Obituary: Katherine Lee Anderson

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6/3/1985 – 11/14/2022
Mission, KS (Hometown Lawrence)

On November 14th of 2022, the world lost a bright light. Katherine passed suddenly from a bilateral pulmonary embolism while under the care of medical personnel and her husband, Ryan Clark. There aren’t enough words in any language to describe her positive impact on the world around her. She was kind, thoughtful, had a terrific sense of humor, and improved the lives of anyone she met. When anything happened in life that seemed too difficult to handle, Katherine was there for you. Whether it was a kind message, a flower arrangement, or sending over some food to comfort you, she wouldn’t think about the possibility of needing to provide that, but how fast she could be there or get it to you in times of distress.

Aside from when things were difficult, Katherine found ways daily to contribute to the well-being of others. She donated her time and resources to causes including: United Way, Lead to Read, Christmas in October, Unleashed Pet Rescue, Humane Society of Kansas, as well as others she felt were important including: women’s rights, social justice, LGBTQ+, and many others. While she was giving of herself to others, she also had a love for travel and food. Katherine felt that the world is such a spectacular place, why should anyone sit still and leave it unexplored? Traveling across Europe, South America, and all across the United States fueled her sense of adventure and exploration. While Katherine was very independent and a self-starter, she recognized and appreciated the strong community that she surrounded herself with. It was almost impossible to not instantly appreciate the things about Katherine that made her such a wonderful person and to want to spend more time with her.

Katherine was born to Mary E. Anderson and raised in Lawrence, KS. Mary showed Katherine that to be a participant of this world, you should be invested in the outcome of how you impact it. This set the foundation for how she would develop into the person and woman she turned out to be. Katherine was also largely impacted and shaped by her grandparents: Hazel Katherine Anderson, and Raymond Leroy “Andy” Anderson, who had their own beautiful love story and built a family business in Lawrence, Anderson Rentals. Growing up in a family business is a unique experience, filled with the hustle and bustle of building community, sharing the successes and failures with family and friends, and having a positive impact on the people who work there. One aspect of this experience that Katherine particularly enjoyed is the sense of belonging that she had with the employees who were like extended family. Katherine would regale others with stories about holiday parties that her grandparents hosted where she would help with preparation of the meals and fill her ears with the hearty laughs that rang through the house. Katherine adored her grandparents and spent many hours, days, and years at their home, learning from them and feeling their love.

She participated in many activities including Girl Scouts, was an honorary Junior Ranger as her family traveled to National Parks across the United States, loved traveling to different places with her family, and spent many days and weeks swimming in their pool. Not only did Katherine have an eclectic taste for things, but also pushed and challenged herself to great heights in her personal and professional life. After graduating with her MBA, she worked at Kiewit where she quickly proved her value as a subcontracts expert, spending a few years in California on a project where she developed and managed the subcontracts and enjoyed living in a part of the US she hadn’t before.

One of the many admirable qualities about Katherine is she was never afraid to take a leap and jump into something that she didn’t know or understand. That type of courage is uncommon and opened many doors for her as she ascended to the places that she set out to achieve. Eventually, she landed at Black & Veatch as a subcontracts professional. She helped to develop and enhance their processes and structure within the domain and after several years was promoted to be the subcontracts leader for the entire company. To some, this may seem impressive, and it was, but if you knew Katherine, when she set her sights on something as a goal, she rarely missed.

2020 brought about many challenges for everyone, and while the world stopped in countless ways, Katherine and Ryan, her husband, hunkered down and did everything possible to make the best of a less than ideal situation. Doing puzzles, escape room games, telling stories about childhood, aspirations of what could be when the world started moving again, and planning a wedding after a 2019 engagement was plenty to keep them busy and engaged with one another. Fast forward to 2021 where they found out they would have a son and bring another human into this world, a child of their love. In December 2021, Henry Dean Anderson Clark was born. While Katherine had compassion and love for more than a few lifetimes to spare, that capacity was increased tenfold when she set eyes on her little boy. Katherine and Ryan instantly fell in love with their son and set out to make their life as filled with joy and passion for him as possible.

Earlier that month, Katherine and Ryan were married at a small carriage house in Overland Park and shared that experience with close friends and family. It was perfect for them and a wonderful expression of their love and partnership toward one another. Katherine always had a knack for planning a good time for others — parties, birthdays, or any other event was right up her alley and you knew that if she was at the helm, it would be a memorable time. Her thoughtfulness was only surpassed by her kindness for others.

Katherine was active politically, a proud member of the Democratic Party, and she participated in local, state, and federal elections at any opportunity. She felt that to live in a society, you had an obligation to exercise the right to vote and to speak out when injustice occurred, especially to those who didn’t have the voice to fight back. While Katherine often voiced when things weren’t going the way they should, she also showed tremendous hope for a better tomorrow, consistently telling her friends and family that if we band together and meet adversity together, it can and will be overcome.

Katherine is survived by her husband; Ryan Clark; son, Henry Dean Anderson Clark, both of Kansas City; mother, Mary E. Anderson; brother, Andy Anderson; uncle, William A. “Bill” Anderson; all of Lawrence.

The family requests that any donations be made to Girl Scouts of America, United Way, a local charity of your choosing, time dedicated to helping and serving others in honor of her legacy, and being invested in the world around you.

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