By Matt Clevenger
For Miami Valley Today
WEST MILTON — Milton-Union Exempted Village Schools are mourning the loss of a beloved educator, after the passing of vocal music instructor and high school show choir leader Kellie Mahaney on Tuesday, Feb. 2.
According to a GoFundMe page created for the family, Kellie lost her battle with COVID-19 following a nine-week battle with the virus. The page, www.gofundme.com/f/medical-and-funeral-expenses-for-kellie-mahaney, says it is raising funds for her medical and funeral expenses to help her husband Mitch and children Karson and Keegan. As of press time, the fund had raised nearly $3,000 of its $20,000 goal.
“Kellie made life-long friends among our staff members, and of course, they are heartbroken,” Milton-Union Schools Superintendent Dr. Brad Ritchey said. “Everyone grieves differently, but all of us have a story about Mrs. Mahaney’s ability to connect with colleagues and students. She was a bright, wonderful soul with a “larger than life” personality, and we will miss her more than could ever be expressed with words.
“Students and former graduates developed a close bond with Kellie due to the amount of time and effort invested in high school show choir,” Dr. Ritchey said. “She inspired her students and cared for them deeply. She made them feel like they could accomplish anything, even when they were uncertain about performing for an audience. Kellie was great at drawing out student talent and pulling them into the spotlight. She was complimented often by fellow directors and event organizers that Milton-Union Center Stage performers were nothing less than “pros.”
Mahaney taught choir and drama at Milton-Union Schools for 26 years. A graduate of Miami East High School, she was also a member of the Miami East Athletic Boosters and the Ohio Music Educators Association.
“We had support staff in the building yesterday from the Tri-County Board of Mental Health and Recovery,” Dr. Ritchey said. “Members of the clergy and representatives from the Milton-Union Council of Churches were on-site to intervene and support students and staff members as well. We continue to support those children and staff members working their way through the grieving process.”
Milton-Union students and staff members have posted a tribute with their thoughts on the district web site and social media feeds. The tribute page can be viewed at https://www.muschools.com/article/393671.
Students and staff members are also planning for additional memorial services to be announced later.
“We are still reflecting on and processing the situation and supporting each other, but we do have plans to consider all options at a later time,” Dr. Ritchey said. “Kellie had a tremendous impact on Milton-Union Schools, so we want to honor her work, memory, dedication, and spirit in a meaningful way.”
A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m.Saturday, Feb. y 6 at Baird Funeral Home in Troy; family members will receive friends from 2- 6 p.m. at Baird Funeral Home.
Condolences can be expressed to the family at www.bairdfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Milton-Union Choir at Milton-Union High School.