Cover photo for Keisha A. Clay's Obituary
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1984 Keisha 2019

Keisha A. Clay

December 19, 1984 — June 19, 2019

Keisha Archelle Clay, loving and cherished daughter, lived in Overland Park, Kansas, and passed away on Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at the age of 34. Keisha was born on December 19, 1984 in Kansas City, Missouri, to Carla and Lawrence Clay, and became the beloved daughter (and aka princess as she referred) to Frank Smocks in 1998. Keisha graduated from St. Teresa’s Academy in 2003 after a fun and spirit filled high school journey where she excelled in leadership, spirit and dance. She was a four-year dance team member of the St. Teresa Stars and ended as captain of the talented team earning many awards. Keisha loved and excelled in dance from her early years as a dancer beginning at age three. She was shining from the very start and auditioned and became part of the elite dance team at Monica’s School of dance. She spent over ten years with her dance mates and participated and earned honors in numerous dance competitions over the nation and auditioned and performed in the musical Grease at Starlight Theater. During those years she also participated in pageants earning awards and recognition. She won the Little Miss AKA pageant in 1995 where she stole the stage with her talented dance earning her the title of Ms. Talent; her poised presence and response to the questions from the judges; her overall participation points and her beautiful smiling personality. Keisha was very bright, intelligent and well rounded. After graduation from high school she attended Saint Louis University earning her degree in Communication and African American Studies. During the summers of college, she attended the Children’s Defense Fund Haley Farm of the late Alex Haley for Freedom School training. She was a classroom leader for Freedom School where many children at Palestine Baptist church loved her dearly. During her college years, her brightness earned her internships with the Saint Louis Rams, YMCA and Unique Inc. where she has published work in Who’s Who in Saint Louis. Her love for children and her strong social justice desire led her to work at the Boys and Girls Club after college and an internship with Saint Paul Episcopal Day school as an External Relations Coordinator. During her time at Boys and Girls Club she was the Development and External Affairs Specialist and later became the Director of AmeriCorps Program. Keisha earned her Master’s Degree from Park University in Public Affairs and Government Relations and went directly to work for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). She served the FAA as an Executive Services Analyst, Congressional Liaison and Business Coordinator. Keisha excelled in her work at the FAA earning her competitive selection for the Program for Emerging Leaders. She was a cohort group of ten selected from around the nation to represent the future leaders of the FAA and graduated from the two-year program in 2017. She was also is part of the Federal Executive Board’s Young Government Leaders Program. Keisha was known in the workplace as talented, bright light and kind personality. Keisha’s love for children led her to the staff position at Church of the Resurrection (COR) as the Early Childhood Praise and Worship Coordinator where she worked part-time. She was affectionately known and loved as “Ms. Keisha” by many children at KIDSCOR. All around Overland Park she would run into KIDSCOR children who would excitedly call out “Ms. Keisha” when they saw her around the neighborhoods and city. Prior to this position at COR she served as leader of Propel study and care group for teenagers. Keisha was shaped for ministry and care and was very active around COR serving as a Community Care Minister (CCM) and volunteering in numerous initiatives for COR. Keisha was selected to be a group of leaders Pastor Adam Hamilton took to the Holy Land in 2018 as he sought to pour into the future leaders of the church. She deeply loved COR and built a wide spread diverse community. Keisha’s passion for children led her to the position of Board Member for the Ronald McDonald House Charities Red Shoe Society. Keisha passionately served as board member and led communications. She loved volunteering and sharing in the mission, working with the families and inspiring others to give back. Taken from her own writing about herself, Keisha has a passion for life, family, friends, trying new food, traveling, spin classes, singing and dancing with the kids in KIDSCOR, enjoying life as much as possible and sports as an avid Royals fan. Keisha was known as a socialite and spent her spare time with her many loved friends. Keisha is survived by her loving parents Carla and Frank Smocks and Lawrence Clay and Tammy Pratt; her cherished cousin and stand in sister ToneNae Bradley; grandparents Joe and Ernestine King, Georgia and Frank Smocks; step brothers and sisters Darren and Taylor Clay; Ortez and Avery Smocks; aunts Donna King, Hazel Clay; Brenda Byers, Kiema King and Kayla Brown; uncle Marvin Bradley; godmother Lorean Pleasant and a host of other relatives and friends. Celebration of Keisha’s life will be at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, 13720 Roe Avenue in Leawood, Kansas, June 27, 2019 at 2:00 pm and visitation beginning at 12:00 pm. Keisha’s final resting place on this earth will be at COR Memorial Garden.

Memorial donations can be made to: Ronald McDonald House, Red Shoe Society www.redshoekc.org and Church of the Resurrection, KiDS COR Ministry, in memory of Keisha Clay, 13720 Roe, Leawood, KS 66224.

Service Information:

Visitation 12PM, service 2PM, Thursday, June 27 at Church of the Resurrection, 13720 Roe Ave.

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