Cover photo for Gay McClain's Obituary

Gay McClain

September 3, 1935 — December 30, 2023

Sabetha, Kansas

Gay McClain

Alice Gay McClain, age 88, of Sabetha, Kansas, passed away peacefully at home with her daughters by her side on Saturday, December 30, 2023.  

Gay was born on September 3, 1935, in Columbus, Kansas, to Duncan, Jr. and Ophel (Case) Cunningham, and grew up in Columbus, Kansas.  She graduated from Columbus High School in 1953 and Pittsburg State University in 1957 with a BA in Language and Literature and a minor in music.

Gay married Eugene Smith McClain, Jr., in 1960 in Columbus, Kansas.   They had two daughters, Lisa Kay and Suzanne.  

Gay’s teaching career began at Central Jr. High and Arrowhead Jr. High Schools in Kansas City, Kansas, for four and a half years, followed by Spencer Consolidated School in Southeast Kansas for two years.  Her tenure at USD #441 in Sabetha began in 1967 and concluded with her retirement in May 1997.  While at Sabetha High School, she accompanied vocalists on the piano for many school musicals and sponsored the Junior Class and KAYS (Kansas Association for Youth).   She was a member of KARSP (Kansas Association of Retired School Personnel).

Gay was a member of NorthRidge Church in Sabetha.  She played the piano and organ for church services, and she accompanied the choir for many years.  She was active in Women’s Ministries and volunteered for various projects at church. 

Gay loved to read, especially mysteries and thrillers, work on jigsaw puzzles, and play games on the computer.  As her eyesight worsened, she was no longer able to sew or play the piano, two of her deepest passions.  

Gay was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Eugene, in 1972; her brother, Kent; an infant sister; and a nephew.  

Gay is survived by her two daughters, Lisa Iffland (Donald Gosha’) of Chicago, Illinois, and Suzanne (Jerry) Gum of Johnson, Kansas; four grandsons, Bret, Gunner (Natasha), Adrian, and Jeffrey Gum; two granddaughters, Carlee and Samantha Gum; two nieces, LeaAnne Bogart of Wymore, Nebraska, and Sue Cunningham of Parsons, Kansas; and one nephew, Ken Cunningham of Pittsburg, Kansas.    

A private Celebration of Life Memorial Service and inurnment were held in March.   A public visitation with the family will be held on Saturday, May 25, 2024, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the NorthRidge Church in Sabetha for family, friends, and Sabetha High School alumni to share their stories and special memories of Gay.    

Memorial contributions are suggested to CAPS (Community Animal Protection Society), the Sabetha Sharks Swim Team, and the Mary Cotton Public Library, all in Sabetha.  Memorials may be sent in care of Popkess Mortuary, 823 Virginia, Sabetha, Kansas 66534.   
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gay McClain, please visit our flower store.

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