Kathleen Denys (Kendall) Lapczynski, 69, of Lynchburg (formerly Tullahoma), died Sept. 2, 2019, at Nashville’s Centennial Hospital from complications of recently diagnosed cancer.

Kate was born Sept. 12, 1949, the eldest of five, to Wilma Gene (Brooks) Kendall and William Tisdale Kendall in Mount Clemens, Michigan. In August 1968, she married her John Glenn High School sweetheart, David Lapczynski, who survives. Together, they raised two children, daughter Kelly and son Jake.

The couple moved to Tullahoma in 1980, where David began his continuing career with what is now Cubic Transportation Systems. When their children were old enough, Kate returned to college, earning degrees from Motlow and MTSU. She put her degrees to work immediately as a biology professor for Motlow, where she was beloved by her students and respected by her peers. While teaching, she earned her terminal Education Specialist (EdS) degree at Tennessee Tech. Throughout her career she earned a laundry list of awards and accolades that include multiple “Teacher of the Year” awards. She was proud of every one of them.

Into retirement, she was (among other affiliations) a valued member GFWC Tullahoma Woman’s Club, serving at local, district and state levels of leadership. She belonged to the Motlow Philanthropic Ladies Society. She was proud to belong to the Order of the Daughters of the King and worshiped at St. Barnabas Church.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her firstborn daughter, Kathy Anne; her youngest brother, Patrick; several cats; the polio virus; two hips, a knee and part of her spine.

She is survived by her loving husband of 51 years; their two children; granddaughters Kendall Lapczynski, Haley (Robert) Arnold, Emily Lapczynski and Delaney Freeze; sister Susan Kendall; brothers Bill (Anne) and Mike (Yvonne) Kendall; cousin Valarie McKinney; her beloved great-grandson Erik Lapczynski; daughter-in-law-to-be Morgan Ward; four cats; a household of fairie figurines and the homes she crafted for them, a complete dollhouse village she created, a large collection of teapots, a menagerie of unicorns, a den of dragons and a host of other mystical, magical and mythical creatures that also inhabited her Dragonfly Arts scrapbooking shop.

A member of Mensa, she loved word games and word puzzles and could manage a wicked pun. Smart, witty, kind, and generous to a fault, she will be greatly missed.

No public visitation will be held. Her ashes will be placed in the columbarium at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, where a requiem mass will be conducted at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held from 5 p.m. until closing at One22West, 122 W. Lincoln Street, on what would have been her 70th birthday, Thursday, Sept. 12. 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in her honor. Donate to the Coffee County affiliate online at or by mail at P.O. Box 753, Tullahoma, TN 37388.

Tullahoma Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. 

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