July 27, 1938-Jan. 4, 2020

Kay Austin McElwee, 81, of Coushatta passed away Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Coushatta at her home.  Services are Monday, Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. with visitation from 1-2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, Coushatta. Officiating will be the Rev. Olan D. McLaren along with the Rev. Dr. Paul “Curtis” Carroll Jr.  Burial will follow at Zion Cemetery, Fairview Alpha.

Mrs. McElwee was born July 27, 1938, in Mansfield to L. Harmon Austin and Opal McKinney Austin.  Mrs. McElwee attended St. Vincent’s in Shreveport and graduated from Fairview Alpha High School in 1955.  She graduated from Northwestern State University in 1966 with a B.A. in Upper Elementary Education and a minor in math with a 4.0 average.

Mrs. McElwee began her professional life with the Louisiana Department of Education as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor working with mentally challenged young adults in Shreveport in 1966 for five years.  After moving to Baton Rouge with her family when her husband was appointed as head of the Louisiana Disability Determinations Program, Mrs. McElwee taught school at South Blvd. East.  She later worked for the State of Louisiana as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for seven years in Baton Rouge.

Mrs. McElwee and her husband returned to Coushatta in 1980 and she began a second career as an elementary school teacher in 1981 and retired after teaching for 28 years.  She taught hundreds of children in first grade and kindergarten at Coushatta Elementary in Red River Parish.  She loved teaching and her students were the light of her life.  She correctly believed that the love she gave them would stay with them and influence their entire lives.

Mrs. McElwee married the one and only love of her life, John Baxter “J.B.” McElwee and was preceded in death by him in 2012 after 58 years of marriage.  She lost her best friend who was also her mother, Opal Austin, in 1999 and missed her every day.

Mrs. McElwee loved music and was a talented pianist.  She loved gardening and animals. She was preceded in death by 10 cats and three dogs and survived by three cats and one dog, Precious Puppy. She started the Red River Humane Society in 1995 and began rescuing animals of every kind, shape and size from horses to kittens.  She always had a beautiful yard, full of color and many flowers were transplanted from her mother’s yard.  She planted dozens of trees and had a rose garden at most of her homes.  She believed that to “plant a garden is to walk with God”

Mrs. McElwee was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Coushatta, Noel and St. Luke’s Methodist Churches in Shreveport and First United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge.  She was a member of Eastern Star, the Krewe of Romany in Baton Rouge, Tri Psi and Kappa Delta Pi.

Mrs. McElwee is survived by her loving children, John B. McElwee Jr. (Sherry) of Bay St. Louis, Miss., and Kim K. McElwee (Denise Bergeron) of Metairie; grandsons, Justin Sheriden McElwee (Anoush) of Brooklyn, NY, and Sean Austin McElwee (Mandy Lane) of Orlando, Fla.; and three great-grandchildren, Riley, Emerson Baxter and Kinsley of Orlando. Mrs. McElwee is also survived by her brother, L. Harmon Austin Jr. of Orlando; cousin, Nevelyn Faith Brown of Shreveport; brother-in-law, Michael M. McElwee and his wife Beverly of Fairview Alpha; sister-in-law, Laverne McElwee of Natchitoches; nieces, Tanya Austin Valente and Kathy Tingle; and nephews, L. Harmon “Trey” Austin III, Kenneth Wayne Austin, Gary McElwee, Jerry McElwee, Danny McElwee and Michael McElwee; and many great nieces and nephews; her dear neighbors, Faith Fields, who brought her much joy, and Trish Gamble who loved her like a second mother and all three shared their great love of animals.

In addition to her parents and husband, Mrs. McElwee was preceded in death by her father-in-law, Robert L. McElwee and mother-in-law, Vera Weaver McElwee; brother-in-law, Bobby L. McElwee; sister-in-law, Eleanor McElwee Cox; brother-in-law, A.J. Cox; niece, Debra Cox; and nephew, Wendell Cox.

Pallbearers will be Robert Edgerton Bethard, David Roy Coffey, John Baxter McElwee Jr., Justin Sheriden McElwee, Kim K. McElwee and Sean Austin McElwee.

Honorary pallbearers will be Dr. Wyche Taylor Coleman and L. Harmon Austin Jr.

The family wishes to thank Mrs. McElwee’s angels on earth, her caregivers, Brenda Taylor, Cynthia Clark, Sharon Miller and Jeannette Whitaker.  We cannot imagine life without you.  The family also wishes to express deep, heartfelt gratitude for the life-long, ever devoted care from Dr. Wyche Coleman.  In her final days, the Natchitoches Hospice and especially Haley Roberts were special and will never be forgotten.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the First United Methodist Church of Coushatta or the St. Charles Parish Humane Society.

Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home