Polly Donnelly, 72, died on April 12, 2022, following a four year struggle with cancer. Born on her father Pauls birthday on June 12, 1949, in Terre Haute, Indiana, she was christened "Paulette" in his honor. But she was forever known only as Polly. Rarely has a name seemed so perfectly matched to an individual's persona. In her case, the name Polly was synonymous with genuine warmth, a natural friendliness and a welcoming, inviting smile.
The third of eight siblings, but the oldest girl, she developed a nurturing, loving style that was to serve her well throughout her life. Her neighborhood in Terre Haute was a special place for her to grow up in the 1950s and early 1960s. She attended parochial grade and high schools there before leaving for college. Following graduation from St Louis University in 1971, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked on the staff of United States Senator Birch Bayh, her home state senator from Indiana. In 1973, she married Paul Donnelly, a Kansas Citian. The couple resided between Kansas City and Washington until 1977, when they moved permanently to Kansas City.
Polly and Paul raised three children: Kate, Jenny and Rory. She was a gentle, caring mother, singularly devoted to each child in her own special way. As they grew older, each became her friend as well as her child. She transformed every house into a warm, welcoming home for each member of her family and their friends. Few individuals were more skilled at putting every visitor at ease. She made each guest feel as if they were the only person in the room. Pollys home became a destination. She loved to entertain and was an accomplished chef, particularly skilled in the world of pasta.
When her children were grown, she embarked on a career in real estate. Her unique set of interpersonal skills almost instantly made her an effective and sought-after choice. Clients trusted her integrity, her sense of judgment, her patience and her always-calm demeanor. Her knowledge of the market, her approachability and her willingness to share her expertise also made her a frequent mentor to younger professionals. Often, she became close friends with her clients.
Polly loved walking, often logging four miles a day, even during the various courses of her treatment. She was a fixture on the paths and in the Rose Garden of Loose Park. Her sturdy, loyal companions were her beloved Golden Retrievers as well as the many friends with whom she chatted along the way. Polly relished all things related to Broadway musicals, from tunes she memorized as a child to those being written today. Her favorite movies were all all made before 1965. And while she loved and enjoyed traveling extensively throughout Europe and Chilean Patagonia, she was most drawn to the beauty and spirituality of Santa Fe, NM. For the last several decades, she spent a month each summer there. It became the site of annual family gatherings.
The family wishes to acknowledge and sincerely thank Pollys surgeon and oncologist at M.D. Anderson, her oncologist and professional staff at the Kansas University Medical Center, who treated her over the years and Dr. David Chao, a special friend who also served as President and CEO of Stowers Institute for Medical Research until 2020. Finally, a special thanks is in order for Kansas City Hospice, and the Kansas City Hospice House, where its dedicated and skilled staff treated Polly with such dignity and care in the final days of her life.
Polly is survived by her husband, Paul, and her three children, Kate Donnelly, Jenny Yarrow and her husband Chris and Rory Donnelly; three grandchildren, Cate Yarrow, Brady Yarrow and Jack Yarrow; her sisters Peggy Grimes and her husband, Bill, and Gina Dorsett and her husband, Brian; her brothers, Guy Mascari and his wife, Debbie, Stephen Mascari, Frank Mascari and his wife, Jane, and Rick Mascari and his wife Gina; 23 nieces and nephews and a brother-in-law, Mike Donnelly and his wife, Peggy. She was preceded in death by her parents, Paul Anthony and Aline Arnold Mascari and a younger brother, Jim.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Kansas City Hospice at 9001 State Line Road, Suite 300, KC MO 64114 (or online at https://www.kchospice.org/donation/) or to Rockhurst High School, 9301 State Line Road, Kansas City, MO 64114.
A Memorial Mass to celebrate the life of Polly Donnelly will be offered at 10:00AM on Friday, April 22, 2022 at Visitation Catholic Church, 5141 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64112.
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Friday, April 22, 2022
Visitation Church 5141 Main StreetKansas City, Missouri 64113