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

(303) 996-0869

: December 18, 2018 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Pipkin Braswell
6601 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80220

Room: Zion's Baptist Church Solace Committee

Celebration of Life: December 19, 2018 11:00 am

Zion Baptist Church
933 East 24th Avenue
Denver, CO 80205

(303) 861-4958

Interment: December 19, 2018 2:00 pm

Fairmount Cemetery
430 South Quebec Street
Denver, CO 80231

Room: Following the Service

Reception: December 19, 2018 3:00 pm

Zion Baptist Church
933 East 24th Avenue
Denver, CO 80205

(303) 861-4958

Room: Following the Interment

: December 18, 2018 6:00 pm

Pipkin Braswell
6601 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80220

Room: Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. Omega Omega Service

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  1. The Lord has called a great saint home. She was a wonderful woman of God and a source of encouragement for me throughout my ministry. Rest in peace woman of God you deserve it!

  2. To Debbi and Ernest,

    Words can not say, how much your mother meant to me through out my life. Ms McKinney was so strong, loving and differently a true woman of GOD. Our prayers go out to you during this time. Her earthly presents will be missed. But I know that GOD has her in his arms.

  3. Our Sister is gone physically but her spirit remains within those who knew her, worked with her and learned from her knowledgeable and loving ways!

  4. Debbie, Praying for the Lord’s hands of compassion and love & His guiding light shine upon you & Family, giving you strength during this time of sorrow. To be absent from the body and present with the Lord. May you have comfort in knowing that friends share in your loss ❤️

  5. Went we lose a family member, all family members have lose part of themselves. May these scriptures from the bible, bring comfort to your family. John 5:28-29 “Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, and those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment. How loving that is of Jehovah God bring back our love one to a paradise earth.

  6. When we lose a family member such as Ms. McKinney, we have lost a part of ourselves. The question is how long will death be our enemy. In the bible Jehovah God will soon stop that enemy death. 1 Corinthians 15:26 Say “and the last enemy, death is to be brought to nothing. How loving of Jehovah God bring back Mrs. McKinney to life in a paradise earth.

  7. Such a beautiful woman of God .Kathrine is truly missed but not lost, we know that she is somewhere around God’s throne. May God grant you strength and comfort for the family.

  8. Grandma, I never imagined that there would come a time that I’d be looking at your photo in the obituary section. As crazy as it sounds, in my eyes, you were invincible! I always felt like I’d have you for all my life. You fought such an amazing fight, not just in health but even when your health began to fail. You truly are and always will be nothing but AMAZING in my eyes. As much as it hurts to continue this next phase in my journey without you physically, I know that you will always be with me because of all the wisdom you shared with me and the constant encouragement you gave me. I truly love you forever and I will see you again! Always and forever, your sweetie pie and grandson, Brian

  9. Aunt Kitty Lou was a warm and friendly addition to my family. I didn’t remember meeting her before Cousin Niece (Lynette) took me by to talk to her. She knew exactly who I was and I love hometown stories!

  10. To My Denver Colorado Family, “The Tarver/McKinney Family”, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” (John 14:1) For Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can not heal. Mother McKinney lived a God filled life and on this earthly Journey She helped others, Loved many and Care for Plenty. Continue to let Her legacy live on throughout your life. Revelation 21:4 Reads “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away”. To Mom Debbie, Pop Ernest, My Big Brother Brian and Big Sister Nichelle along with the Family I Love each of you, Remain Encouraged and EVEN in Death God is still worthy of Praise! Mother McKinney We will see you in The Morning.

  11. So sorry for your lost, I loved seeing Aunt Kitty Lou at family reunions in Atchison, she would bring the entire family she is enjoying Mr Ross’s glory greens gone but not forfotten

  12. Sorry for your loss of your Grandma. Treasure the memories, pictures, and good times that you have of her. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.

  13. So sorry family , this was one of my mentors when I was coming up in Zion ; She was a GREAT WOMEN of GOD. She will be missed.

  14. Debbie long time no see, I am so sorry to hear of the death of Mrs. McKinney, I Remeber your mother well. It has been a long time. I send you my sincerest condolences at this time. May god bless you and your family, I imagine everybody (kids) are grown now.
    Take good loving care my friend all was did love ya.

    Sincerely Patricia Pinson aka (Patsy Johnson)

  15. Debbie and Ernest,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful mother. Thinking of you during this time of sorrow.
    I have not seen either of you since our growing up in Zion in the youth choir. Take care.

  16. Deacon and evangelist Willis and Jacqueline Moore we praying for you and your family at this time but we know that she went to sleep on this side and she woke up in Paradise may God bless

  17. McKinney/Tarver Family
    You’ll see her in the clouds above,
    You’ll hear her whisper words of love,
    Until you meet again, be strong.
    And listen for her song.

  18. To the McKinny/Tarver Family
    Thank God for the warm spirit that dwelt among us,
    and now God has called her to her final reward, stay
    in the love, strength and faith in God, she gave to you.

  19. Ernest, Debbie & Larry, Brian, Nichelle and the family; I hold each of you dear to my heart. My Sister Kathryn offered encouragement and support to me in my health ministry over the years. Brian, I remember vividly you sitting with your Grandma and the Deaconesses at Zion over the growing up years. Yes, you will miss her! A committed Christian servant has gone to Glory!

  20. To my beautiful long time friend that has gone from Labor to Reward. You will truly be missed by so many. My prayer go out to the entire family. May God continue to comfort you. We truly love this family.

  21. To my beautiful long time friend who has gone from Labor to Reward. You will truly be missed. My prayers go out to the entire family. May God continue to comfort you as this time. We love you.

  22. A beautiful woman who will be truly missed. She has done so much for so many and it will never be forgotten. May she be remembered by Almighty God. May He give all her friends and family the comfort they need to endure each new day. (Revelation 21:3-5)

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