Kay Austin McElwee, 81, of Coushatta, Louisiana, passed away on Saturday, January 4, 2020 in Coushatta, Louisiana at her home. Services will be held Monday, January 6, 2020 in Coushatta, Louisiana at 2:00 p.m., with visitation from 1:00 p.m. till 2:00 p.m., at the First United Methodist Church in Coushatta, Louisiana. Officiating will be the Reverend Olan D. McLaren along with Reverend Dr. Paul “Curtis” Carroll, Jr. Burial will follow at Zion Cemetery, Fairview Alpha, Louisiana.
Mrs. McElwee was born on July 27, 1938 in Mansfield, Louisiana to L. Harmon Austin and Opal McKinney Austin. Mrs. McElwee attended St. Vincent’s in Shreveport and graduated from Fairview Alpha High School in 1955. She graduated from Northwestern State University in 1966 with a B.A. in Upper Elementary Education and a minor in math with a 4.0 average.
Mrs. McElwee began her professional life with the Louisiana Department of Education as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor working with mentally challenged young adults in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1966 for 5 years. After moving to Baton Rouge with her family when her husband was appointed as head of the Louisiana Disability Determinations Program, Mrs. McElwee taught school at South Blvd .East. She later worked for State of Louisiana as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for seven years in Baton Rouge.
Mrs. McElwee and her husband returned home to Coushatta in 1980 and she began a second career as an elementary school teacher in 1981 and retired after teaching for 28 years. She taught hundreds of children in first grade and kindergarten at Coushatta Elementary in Red River Parish. She loved teaching and her students were the light of her life. She correctly believed that the love she gave them would stay with them and influence their entire lives.
Mrs. McElwee married the one and only love of her life, John Baxter McElwee “J.B.” and was preceded in death by him in 2012 after 58 years of marriage. She lost her best friend who was also her mother, Opal Austin, in 1999 and missed her every day.
Mrs. McElwee loved music and was a talented pianist. She loved gardening and animals. She was preceded in death by ten cats and three dogs and survived by three cats and one dog, Precious Puppy. She started the Red River Humane Society in 1995 and began rescuing animals of every kind, shape and size from horses to kittens. She always had a beautiful yard, full of color and many flowers were transplanted from her mother’s yard. She planted dozens of trees and had a rose garden at most of her homes. She believed that to “plant a garden is to walk with God”.
Mrs. McElwee was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Coushatta, Louisiana, Noel and St. Luke’s Methodist Churches in Shreveport and First United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was a member of Eastern Star, the Krewe of Romany in Baton Rouge, Tri Psi and Kappa Delta Pi.
Mrs. McElwee is survived by her loving children, John B. McElwee, Jr. (Sherry) of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and Kim K. McElwee (Denise Bergeron) of Metairie, Louisiana, grandsons Justin Sheriden McElwee (Anoush) of Brooklyn, New York and Sean Austin McElwee (Mandy Lane) of Orlando, Florida and three great grandchildren, Riley, Emerson Baxter and Kinsley of Orlando, Florida.
Mrs. McElwee is also survived by her brother, L. Harmon Austin, Jr. of Orlando, Florida, cousin Nevelyn Faith Brown of Shreveport, brother-in-law, Michael M. McElwee and his wife, sister-in-law Beverly McElwee of Fairview Alpha, sister-in-law Laverne McElwee of Natchitoches, Louisiana. She is also survived by nieces, Tanya Austin Valente and Kathy Tingle and nephews L. Harmon Austin III “Trey”, Kenneth Wayne Austin, Gary McElwee, Jerry McElwee, Danny McElwee and Michael McElwee and many great nieces and nephews.
She is also survived by her dear neighbors Faith Fields, who brought her much joy, and Trish Gamble who loved her like a second mother and all three shared their great love of animals.
In addition to her parents and husband, Mrs. McElwee was preceded in death by her father-in-law Robert L. McElwee and mother-in-law, Vera Weaver McElwee, brother-in-law Bobby L. McElwee, sister-in-law Eleanor McElwee Cox, brother-in-law A.J. Cox and niece Debra Cox and nephew Wendell Cox.
The family wishes to thank Mrs. McElwee’s angels on earth, her caregivers, Brenda Taylor, Cynthia Clark, Sharon Miller and Jeannette Whitaker. We cannot imagine life without you. The family also wishes to express deep heartfelt gratitude for the life-long, ever devoted care from Dr. Wyche Coleman. In her final days, the Natchitoches Hospice and especially Hailey Roberts were special and will never be forgotten.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the First United Methodist Church of Coushatta or the St. Charles Parish Humane Society.