James Eugene (Gene) Kanatzar, loving husband, devoted father, and proud grandfather passed away peacefully on October 13, 2022, at his home surrounded by his loving family. A visitation will be held on October 20, 2022, at 9am, followed by a rosary at 9:40am, and Mass of Christian Burial at 10am at the Church of the Ascension, 9510 W. 127th Street, Overland Park, Kansas. A luncheon will be held immediately following the mass at Brookridge Country Club 8223 W. 103rd St. Overland Park, KS The service will be live-streamed at www.kcascension.org. Scroll down to live-stream location.
On December 19, 1932, Gene was born to Emmett and Mary Kanatzar (Heaney) in
Kansas City, Kansas, the youngest of four siblings, Harold, Jack, Robert and Sue (McElligott). Gene graduated from Bishop Ward High School in 1951, where he excelled in athletics. He furthered his education at Rockhurst College on an athletic basketball scholarship. He proudly served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
In 1959, Gene married Myra (Kane) at Blessed Sacrament Church. They enjoyed 62 years of marriage. Together they raised four children, Mary Glaser (Tom), Maureen Mauer (David), James (Jill Arlene), and Jeffrey (Jill Anne). Gene
selflessly dedicated his life to his family. Through his unconditional love, he showed them what
it means to be a husband, father, grandfather, and the all-time greatest father-in-law.
Gene was known for his compassion. He went out of his way to be kind to everyone he
encountered. He truly loved and was loved by everyone he met. His sincere personality shined
bright, leaving him with a life full of many great friends.
Gene was a natural salesman. He was a distributor for the Radio Corporation of America
(RCA) during the advent of the television age. For 28 years, he was the Regional Sales Manager
for the Cascade Corporation of Portland, Oregon.
Gene loved to play sports. After his college career, he was a respected handball player,
where he made many lifelong friends. He was also a member of Brookridge Country Club,
where he played golf late into his life, again making many great friends along the way. Always
putting family first, Gene spent countless hours coaching and mentoring his children and
grandchildren in life lessons, sports, sportsmanship, interviews, and careers.
Gene had many nicknames: Gene-o, Big Guy, Shadow, and his personal favorite
“Bobby,” used by his grandchildren. His likes included the Royals, Chiefs, college basketball,
sleeping in his own bed, a highball followed by ice cream in the empty glass, and his blue leather
recliner. His only dislikes were business trips away from home and dirty cars. Gene was a proud
“Dotte” and loved to tell people he was from “LA” (Lower Armourdale).
Gene was a devout Catholic. During his life he was an active member of St. Thomas,
Christ the King, Holy Cross, and Ascension Parishes. He was a regular volunteer at Hospitality
House, feeding Kansas City’s homeless. Gene truly exemplified the Christian virtues in both
words and actions.
Gene is survived by his wife Myra, four children, nine grandchildren: Michael (Jenna)
and Alex Mauer; William and Samuel Kanatzar; Katherine, Joseph and Timothy Glaser;
Nicholas and Lily Kanatzar; and numerous nieces and nephews that he loved dearly.
The family is very grateful to Dr. Vincent Lem of St. Luke’s Hospital for his wonderful
compassionate care. Donations may be made in Gene’s honor to St. Luke’s