Tracy Ann (Vanatta) Lenihan

Tracy Ann (Vanatta) Lenihan, age 53, passed away at the Kansas City Hospice House on Wednesday, November 7, after courageously battling metastatic breast cancer for over two and a half years. She was mentally alert almost to the end, and enjoyed the many visits of her family and friends, including visits from Sadie, the family’s dog.
Tracy was born at the North Kansas City Hospital. She attended grade school in Overland Park, junior high school in Dallas, and high school at New Trier West in Winnetka, IL, graduating in 1977. She matriculated to the University of Kansas, was a member of the Tau Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi, and graduated from KU in 1981. Moving to Dallas she worked several years for Taylor Publishing Co., a publisher of yearbooks, as a Sales Staff Coordinator. While there she adopted Holly Berry, the cat she dearly loved for many years.
Tracy moved to Kansas City in 1989. She worked for Sprint Corp. for 16 years. While at Sprint she met her husband, Jim, a fellow worker. Tracy and Jim were married in the First United Methodist Church of Lawrence in 1991 and they were happily married for 21 years. They were blessed with the birth of two sons, Grady and Griffin, now a junior and a freshman at Blue Valley West.
Before tumors spread to her brain, Tracy enjoyed outings the past year to Sun Valley, ID, North Fork Dude Ranch in Shawnee, CO, and Tucson, AZ, where she hiked, snow skied, rafted, and went horseback riding. She was truly an inspiration to all that knew her!
Her family, neighbors, friends, and sorority sisters were very supportive during her extended illness. Two groups that she especially enjoyed were monthly meetings of “Bunko” and “GNO” (Girls Night Out).
Tracy is survived by her husband, Jim, and sons Grady and Griffin of Overland Park; her parents, Chester and Patsy Vanatta of Leawood; her brother, Chris (Page) Vanatta of Plymouth, MN; her brother, Scott, of Overland Park; her niece and nephew, Layne and Reid Vanatta, of Plymouth; her nephew and niece, Dylan and Emma Vanatta, of Overland Park; her uncle, Benny (Vicki) Vanatta and nephew Nick of Monkey Island, OK; her aunt, Ann (Harry) Jett of Salina; and her many friends, including her best friend since 3rd grade, Linda Starling of Olathe, Kim Salanski of Overland Park, Ann White of Coppell, TX, and her YMCA Livestrong group.
Also surviving are Jim’s family, including his parents, Leo and Rita Lenihan of Council Bluffs, IA; his brother Tim (Kelly) of Omaha; brother Pat (Deb) of Omaha; sister Mary Ann (Kevin) Rose of Bettendorf, IA; and by 11 nieces and nephews.
She and Jim are members of the Church of the Resurrection (COR). A Memorial Service will be held in the Wesley Covenant Chapel of COR at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 15. The service will be officiated by Rev. Nancy Pauls. Tracy’s ashes will be interred in the Memorial Gardens Columbarium at COR. The church is located at 13720 Roe Avenue, Leawood KS.
An endowed scholarship fund in Tracy’s memory has been established at Kansas University. Memorial gifts may be made to the K.U. Endowment Association, P.O. Box 928, Lawrence, KS 66044, the American Cancer Society, or the charity of your choice.
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