December 30, 1930 ~ December 12, 2018
Born in: Atchison, Kansas
Resided in: Denver, Colorado
Kathryne Lewise Allen McKinney began life’s journey on December 30, 1930, in Atchison, Kansas. Born to her parents Ernestine Claudia Jones and Orlo Henry Allen, Kathryne was a very happy, and healthy baby with a smile that could light up any space. Kathryne grew up spending the majority of her childhood between Atchison, Kansas and Des Moines, Iowa. Her mother, being the hard worker that she was, worked tirelessly to ensure that she could provide a good quality of life for Kathryne, and to make sure that she always knew she was loved. In addition to her mother, Kathryne was blessed to be surrounded by the love of many family members. She was also blessed to spend many of her days in the company of her siblings, Betty Jane, Grace Elaine, Kitty Joe, Buddy and Bunky whom affectionately called her “Kitty Lou”.
Kathryne received her formal education in the public schools of Des Moines, Iowa. Kathryne was a very diligent student who had a strong love for language arts, public speaking, and history. She graduated from North High School in 1948 and briefly attended Drake University before relocating with her mother to Denver, Colorado.
Kathryne was the proud and loving mother of Rebecca Elaine, Deborah Lewise, Ernest Allen and Thomas Earl. Kathryne’s children were a tremendous source of pride and joy in her life. Just as her mother had done for her, Kathryne aspired to provide her children with any and every opportunity she could to give them. It was important to her to provide exposure to meaningful experiences that would make a positive impact in their lives. From participating in the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts, taking piano, flute, saxophone, and clarinet lessons, to other school activities, Kathryne made sure that her children were always busy doing something. There were many outdoor excursions and outdoor trips, and she often did not hesitate to pack everyone into the car to take off and travel across the country.
Kathryne professed the Lord as her Savior early in life. She was a member of the Corinthian Baptist Church of Des Moines, Iowa and fellowshipped with Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atchison, Kansas. Shortly after relocating to Denver, Kathryne joined Zion Baptist Church under the pastoral leadership of Dr. W.T. Liggins. Right away, Kathryne got busy in the church working with the Children’s ministry, Mission Ministry, and lending a hand anywhere she could. Kathryne made sure that her children were just as involved in the church as she was. In her later years, Kathryne joined the Deaconess Ministry. In 1988, she served as co-chair for Zion’s Annual Women’s Day celebration. The following year in 1989, she served as the chair for Women’s Day, operating under the theme, “Christian Women Radiating Love”, a spiritual attribute that she functioned in daily. If you knew Kathryne, you knew that she was love! After the passing of Rev. Liggins, Kathryne served as part of the pastor search committee and was instrumental in pledging her support to help ensure that Frank M. Davis became the next pastor of Zion. Under his leadership, she served as chairman of Zion’s Adult Ministry. She organized Christmas sunrise service, Easter sunrise service, and the annual church picnic for many years. In addition, she served on the Grant Ministry and History Writing Committee. Kathryne loved the music ministry and would often be seen waving a hand in praise when the choir would minister in song or doing her joyful step to “What a Fellowship” as the Deacons and Deaconess walked around to greet new members. She served faithfully for 68 years.
By profession, Kathryne was a woman of many skills. She worked as an executive secretary for high ranking officers in the military. It was during this time that she learned to write and take notes in shorthand. Kathryne still has notes in shorthand from sermons that to this day no one in her family can understand. Later in her career, she was promoted to the position of Claims Representative for the Office of Social Security. Constantly striving to achieve and do more, Kathryne went back to school to earn her Bachelor’s Degree and graduated in 1977 in the first class of graduates from the University of Colorado at Denver. She landed a position working as a Site Investigator for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Her family fondly remembers her frequent trips out of town for work. They would often anticipate when she would return because she always brought back souvenirs and goodies. After many years of dedicated service, she was blessed to retire in 1989.
A historian by nature, Kathryne’s love of history led her to explore the role that African Americans had played in Colorado history. It was in her research that she became influenced by an African American pioneer, Barney L. Ford, who was the first black businessman to establish several establishments in Colorado. Her research led to House Joint Resolution 76-1002 which called for the creation of a stained-glass window, honoring Barney Ford, to be installed in the west wing of the House Chambers of the Colorado State Capital. But she did not stop there, she would later go on to become the founder of the Barney L. Ford Memorial Association, an organization designed to civic action, community service, and historical education. Through her work, she did various black history presentations across Denver Public Schools often dressing up as Harriet Tubman, Stagecoach Mary, and Dr. Justina Ford. She also did presentations for Zion’s Youth Ministry.
One of Kathryne’s greatest joys was being a Grandmother to her four grandchildren Ernest, Nichelle, Brian, and Lynette. She had a special way of making each one of them feel as if they were the only one in the whole wide world, and she had her own special relationship with each of them. She loved to tell stories about “The Good Ol’ Days”. She could tell the same story multiple times without it ever getting old. From making pallets on her living room floor, to sun up to sun down Christmas shopping, to popping Jiffy pop in her cast iron skillets, she had a way of making everything fun. Whether they were involved in wrestling, marching with the Escolites, playing basketball or running track, Kathryne was her grandchildren’s biggest fan. In her later years, her great-grandchildren would become an additional source of joy in her life.
Kathryne was an avid sports fan and loved her CU Buffalos and Denver Broncos. At high school sporting events, she could often be heard yelling at the refs for bad calls with her signature quote, “I bet your mama went to (Insert opposing school’s name)”. And if someone on the team she was cheering for was on the free throw line, once it was dead silent you could hear her say, “Swish, swish for Grandma”. Kathryne loved her hats, gloves, jewelry, and shoes. She also loved to shop, watching her favorite show all hours of the night, and collecting elephants, coffee mugs, and salt and pepper shakers.
Kathryne was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Eastern Star, and worked with many other organizations around the state. She also received many awards and honors for her work throughout the Denver community. Kathryne worked as a faithful servant until her health began to fail her. Even in sickness, she stayed faithful right until the end.
Kathryne was preceded in death by her mother, Ernestine Claudia Jones; father, Orlo H. Allen; daughter, Rebecca Elaine Keith; son, Thomas Earl Sylvester McKinney; three sisters, Betty Jane Morris, Grace Elaine Cluke and Katherine J. Ross; three brothers, Charles, Millard, and Orlo Allen; Great Grandchildren, Jeremiah and Justin McKinney
She leaves to honor and cherish her memory Her daughter and son in Law, Deborah, and Laurence Tarver; Her son, Ernest McKinney, all of Denver Colorado; daughter-in-law, Linda Jackson-McKinney; grandchildren, Ernest (Kimberly) McKinney; Nichelle (Reginald) Hammons; Rev. Brian Tarver, all of Denver, Colorado; and Lynette McKinney of Atlanta, Georgia; great-grandchildren, JoVaughn, Chris, DeAngelo, Joseph, Braelin, Jailen, Darrian, and Jayden; great-great-grandchildren, Shilori, Zavah, Julian, Leolani, LaLeigh Jay, and Kennedy, all of Denver Colorado; a host of nieces, nephews, church children, extended family, church family, and many friends.
Visitation: December 18, 2018 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Pipkin Braswell Chapel of Peace
6601 Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80220
Celebration of Life: December 19, 2018 11:00 am
Zion Baptist Church
933 East 24th Avenue
Denver, CO 80205
Reception: December 19, 2018 3:00 pm
Zion Baptist Church
933 East 24th Avenue
Denver, CO 80205