Unfortunately for the veterinarians of Derby and Haysville, Vickye Steffan passed away from liver cancer and the wear and tear of a life well lived on November 8 with her loved ones and her animals by her side. Vickye kept the veterinarians in business with her love of animals for the past 50 years, rescuing everything that was left on her porch and that she found on the side of her dirt road. She even fed her visiting raccoon and opossum friends that resulted in hours of laughter and entertainment for her nieces and their children. Her latest rescue, Marvin, was one of many Vickye-devotees that, like her family and friends, adored her.
Although told by doctors that she only had only months left to live, her infamous stubbornness resulted in an additional seven years of rescuing and caring for animals. However, Vickye did much more than single-handedly financially support local veterinarians. As the center of the Kilcoyne family, first born and namesake of her father, Vic, Vickye was passionate about family and one in a long legacy of stubborn Kilcoynes. She was born in Parsons, Kansas on March 10, 1938 to Vincent and Virginia Kilcoyne. She was the oldest of 6 and although small in stature, her demeanor belied her oldest child status and she was a force to be reckoned with.
Vickye received her degree from Wichita State University and her teaching degree at Emporia State University, and her Masters in Education from Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. She worked as a Head Start teacher for 35 years, impacting the lives of countless students who she kept in contact with for decades on. Her impactfulness came full circle when it was discovered that her beloved oncologist’s son was in fact one of her students and was now a doctor as well. Vickye poured good into the world and others, having an uncanny ability to make children feel seen and heard. She was also a famed expert at removing objects from children’s noses during craft time. Her kindness and empathy won over even those students who were most reluctant to engage in her classroom. Teaching is where Vickye met Kathryn Ralston, Vickye’s lifelong best friend of fifty-three years. Kathryn and Vickye were like Thelma and Louise, they were an inseparable pair who embarked on the adventures of life together.
Vickye’s life was marked by a rare uniqueness in character and personality. Just as with the unique spelling of her name (which changed multiple times over the course of her life), her sense of fashion was exceptional. When Vickye found a chic outfit she liked, she would buy multiple of it in different colors. Referred to by friends as a “fashion plate,” Vickye had sophisticated taste and an unparalleled ability to dress herself elegantly during her teaching career. She was one of a kind, and she made others feel that way, too.
She made everyone around her feel understood and special, especially her sisters and brothers, their children, and their children’s children. Her impact was multi-generational. She left an indelible mark on their hearts and she will be missed more than words can express. Vickye led a life of values centered around her family, friends, students, and animals. She had no children, but relished the title of aunt to her sibling’s children and family friends. She was affectionately known as Aunt HeeHee due to her mischievous laugh and sense of humor.
Although her passing saddens all who were privileged enough to know her, it also makes everyone she knew rejoice, especially her siblings. Vickye is now with Patricia (Kilcoyne) Parsons, her beloved younger sister who she has missed since her passing from throat cancer in 2007. Their reunion is something to celebrate, just like Vickye’s next chapter free of cancer.
Preceding Vickye in death are her parents, Vic and Ginger Kilcoyne, and niece, Hayley Kilcoyne.
Vickye Steffan is survived by her siblings, (in birth order) Butch Kilcoyne and wife Janet, Steve Kilcoyne and wife Joy, Kathy Donohue and husband Mic, and the youngest, Mike Kilcoyne. Nieces Stephanie Parsons, Christi Hein and her husband Gavin, their children Jack and Taylor. Nephew, Sean Kilcoyne and his children, Riley and Jesse, niece Amber Kilcoyne and Hayley’s son, Daylon. Nieces Shannon Polston and her husband Tucker, their children, and Tayrn McGarry and her husband Mike, their children. She is also survived by her best friend, Kathryn Ralston and her family, and numerous cousins.
There will be a graveside service for the family on November 20, 2021. One of Vickye’s last wishes was to be buried next to her sister, Pat, at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Coffeyville, Kansas and her wish will be granted. Gavin Hein will officiate. She will be dearly, dearly missed by all.
Death is Nothing At All, by Henry Scott Holland
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.
Kansas Humane Society
3313 N. Hillside St., Wichita KS 67219