Vera Jean Kavanagh


Vera Jean Kavanagh

July 24, 1936 - April 5, 2023

Vera Jean Kavanagh, 86, of Bemidji, MN and Tucson, AZ died Wednesday, April 5, 2023 at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, ND from complications of a fall she suffered at her home in Bemidji.

Memorial Services will be 1:00 pm, Saturday, June 3, 2023 at the United Methodist Church in Bemidji, MN with Rev. Deborah Davis officiating. Visitation will be from 5-7pm on Friday, June 2, 2023 at the Cease Family Funeral Home in Bemidji and one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be at the Greenwood Cemetery in Bemidji, MN.

Vera was born July 24, 1936 in Fergus Falls, MN the daughter of Asa and Emma (Pietz) Way. She graduated from Hancock High School in 1954 as valedictorian of her class. She received her teaching degree from Moorhead State Teachers College in 1957.

She married Ray Kavanagh on June 9, 1957 in Hancock, MN. That same year she began her teaching career in Ortonville, MN prior to becoming a stay-at-home mother. In 1959, the Kavanagh family moved to Roseau, MN, where Vera made several lifelong friends.

The Kavanaghs moved to Bemidji in 1969 where Vera pursued her bachelor's degree in elementary teaching at Bemidji State College.

Vera started teaching at Red Lake Elementary School in 1976. She taught fifth grade in Red Lake for 17 years. She retired from teaching in 1993. Upon retiring, Vera and Ray spent time in Tucson, AZ. They golfed and treasured spending time with their Tucson Estate friends.

Vera is survived by 4 children: Debra (David) Holder of Cold Spring, MN; Beth (Eric) Tollefson of Moorhead, MN; Kent Kavanagh of Cass Lake, MN; John Kavanagh of St. Paul, MN; 5 grandchildren: Melissa and Meagan Hertzog, Kasey and Nikolas Kavanagh, and Maren Tollefson; great grandson Frankie Knox; her sister Elaine Gard of Stevens Point, WI; and her special friend Ken Grabinski of Mound, MN.

She was preceded in death by her husband Ray Kavanagh, her parents, and brother Myron Way.

The Kavanagh children would like to thank Bob Pohl for his assistance with their mother. They also wish to recognize the wonderful care she received from staff while at the Sanford Medical Center in Fargo.


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