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ESHS class of 1982 come together to bury classmate and her mother

February 9, 2018 – Kathy Habegger had made connections to classmates on social media, and those connections have proved to be invaluable, even after death.

Habegger, class of 1982, stopped making posts in early November. Her classmates became concerned, knowing that Habegger was dealing with tragedy. Her mother had recently died, and then her beloved dog died shortly after. Habegger was also battling ill health. A classmate stopped by her home but couldn’t get her to answer the door.

In January, the class found out that Habegger had died. Her body was found by her landlord, and the coroner believes she died sometime in November.

When a classmate contacted Bross & Spidle Funeral Home in Excelsior to see what arrangements were being made, they found out that Habegger hadn’t been claimed. Neither had her mother, Zoe.

“So I asked the funeral home, how do we do this?” said Candy Teegarden, one of the classmates. She was told that they had to wait through a grace period, which allows potential family members to come forth and claim the body. Three weeks later, the medical examiner contacted classmate Bob Stalder, and agreed to release Kathy to them.

The class of 1982 asked for Kathy’s mom’s body, as well.

“Kathy had been down there but was unable to put any funds down to take care or her mom,” Teegarden explained. They felt that taking care of the mom would also be a way of taking care of Kathy.

Using the PayPal account that was for their class reunion funds, they were able to raise more than enough money to bury both Kathy and her mother. Roy Arnold, class of 1983, is finding a spot for them in Pisgah Cemetery. Funds that exceeded the cost of both funerals will be donated to Women’s Cancer Fund in Kathy’s name.

The class plans to hold a graveside service for the women when weather warms up. Still, they want to get the word out about both Kathy and Zoe, believing that there are friends and family who may want to help or be present.

“There are probably people out there that know Kathy and her mom that would want to know about this, and be a part of this, and not just our class,” said Teegarden.

Courtney Cole, director of the Excelsior Springs Alumni Association, is grateful that such organizations such as the alumni association exist. Paired with social media, they can often be a powerful instrument of good, particularly in a small town like Excelsior Springs.

“We don’t often realize how needed these organizations can be. This is just an example of the power it can bring,” Cole explained. “To me, this is what reconnecting everyone is about. We went through the first 12 years of our lives together. Your classmates are like your family.”

“This is what Excelsior does,” Cole concluded. “We take care of each other.”

Donations in Kathy’s name can be made at NASB, at 1001 N. Jesse James Road, into the account titled Class of ’82.

By Samantha Kilgore • kimeberely@leaderpress.com

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One Response to ESHS class of 1982 come together to bury classmate and her mother

  1. Mary Seneker Reply

    February 12, 2018 at 5:37 am

    This story is absolutely unbelievable. God Bless each and every one of you.
    Zoe and Kathy we’re very close to my Mom. They lived across the street from each other and everyone looked out for the other. They were precious souls… inseparable….and giving. I know Zoe, if she had it her way, she would have survived Kathy so she could take care of her. What a beautiful ending to a sad story.

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