of living into her years.

Kay’s work in recovery groups with Mac led her to seek a deeper relationship with God herself. She understood that people need the help of someone greater than themselves. She had her favorite Bible teachers and had attended at least one Bible Study group and learned to draw strength from the Lord. It was a strength she was going to need.

It was less than two months ago that Kay had concern over a persistent cough which led to the cancer diagnosis.  You can learn a great deal about a person from the way they handle a crisis. Some fall to pieces. Some choose a destructive path. Others, like Kay, face the facts and deal with them in the most faithful way possible.

Kay knew what was happening to her. She had watched her dad die of cancer. Throughout the ordeal Kay kept her sense of humor.

  • One day when Kay was in the hospital, she needed some cortisone cream and no one was paying any attention. So, she used her best Pharmacist voice and using a Doctor’s name, called down to the Pharmacy and ordered the cream to be delivered to her room immediately.  When it promptly arrived Kay wondered, “What else do I want or need?
  • Kay liked to watch soap operas. One day in the hospital she said her sister, “Mac always told me that if I kept watching soap operas my brain was going to turn to mush.  And now it is starting to happen.”
  • Her smile and love were reflected as she posted things on Facebook about her condition.
  • She was tough. She traveled to Phoenix even though (unbeknownst to her she had one lung partially collapsed).
  • Kay told her family that she didn’t want to be treated like an invalid until she was actually an invalid. We are all grateful that it never came to that.

Kay died quietly and peacefully, just as she wanted. She didn’t want to die but she also wasn’t afraid to die.  She leaves behind a host of people who have been touched helped and blessed though her.


Let’s face it; there is nothing fun about a funeral.  As we gather today our hearts are heavy.  You are never ready to let go of the people you love.  It doesn’t matter how much you tried to prepare, you are never ready to let go of someone you love.

I share a couple of things today.  First, I want you to know that grief is normal.  It’s ok to cry.  It’s normal to be angry.  It’s appropriate to be numb and perhaps feel nothing.  When you love someone, it hurts to lose that person.  When you love someone sometimes you physically can’t comprehend the loss, so your system shuts down for a while.  You get numb.  This is God’s way of helping us cope.

In the Bible we read examples of people who grieved. When King David’s infant son was dying, he fasted, prayed, and pleaded with God to save the child’s life.  But the child died.  When his older son died he wept loudly.  Abraham mourned for his wife Sarah.  Jeremiah wept over the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus his friend.  Tears are appropriate.  Author Max Lucado writes,


Those tiny drops of humanity. Those round, wet balls of fluid that tumble from our eyes, creep down our cheeks, and splash on the floor of our hearts. They are always present at such times. They should be, that’s their job. They are miniature messengers; on call twenty-four hours a day to substitute for crippled words. They drip, drop, and pour from the corner of our souls, carrying with them the deepest emotions we possess. They tumble down our faces with announcements that range from the most blissful joy to darkest despair.

The principle is simple; when words are most empty, tears are most apt.

A tearstain on a letter says much more than the sum of all its words. A tear falling on a casket says what a spoken farewell never could. What summons a mother’s compassion and concern more quickly than a tear on a child’s cheek? What gives more support than a sympathetic tear on the face of a friend?

That task, my friend, was left for the tears.

               (Max Lucado, No Wonder They Call Him the Savior.)

Grief is normal and appropriate.  Kay wouldn’t want you to stand at her grave and weep . . .but tears are fitting. Do not be embarrassed by your grief . . . it testifies to your love.

There is a second thing I need to say to you: there is more to life than what we see.

In some respects, it’s easy to dismiss the whole notion of life beyond the grave as something we need to say in order to get through the hard times.  But I don’t think eternity is an illusion.  There is an instinct inside of us that screams that there is more to life than what we see. The greatest evidence for life beyond the grave is the Resurrection of Jesus. The factual nature of this event is, I believe, overwhelming.  The facts detail the reality of His death. He had not passed out . . .His heart had been pierced and He was certainly dead. Three days later His grave clothes (what was wrapped around Him were still there but His body was not. The tomb was empty even though it was put under guard so no one could steal the body. Hundreds of people testified that they saw Jesus alive for weeks after His death.  Those who saw Him were transformed and emboldened by their encounter. His followers went from hiding to boldly proclaiming the message that Jesus was the One who came to save us. There has been no fact more examined over the centuries than the Resurrection, and no one can give any evidence that Jesus did not rise from the grave.  All of the real evidence points in the other direction.

If Jesus rose from the dead then there must be life beyond the grave.  If He rose from the grave, then He should be the One we listen to and follow.  If He rose from the dead, then we can have hope even in the midst of our own sadness and grief. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life, He who believes in me will live even though he dies and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?”  (John 11)

This is a significant statement. When Jesus said this, He was talking to his dear friends, Mary and Martha at the funeral of their brother, Lazarus.  There are three key points in these words that you need to hear today.  First, notice the promise:  “He who believes in me will live even though he dies and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”  Jesus says there is life beyond the grave.  At another time Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you so that you may be where I am.”

The Bible’s teaching is consistent.  Death is not the end.  There is an existence and life that extends beyond the grave.  It is a life that starts the moment we believe and extend on into eternity.  It is a life that makes this life seem like only a moment. There are two possible destinations: Heaven and Hell. Heaven is a place where pain is abolished, tears of sadness are a thing of the past, confusion and questions are replaced with clarity and understanding. It is a place where God no longer seems distant but where His presence is closer than we can grasp. In Heaven we are fully known and understood. In Heaven we are loved more completely and extend love more freely than our minds are able to conceive. Death for the follower of Christ is not an ending . . . it is the beginning of the real story.

Practically, this means that though we grieve for Kay, we are really grieving for ourselves.  We grieve for our loss, not hers.  She has been delivered from her suffering.  She has entered into her eternity.  We say she has “gone” but in reality, she has simply “gone on”. She can see, hear, and feel like she never has before.

Second, notice the condition of the promise, “He who believes in me.”  There are two common views about Heaven.  One view seems to say that everyone who dies goes to Heaven . . . . .except maybe the really really bad people.  The other view says that those people who live good lives go to Heaven.  The Bible says neither is true.

The Bible tells us that none of us have lived good enough lives to earn God’s favor or what we often think of as “heaven”.  Heaven is for those who are holy and none of us come close to meeting that requirement.  Even the best of us sin . . . and with great regularity.  Think about it, even if we only sinned (did what was wrong in God’s eyes either in thought, word, or deed) three times a day (which would be a staggeringly very good day for most of us), that would be 21 times a week . . . almost a thousand times a year!  By the end of our lives we would have committed tens of thousands of sins. Our sin-debt is greater than we could ever hope to pay.  We don’t even come close to the goodness required for Heaven.

That’s where Jesus comes on the scene. The Bible tells us that Jesus died to pay for the sin we have committed.  The only condition is that we are truly sorry for our wrong-doing and that we are willing to put our hope and confidence in Him. The Bible is clear, only those who sincerely and truly trust Jesus Christ will be granted Heaven.  For the Christian, death is not the end of the story; it is merely the end of the introduction to the story.  Death is meant to be a time of transition.  It is designed by God to lead to a time of new life, reunion and celebration.

Kay understood her need for a Savior. It was Kay’s faith in Christ that leads me to believe she is with Him in Heaven today.

Finally, note the important question that Jesus asked.  Jesus had basically told these two sisters what I have just told you.  Then Jesus asked them a pointed question: “Do you believe this?”  The answer to this question makes a world of difference in how you face this day.  Today is either the height of meaninglessness (we live, we die, that’s it) or it is a day when we put our hope in the promise of God and in the life that comes alone through Jesus Christ. You must decide which view you embrace.

Either way your loss is still going to hurt.  Kay is still gone. That fact is painful and leaves a hole in our lives. However, whether you grieve with a sense of hope or with a sense of despair; whether you view this as the end of Kay’s life or the beginning of her new life rests on how you respond to the Lord. His arms are open.  I pray you will run to Him.

So, I encourage you to remember.  Share your stories about Kay.  Laugh about the fun times, and the silly times.  Celebrate the things she taught you and how much she meant to you.  Remember her well. Celebrate her life and grieve for your loss.

Let me conclude by reminding you of some of the life lessons that Kay taught us,

  • Kay Taught us that Honesty really is the best policy
  • She taught us that hard work and discipline can lead to success
  • She reminds us that family is important and should be enjoyed while you can
  • She taught us (or tried to teach us) that there is a right and a wrong way to organize your kitchen.
  • She taught us even after tragedy there can be blessing
  • She taught us that laughter is a great way to relieve stress.  The louder the better.
  • She taught us that when you help others you experience a rich and unique joy in life and you leave something lasting and special behind even after you have gone to be with the Lord.
  • She reminds us that life is always shorter than we plan so it is best to live life well while we have opportunity.

We are here today because we have been blessed by God through the life of Kay MacDonald. We mourn but we are also very very grateful.


Father, we gather today as those who all have scars, wounds, and failures in our lives. We know we need your amazing grace, mercy and love. We find hope today not in our goodness but in yours. We turn to you as the One who gives new beginnings and rebuilds that which has been broken. You bless us with your kindness and you bless us with special people throughout our lives.

You are the one who brought Kay MacDonald into the world.  Thank you for her life.  Thank you for the things she taught us.  Thank you for the love she extended.  Thank you for the strength she demonstrated. Thank you for the character she displayed.  Father, I ask that you extend to Kay your mercy and your grace.

I pray for this family.  Help them in this time of grief.  Help them to remember the joyful times and what they shared together and as so often happens, took for granted.  Help them to cherish each other.

Help our memories to remain vivid.  Grant us strength in those times when the grief overwhelms us, and help us to carry on in a way that would honor Kay’s memory.


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