John Wesley Kays Jr.

Date of Death: September 12, 2020

John Wesley Kays Jr., of Louisville, KY. passed peacefully on Saturday, September 12th, 2020 surrounded by his family. "John", "Jack" or "Jackie" was born in Harrodsburg, KY on October 9th, 1932 to Lida (Vaught-Moore) and John Wesley Kays.

In 1953, John married Audra Cooper of Lexington, KY and soon after graduated with his B.A. from Asbury College. In 1954, he was drafted into the US Army during the Korean War and served his time as a Chaplains' Assistant. Later, he attended the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary for his Divinity Degree and enlisted back in the Army as a US Military Chaplain. He had many stateside and foreign tours, including a year in Vietnam. His highest declaration in the military was the bronze star medal and rank of Lt. Colonel. Upon retirement in 1980, he continued his music passion and was awarded a position as the Ft. Knox Head Music Coordinator, but he also, sang in the Kentucky Opera, taught at Embry Riddle University as well as the University of Louisville school of Music, all while finishing his Masters and Ph.D. in Music Composition through the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville.

For his Masters thesis, he wrote the orchestral score for the United Methodist Bicentennial held in Louisville, KY. John, along with Audra, became members of the St. Paul United Methodist Church when they moved from Ft. Knox to Louisville in 1993.

John is survived by his spouse, Audra Cooper Kays, son; Michael A. Kays (Tracey C. Kays), his five grandchildren; Chris, Chelsea, Brandon and Catherine Kays, Alana Mori, and great grandchild Nikayla Sevilla. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister Virginia K. Chamberlin.