Kay Lynne Johnson (née Hatch) was called home on December 10, 2021 at the age of 71. Born in Florida to Col. Lewis M. Hatch III and Cody Hatch, Kay grew up all over the country as the daughter of an Air Force officer. While living in New Mexico, Kay became an accomplished horseback rider and became New Mexico Horse Show State Champion in several Western and English riding events during high school and college. She was also an accomplished riding instructor. Her interest in animals led her to earn a B.S. in biology from the University of New Mexico.
After graduating college, Kay served as an officer (2LT) in the U.S. Army earning the National Defense Service Medal and showed “…initiative, astute judgement and an untiring devotion to duty.“ While stationed at Fort Bliss, Kay would meet her husband Michael T. Johnson. After two years of dedicated service, Kay was honorably discharged. Though no longer active military, Kay continued to serve, now in the role of military spouse. Her nomadic childhood would come in handy as she and her growing family would move numerous times before assignment to Fort Hood, TX. During Desert Storm, Kay played a pivotal role coordinating with the rear detachment in supporting the spouses and families of deployed soldiers (no easy task in an age before the internet and cell phones), all while raising three daughters. Throughout her years as an officer’s wife, Kay was a staunch advocate for military spouses and families, tirelessly working to see they get all the resources and support they needed.
After her husband’s retirement from the Army, Kay began a new career as a high school teacher, first teaching biology at Copperas Cove High School then teaching art at Killeen High School and what would later become Harker Heights High School. While at HHHS, Kay would single-handedly build a robust Visual Arts program. She strongly believed in the value and worth of the visual arts and wanted art students to experience the same school support and opportunities as the performing arts. Kay created and developed the AP Art program, established a chapter of the National Arts Honor Society, enrolled students in art show exhibitions at the county and state level, and hosted Texas High School Visual Art Scholastic Events (VASE). Kay spent many nights and weekends framing student artwork and transporting pieces to every student art show and exhibition she found. Knowing how important technology would become to the visual and graphic arts, Kay applied for and received grants to provide computers and digital cameras for the art classroom long before such technology became standard classroom equipment. Many of her students would go on to attend art colleges or have successful careers in the arts.
Though Kay took great pride in her careers as a soldier and later teacher, her greatest role was as a loving wife and a mother to three daughters, Kristin, Sarah, and Faith. She often remarked that her happiest moments were when all three daughters were home. Kay was a kind woman; introverted, but possessing a keen wit that could sneak up on you when you least expected it. She was thoughtful, in every sense of the word; both polite and considerate of others but wasn’t afraid to think and explore her own opinions, even if she did keep them to herself. Kay was a regular blood donor in gratitude to the blood donations that had prolonged her own father’s life. She found joy and beauty everywhere and loved a good rooster joke. In all, it was important to her to be kind to others, and she will be remembered as such.
She is preceded in death by her parents, COL Lew M. Hatch, III and L. Cody Hatch, and is survived by her husband of 48 years, LTC Michael T. Johnson, her three daughters Kristin, Sarah, Faith and son-in-law Jeff Moore, her brother LTC Lewis M. Hatch IV and his wife Kathy Hatch, and her nephew Capt. S. Cody Hatch.
In respect for Kay’s final wishes, there will not be a public funeral and the family will have a private memorial service instead.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in her honor to either the Medical Education Fund at Baylor Scott & White (https://bit.ly/3DLcP8d ) or Carter BloodCare (https://bit.ly/31S5mHF).
To send flowers to Kay's family, please visit our floral store.