Mary Kathleen Reese

April 5, 1946 - May 6, 2022

Mary Kathleen “Kathi” Reese, 76, of Whitewright, Texas, died Friday, May 6, 2022, at a nursing home in Denison, Texas. The cause of death was cancer. 

Kathi was born Mary Kathleen Boyd on April 5, 1946 in Dallas. She grew up in the city’s historic Oak Cliff neighborhood with her parents, Mary Elizabeth and Louis, and her two sisters Nancy and Peggy. She graduated from Dallas’s Adamson High School in 1964 and studied journalism at Texas Tech University and North Texas State University. 

Kathi began her newspaper career at the Denton Record-Chronicle and worked for years as a features editor at the Dallas Times Herald. She later worked at Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine. She wrote for Entertainment Weekly

She retired to Whitewright, Texas, to be near her daughter and grandchildren. 

Kathi is survived by her daughter JoAnna Davenport, her grandchildren Cody, Justin, and Emma Davenport, and her sisters Nancy Woodruff and Peggy Aston.

Kathi was an artist and storyteller her entire life. She was a devoted friend, and always partial to people who loved to have a great time. (She loved to host parties—she once threw a moving-in party on the same day she moved into her first house.) And she was a fighter—a breast cancer survivor and an independent soul with deep convictions. (Her first deeply held belief was that she was more of a “Kathi” than a “Kathy,” so she changed the spelling at 16.) 

Kathi loved music from an early age. Andy Williams, Johnny Marthis, and Robert Goulet were always on the turntable growing up. And she sang both in Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church’s famed youth choir and Adamson High School’s Select Chorus, where she especially loved performing three-part harmony. 

She was a font of pop-culture knowledge—movie trivia especially. Before the Internet, family members would frequently call Kathi when they couldn’t remember who was in a certain movie or TV show. She always knew the answer. “Greta Garbo!” or “Michael Douglas!” she’d say in a way that suggested she was hoping for more of a challenge. It was impossible to stump her. 

She loved her cats and gave them all great names, from Beaucoup (pronounced “BOO-coo”) to Jean Jimmy.

She was a top-notch baker and an all-around great cook. ” Gamma bread,” named after her grandmother, was a favorite.

But no identity was more important to Kathi than daughter, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and cousin. She and her daughter were inseparable in those days when they lived on Edgefield Avenue—they were great friends as much as they were family. Kathi often reminisced in great detail about growing up on Adams Street in Oak Cliff or day trips out to visit an aunt and uncle’s farm. The Dallas Times Herald published two moving pieces by Kathi about her family—“Daddy’s Girl,” about her father, and “A Texas Chronicle,” a story about how her ancestors Lizzie Groom and Jim Boyd and Luke Heiskell each moved from towns in Kentucky and Alabama to new and better, but not necessarily less difficult, lives in Texas. In that story, Kathi wrote: 

Some Texans can lay claim to more generations of more exciting family histories within the borders of the state. There are no Texas warriors in my family’s past, no battlers at the Alamo of San Jacinto, no statesmen, no powerful ranchers or oilmen… But the Boyds and the Heiskells following the promise of a better life were typical of the American immigrants who flocked to Texas in the late 1800s and early 1900s… The Texas mystique lured the rich and the poor, the power seekers and those seeking simply means to stay alive. 

Later in life, Kathi took up needlepoint and created intricate works of art that she gave as gifts to family and friends. She lovingly designed each piece, turning a line of text—a quote from a cherished book, a stanza from a poem, the words “Native Texan” for a family member who’d moved out of the state—into a piece of custom typographical art. These small works represented a lifetime of thoughtfulness, craft, dignity, devotion, and, most importantly, love. 

A memorial service will be held at 12:00 noon, Saturday, May 14, 2022 at Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Funeral Home in Allen, Texas. The service will also be live streamed at on Kathleen’s obituary page by clicking on the following link:







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JoAnna and family, I am so sorry for your loss of your mom and grandmother. May God comfort ya’ll and our prayers are for y’all. Brenda Schickedanz, May 10, 2022 My condolences to Kathi's family. We were great friends both in school and our church.
Phyllis Milburn Ebensberger , May 9, 2022 My sister, Kathi was one of the most intelligent and well-read people I’ve ever known. She took great pleasure in being absolutely matchless at every trivia competition she took part in! Peggy Aston, May 9, 2022