Barbara Mary (Cadieux) Devitt

Barbara Mary (Cadieux) Devitt died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 89 on December 24, 2018. She was born in Jamestown, North Dakota, on December 5, 1929, to Kenneth Bradford and Amy Eugenia (Simmons) Cadieux. She was the youngest girl of 11 children.

After attending one year of college in North Dakota, Barbara married Clayton Francis Devitt on August 27, 1949, and began their travels together. They raised four children and moved to several different states, settling for many years in one of her favorite towns, Fort Collins, Colorado, where they spent weekends and vacations camping in the mountains. After all four children were in school, Barbara returned to school herself and completed her degree at Colorado State University. After a move to the Kansas City area, she completed a Master’s degree in English, writing her thesis on John Milton’s Samson Agonistes, though Walt Whitman was the poet whose well-worn collection was always on her shelf. Barbara taught some college courses but spent most of her career teaching high school English at Shawnee Mission West High School in Overland Park, Kansas. She was as adventurous as a teacher as she was in the rest of her life. After another move for Clay’s work to Dallas, Texas, and then Atlanta, Georgia, Barbara retired.

When Clay retired, they moved to another well-loved mountain town, Asheville, North Carolina, where Barbara began her life as an artist, taking painting classes and even displaying her work at a local studio, as well as enjoying hikes in the surrounding mountains, the spiritual scene around Asheville, two cats, many good friends, and time with her son Brad. After Clay’s death in 2005, Barbara moved to be near her daughters—in 2006 to Kansas City, Missouri, and in 2010 to Lawrence, Kansas.

In addition to her husband of 56 years, Barbara was preceded in death by her son David John Devitt in 2013 and one grandchild, Jenny Harris.

She is survived by David’s children Jason Devitt, Josh Devitt, and Marissa Costello; by her daughter Nola Devitt of Kansas City, Missouri, and her children Michael Hess of Dallas, Texas, Sara Paine and grandson-in-law Iain of New Canaan, Connecticut, Rebecca Schnoebelen and grandson-in-law Luke of Kansas City, and Diana Hess of Kansas City; by her daughter Amy Joanne Devitt and son-in-law James Hartman of Lawrence, Kansas; and by her son Bradley Joseph Devitt of Asheville, North Carolina. She is also survived by her great grandchildren Julia, Spencer, and Lucy Paine and Claire and Ella Schnoebelen.

One of eleven siblings, Barbara is survived by her sister Pat and brothers Bob and Dick, her Cadieux and Devitt in-laws, and many loving nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Barbara’s life will be held at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, January 15, at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana, Lawrence, Kansas 66044. The family will receive friends after the service.

The family suggests donations in Barbara’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association, sent in care of the funeral home or directly at

Throughout her life, Barbara loved the outdoors, art, family, and friends, and kept her tough and adventurous spirit even through difficulties. She will be deeply missed by her family and many loving caregivers, who appreciated her sweetness, spunk, and bright smile.