William Cavanaugh

William T. “Bill” Cavanaugh, Sr. of Leawood, Kansas passed away on Thursday July 19, 2012 at KU Medical Center after a long, courageous battle with cancer.  Bill had a magnificent life and was a role model and father figure to many people in his 85 years.  He was born January 13, 1927 in Topeka, Kansas to Thomas Cavanaugh and Mary Gilliam Cavanaugh and subsequently lived in Bonner Springs.  Bill attended Bishop Ward High School in Kansas City, Kansas where he was an all-state fullback and was later named Ward’s “player of the decade” for the 1940s.  He then attended the University of Notre Dame intending to play football; however, World War II intervened and Bill left Notre Dame to serve in the United States Army.  Following the war, Bill completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Kansas where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and became affectionately known as “Cavvy”.  His first career job was with the Mann-Kline Insurance Agency in Kansas City.  As luck would have it, he was sent to Mobile, Alabama to open a branch office where he met his bride-to-be, Juanita.   On December 14, 1957, Bill married Juanita Rucker Cavanaugh in New Orleans, Louisiana and they were happily married until her death in 2003.  Upon returning to Kansas City with his young family, Bill began a 30-year career as a Managing Director at Marsh & McLennan Insurance Company, where he specialized in health care with one of his favorite clients being the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.  Bill’s co-workers and clients considered him likable, ethical and responsible and many became close lifelong friends.   Bill enjoyed an incredibly active life both during his career and after his retirement, keeping busy with family, church, charitable, travel and social activities.  He was a parishioner at St. Ann’s Catholic Church as well as Church of the Nativity, where he served as President of the Nativity Jubilee Society.  He served Rockhurst High School as Chairman of the Auction and the Dad’s Club.  He was a member of the Kansas City Club, Indian Hills Country Club and Hallbrook Country Club, where there was not a stranger to be met.  Bill loved his friends and he loved to travel so in later retirement he was instrumental in organizing numerous KU Phi Kappa Psi reunion trips.  Most importantly, Bill was a loving and dedicated husband, father, grandfather and uncle.  “Uncle Bill” was deeply involved in the lives of his beloved nieces and nephews and their families.  In later years he became known as “Pa” and his kindness and zest for life made him a wonderful role model to his 11 grandchildren.   Nothing mattered more to Bill than family and he cherished his role as the revered “Patriarch” of the extended Cavanaugh Clan, organizing and hosting the first Cavanaugh Family Reunion (attended by family members from all over the country) and making sure that these reunions continued every few years.  Bill is survived by his children, William T. (“Chip”) Cavanaugh, Jr., of Dallas, Texas, Timothy B. Cavanaugh, M.D. and his wife Linda of Leawood, Kansas, and Mary C. Krizman and her husband Joseph Krizman of Overland Park, Kansas.  “Pa” leaves behind 11 grandchildren:   Billy, Brian, Brenan, Connor and Dillon Cavanaugh; Jake, Kyle and Lauren Krizman; and Brittany, Ashley and Jack Husong.  Visitation and viewing will be from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Prairie Village, Kansas.  A funeral mass will be held at twelve noon on Friday, July 27, 2012 at St. Ann’s.  Entombment will be in the Resurrection Cemetery Mausoleum in Lenexa, Kansas.  A reception and celebration of Bill’s life will follow at his home in Leawood.  In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the following organizations:  Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth at www.scls.org or 913-682-7500 or to Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas at www.catholiccharitiesks.org or 913-433-2100.  Friends and family may offer condolences to the family or write in Bill’s memory book at his Memorial Website at www.memorialwebsites.legacy.com/Bill-Cavanaugh.

10 Condolences

  1. jan enyart on July 21, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Mary, so sorry to hear about your Dad’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time. So glad I met him several times. know you will cherish all your fond memories with him. jan

  2. Ed Sommerlath on July 22, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    My daughter is Jane Chapman. Learned of Bill’s passing this AM during the Ascension prayer requests. Bill and I were buddies at Cardio Rehab. I am blessed that I was able to meet and spend time with Bill – he was special and made time at Rehab a pleasure. You are blessed to have Bill as your Dad. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Rejoyce in Bill’s life. Ed

  3. Susan (Reilly) Walston on July 23, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Bill & Juanita left a wonderful legacy: Chip, Tim, and Mary! The Cavanaughs are a great and wonderful family. I am so blessed and glad I was able to see you all over the holiday.

  4. Joel Eastman on July 23, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Chip is a close friend, and I have heard so much about Tim and Mary I feel like i know them. I had the opportunity to spend time with both their Mom and Dad over the years and always enjoyed their company. Great family; great legacy. Joel.

  5. John Firth on July 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Chip, we are so sorry to receive this news. What a wonderful life he lived and a remarkable legacy he leaves behind.

    Ann and I have been priviliged to have had an awful lot of wonderful ND fans join us for football weekends over the past 27 years, none of whom we enjoyed more than your dad.

    With love and prayers,
    John and Ann

  6. Todd Williams on July 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Chip, so sorry to hear about your Dad. Since acorns don’t fall far from the tree, my bet is he was a great man of character. God bless his journey to return to your mom.

  7. Adrienne Strodel on July 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Chip…I’m so sorry about your dad! We are never ready for our parents to go, even when we know what’s coming. Our thoughts are with you and your whole family as you celebrate his life together. Love and hugs…adrienne

  8. Diane Larochelle on July 25, 2012 at 5:42 am

    To family,
    Please accept my deepest sympathy . Remember our God Jehovah is near to those that are broken at heart.”—Psalm 34:18.
    God’s Word, the Bible, provides the greatest comfort of all. The Christian apostle Paul stated: “I have hope toward God . . . that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) Thinking about the Bible-based hope of a resurrection can be the greatest comfort while grieving the loss of a loved one.

  9. Richard & Helen Mercer on July 25, 2012 at 5:43 am

    Bill was a fraternity brother and good friend. He was a fine gentleman. We will cherish the memories of his friendship.
    Our condolences to the family.

  10. Frank & Virginia Young on July 26, 2012 at 5:43 am

    Chip,Tim,Mary, What a wonderful True Friend, Business Partner. So many memories, Almost Fifty years,Trips wirh Nita,and more recently with Sherryl, Golf Outings and our annual Birthday Lunches.Our Thoughts and Prayers are with you and all of the Family. Frank and Virginia.

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