Tamara Johnson Kearney

Tamara Kearney passed away on Saturday August 8, 2020 from injuries sustained in a pedestrian/car accident in Lawrence, Kansas. She was born October 5, 1958 in Rock Island, Illinois to Sandra Schmacht and Raymond Johnson. She was a 1976 graduate of Lawrence High School, and a graduate of the Challenger Institute of Technology in Fremantle, Western Australia.

Tamara was an active and engaged member of the community, employed by the Lawrence Recreation Department as a Yoga instructor and by San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind as a Braille proof reader. She also ran her own business as a clinical massage therapist. Tamara was active in both the National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind where she served as state president in Wyoming. During that time, she acted as a lobbyist for those organizations in Washington, DC. For several years she was the Children’s Library Officer for the Association for the Blind of Western Australia in Perth where she helped develop tactile early learning materials for blind children.

Tamara loved to travel and live in new and interesting places, and was an avid cyclist. She was always willing to help other blind and disabled people to better their lives.

Tamara is survived by her husband, Gregory Kearney of Lawrence and by her three children, Shawn and Laura Kearny of Minneapolis, MN, Shannon and Aaron Kuluk of Nashville, TN and Nathaniel Kearney of Lawrence as well as five grandchildren. She is also survived by her father, Raymond Johnson and step- mother, Jan Johnson of Yuma, Arizona and a step-father, Courtney Hanson of Perry, Kansas. In addition, she is survived by her beloved guide dog Rex, her faithful companion and guide for eight years. She was preceded in death by her mother.

Tamara met every challenge in this life with grace, good humor and courage. She never once let her blindness define or limit her but rather used it to enlarge and improve the lives of all she came in contact with.

Services will be at a later date. The family request that in lieu of flowers donations may be made to:

Tamara Kearney Technology Fund
Lawrence Lions Foundation
2101 E 29th St
Lawrence, KS 66046

Or may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

For more information or to post a condolence go to warrenmcelwain.com.

7 Condolences

  1. Ann and Michael Byington on August 10, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    We are devastated to have learned of this loss via Facebook this evening. Ann and I knew Tamara as we were all members of the Board of Directors of the Kansas Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired, the American Council of the Blind affiliate here in Kansas. We had become good friends subsequent to Tamara and her family moving back to Kansas. She was a capable, wonderful person, talented, and an excellent traveler. It is hard to find words to express the depth of this loss. This should not happen, and certainly not to such a beautiful person.

  2. Mary Winslow on August 13, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    I was blessed to have known Tamara. We shared a yoga class together. Her spirit was generous and kind and everyone loved and admired her. She had the best laugh and even her voice carried that same uplifting tone. That something so senseless should happen to her is unimaginable. We share in your sadness and hope your faith will comfort you and give you peace.
    Mary Winslow

  3. Cindy Bower on August 14, 2020 at 10:57 pm

    Some comments from Wyoming women who knew and loved Tammy.
    Cindy Bower – We who knew Tammy were all so enriched, having had her cheerful, grateful, giving spirit in our lives. She will be experiencing the joy of sight like never before and leaving a legacy of service and unconditional love that we could all emulate. This amazing woman lighted the lives of countless people and was the truest of friends to me and so many others. You may have seen her walking in Casper with her seeing eye dog when her family lived here, or you may have taught her children, done community service with her, belonged to an organization she cared about, or worshiped with her. What a peaceful world this would be if we were all more like Tammy. I can just hear her saying the word “Lovely” which she used so often. My heart and love go out to her husband Greg, and children, Shawn, Shannon, and Nathaniel.
    Marian Kingdon – She was independent and a great example of strength.
    Barbara Cornia – She touched all of our lives who knew her.
    Beverly Lorimer – I was amazed at all the things she could do. She never focused on the negative or things she couldn’t do. Instead, she was positive, encouraging, uplifting and made the most of life. She will be missed.
    Grace Roberts – She was such an awesome sister! So sad to hear this. Bless her family! I had her son in my Primary class years ago.
    Tammy Vogt – I loved her so much
    Kerry Roszel – She was an amazing example! I loved talking with her about all kinds of things.
    Lauren Dykes – How truly sad this is!! Our prayers go out to her family. I remember how positive she always was. What an example she was to me.
    Susan Taylor – Tammy never let her limitations stop her from LIVING! We could all learn from her great example! As she’s released from her earthly bonds, imagine all she’s going to accomplish now!!
    Lizabelle Wolfe – I’m am sorry for their loss may the Lord be with the family. Bless her and the family.
    Pam Hall – I worked with Tammy a lot. She was taking a variety of classes at one time, and I would read the material onto a cassette tape for her since it wasn’t available in Braille. I still remember asking her how she knew which side of the cassette tape to put in the player. She explained it was by the weight. The tape is heavier on the side that is wound up. She taught me a lot about how ALL of our senses can be used. Lack of sight only enhanced her other senses.
    Jana Pehrson – She’s an awesome person.
    Marsha Garcia – Thank you for sharing. She has such a beautiful, kind, loving soul. She will be greatly missed.
    Sherrie Burton – WhT a remarkable woman!
    Janet Despain – Everyone who knew her, loved her. She was one of a kind.
    Pat Fonnesbeck – She was an amazing lady and so intelligent. I remember she was always willing to serve in whatever way she could. I was in awe of this special lady and all that she was able to do with her talents in spite of her disability.
    Connie Wallace – I enjoyed working with her.

  4. Dale Eva Eckhardt on August 15, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    Tamara was my massage therapist at a time when I really needed a good massage. You didn’t need to tell Tammy where you were tense or hurt; she found those spots with her healing, gentle touch. She was a generous, open, loving person and I am so saddened to read that she is gone from this earth. I was blessed to have known her.

  5. Lori Gordon on August 16, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    I’ve known Tammy for about 50 years having fist met her through my mom, Mary Gordon. My mom was her teacher through h.s. graduation. I was just one year ahead of her in school, so we crossed paths often. After not seeing her for many years while she lived away, we reacquainted when she moved back to Lawrence. Of course, my mom loved having her close by again and they shared membership in Lions Club. Tammy also began being my massage therapist- something in which she was very skilled. I always enjoyed our conversations during those sessions, too.When my mother died suddenly last fall, I turned to Tammy for helping figure out a way to continue helping blind and visually impaired through Lions Club. She was a special and kind person, and will be missed greatly. My heart goes out to Greg and her family.

  6. Maryln Golub on August 17, 2020 at 10:05 am

    We are so sorry about your loss. Although we never met Tamara personally, we saw her often when walking with her dog on her way to her yoga class since we live in her neighborhood. We were always inspired by her independence.

  7. Your friends at FairMormon on August 30, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    We are so very sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. We pray that you will be sustained and comforted by your faith and by the love and friendship that surrounds you.

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