Kay Kelly Edmundson

Kay Kelly Edmundson, 83, passed away at The Hidenwood Assisted Living on Monday, December 25, 2023. She was born April 16, 1940, in Newport News and was raised by her parents, Jack Kelly and Catherine Freesland.

In addition to her parents, Kay was preceded in death by her husband, Henry Eugene (Gene) Edmundson.

Kay and Gene were married for 46 years, and they nurtured a loving family of two children: Tonya Kay Edmundson and H. Scott Coombe; two grandchildren, Alyssa Marie Romero and Lauren Michelle Coombe; and two great-grandchildren, Maddox Scott Romero and Leah Marie Romero.

Kay loved children and enjoyed her many years of serving as a Teacher’s Aide in the Newport News School System until she retired at 60.

She enjoyed traveling and spending time with her family. Kay was a long-time member of Parkview Baptist Church.

A graveside service for Kay will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 2, 2024, at Peninsula Memorial Park, 12750 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23606.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the American Cancer Society ( Kay had a special interest in a cure for cancer as her father, mother, and husband were all diagnosed with the disease.


  1. Shirley Williamson

    Kay was a wonderful person and long time friend who will be sadly missed. I know she is with the love of her life Gene and happy and healthy once again.

    • H. Scott Coombe

      Hi Shirley. Thanks so much for the nice comments about mom. She loved you and enjoyed your friendship over many years. Take care. -Scott

  2. H. Scott Coombe

    Kay Edmundson, our mom, died after three years with dementia but Tonya & I would like for her to be remembered for how she lived. We have thousands of memories, but we’ll share a few things about mom that some of you may not know.
    Mom was born in 1940 to Catherine and Jack Kelly and was an only child. Her name was Kay Dandridge Kelly. She always complained to her mother about giving her the middle name Dandridge. She promptly replaced Dandridge with Kelly when she got married.
    When mom was nine, her father died of cancer. She must have struggled through this but fortunately had the help of her mother, Catherine, her grandparents, and other family members to help her through this difficult time in her young life.
    Mom married Warner Harold Coombe in 1962 and I was born. We all moved to Arizona. Mom & Warner divorced within a year or so, and mom became a single mother. She & I came back to Newport News and, fortunately, mom reconnected with Gene Edmundson and married him in 1965 (I was 3 years old). Gene became my dad, and Tonya was born a couple years later in 1967.
    I just learned last week that Mom was not a fan of flowers. Tonya told me she didn’t like the concept of spending money on something that must be thrown away in a few days. I think mom told everyone about this except for me. I’ve been sending mom flowers for her birthday and Mother’s Day for years.
    Mom made the best carrot cake ever. She was a good cook but she did not like cooking – she loved to eat out. She had a plaque in her kitchen that said…”My favorite recipe…eat out.”
    Mom liked to travel, but there was a problem. She didn’t like flying. She overcame her fears though and traveled to Hawaii twice. She also liked to visit the Outer Banks, the Smokey Mountains, Myrtle Beach, Florida, and Amish communities in Pennsylvania.
    Mom loved the “Game Show Network.” She also loved reading the Daily Press, the local newspaper, and she had a way of mumbling out loud when she was reading. Tonya & I would have to ask her to “read to yourself mom.”
    Mom liked “soft” scrambled eggs which really made no sense and confused every waitress because she was the only one who ordered eggs that way. Mom also loved fruit, and she loved sweets in general.
    When Newport News Shipyard workers went on strike in the 1970s (when Tonya & I were in grade school), dad no longer had a job so he moved to Mississippi, then Tennessee to find employment. Mom did a great job holding down the fort for Tonya and me for about two years. Mom also had several jobs over the years. She worked at Lou Smith’s grocery store, Toys R Us, Miller & Rhoads department store, and in the Newport News School system as a cafeteria worker, then a Teachers’ Aid for many years. She especially enjoyed working with children.
    Dad passed away in 2011 and mom, understandably, struggled for a while finding a new normal. Though she never stopped missing dad, she did reestablish a life for herself in her home. She was doing ok living alone. Then mom was diagnosed with dementia in 2019. The news was very upsetting for everyone. At the same time, mom learned she was no longer able to live alone and not able to drive her car. This was an overwhelming situation for mom and the family. Tonya stepped up in a really big way and offered for mom to live with her and she did so for 2 years.
    Mom then transitioned into The Hidenwood assisted living community in the Spring of 2023 and had her own apartment. Mom initially did well, but her dementia progressed quickly until her passing on Christmas Day.
    All her life, mom was blessed to have family, friends, and a Parkview Baptist Church community who cared for her and, if she could, I’m sure she would say thank you to all. And I believe mom would want to say a special thank you to Nancy Spencer, her cousin. Nancy was like a sister to mom throughout her life, helping her through difficult times. Nancy unfortunately passed in 2023 as well.
    Tonya and I are very fortunate to have had a great mom, who was always there for us when we needed her. Rest in Peace Mom. You will be missed by all your family and friends, and remembered for your devotion to your family.

  3. Lucy Paone

    Dear Scott,

    What a beautiful tribute to your mother that has brought tears to my eyes. I know she is very proud of both you and Tonya. I enjoyed calling her now and then to see how she was getting along, and we would have a few laughs during our conversations.
    I plan to visit the Coombe and Romero families for this Easter Holiday and so I will see you all soon.

    Love from your mother-in-law,
    Lucy Paone


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