Kay Tracy Rest in Peace

Kay Tracy
July 23, 1941 - March 16, 2019

On Saturday, March 16, 2019, Kay Blythe Tracy passed away quietly at the age of 77 in the embrace of her husband and three sons after a courageous, 24-year battle with recurrent, ovarian cancer and liver disease. She was one of a kind!!

Born in New Orleans LA, to Lloyd and Katherine (Blythe) Runnels, Kay's early discovery of a passion for reading and learning drove her to overcome daunting childhood challenges and to excel through her primary schooling as a student, athlete, dancer, community lifeguard and local "Whiz Kid", ultimately winning a full scholarship to her choice of universities, Louisiana University-Lafayette, graduating with honors and launching a promising career as a scholar and medical technologist in San Diego CA. 

On February 25, 1967, she married her soulmate and Vietnam veteran, George, and together they raised three exceptional sons, in the midst of venturesome relocations from California to Colorado, Texas, Connecticut, Iran, France, Missouri, Virginia, and Florida. Enroute Kay earned her MBA from Drury College in Springfield MO in 1983 and her PhD degree from the University of Maryland, Smith School of Business, in 1989. 

She distinguished herself with membership in the prestigious Beta Gamma Sigma international business honor society, and subsequently thrived as a successful university professor of business in academia, teaching at, among others, the University of Maryland, Gettysburg College, George Mason University and the U.S. Marine Corps Base, Quantico VA. 

In recent years, settled in Lakewood Ranch FL, Kay continued to serve as a University of Maryland faculty evaluator, qualifying students to earn degree credit for their work experience and, until her death, she teamed with her husband as a 12th Circuit Court Guardian ad Litem, advocating for abused, neglected and abandoned children and as a military veteran legislative advocate on the scholarship and charity committees of the Military Officers Association of Sarasota. Through it all, as a wife, mother, host, chef, volunteer, collaborator, companion, teacher, organizer, advisor, team builder and leader, Kay was a positive, motivating, encouraging voice saying read everything, try everything, be kind to everyone; enjoy the journey; believe nothing is impossible!!

Kay made each encounter with those she touched, professionally and personally, an adventure in discovering the best that life has to offer, in sharing oneself, in overcoming challenge and in caring about others. She was a heroic, kind, welcoming, gracious and loving soul, who enriched our lives and whose memory will inspire and sustain us!

Kay was preceded in death by her Vietnam Veteran brother, 2LT Lloyd Jr USMC, her mother, Katherine, and her father, Lloyd Sr. She is survived by her husband: George, her three sons: George (Indy), Lloyd (Julia) and Chisholm (Cassie), her grandchildren: Lloyd, Emerson, Sloane and Corrigan and her many Blythe cousins.

Celebrations of Life are being arranged in Lakewood Ranch FL (Contact: Lynn Trusal, phdlynn@gmail.com) and in Baton Rouge LA (Contact: Davy Blythe, drdave240@gmail.com). Non-denominational services and interment are planned for 23 July 2019 (10:30AM service; 11:30AM reception) at the U.S. Naval Academy Columbarium, Annapolis MD. (Contact: George Tracy Jr, george.p.tracy@gmail.com). The family welcomes your donations in Kay's memory, in lieu of flowers, to the Children's Guardian Fund, 

http://www.moaa.org/Content/About-MOAA/Scholarship-Fund/Scholarship-Fund.aspxfor the children of military veterans.

Published in Herald Tribune from Apr. 12 to Apr. 14, 2019


Congressman Sam Johnson and Dr. Kay Tracy
A very nice story written by MOAS Member Kay Tracy.

I am attaching a copy of my "bracelet speech". I belonged to an organization in DC called Capitol Speakers. Women in the public eye, such as ambassadors' wives, as well as TV personalities, etc., joined to take a speech course and then practice speaking at monthly meetings. I wrote this little talk to give to that group. Sam Johnson, Congressman, from Texas, was supposed to attend for the presentation but that was the day when the Capitol was evacuated because of an anthrax (?) scare, so he didn't make it. Subsequently, I, along with George and some friends, went to his office and had the presentation there.

Sam Johnson read the little talk into the Congressional Record. As you will gather, I had his bracelet. I am attaching a picture as well. Sam has a bad arm, suffered as a result of torture while imprisoned in the Hanoi Hilton, where he was John McCain's roommate.

I still find the whole thing moving. By the way, a nun had John McCain's bracelet.

Dr. Kay Blythe Tracy


[Congressional Record: December 20, 2001 (Extensions)
Page E2347]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access



of Texas
in the House of Representatives
Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I submit the following article by Kay Blythe Tracy, Ph.D.:


Americans now are inspired and united by every musical note of  "God Bless America.'' But back in the sixties, we were a nation in discord, singing many different tunes. Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote songs of Camelot, while Pete Seeger asked,  "Where have all the young men gone?''

The story I'm going to tell you today is about what happened to one of those young men. This story began in the sixties, when POW/MIA bracelets were conceived as a way to remember missing or captive American prisoners of war in Southeast Asia. Traditionally, a POW/MIA bracelet is worn until the man named on the bracelet is accounted for, whether it be 30 days or 35 years.

I bought my bracelet in 1970 for $2.50. It has, "Lt. Col. Samuel Johnson, April 16, 1966'' engraved on it. I wore the bracelet faithfully for many years, but eventually took it off and put it away. But every time I opened my jewelry box, I saw it. And every time I saw it, I was saddened, and I thought of Lt. Col. Johnson, and I said a little prayer.

The bracelet led to my first foray into the wonderful world  of e-Bay, the on-line auction service, where I listed it for  sale. I thought that anyone who would buy it would treasure it and it would be out of my sight, out of my mind. To my surprise, bidding on the bracelet was brisk.

On the seventh, and final, day of the auction, my husband George asked me if I knew what had happened to Col. Johnson. 

"No,'' I replied. "I never wanted to know.'' But George went to the Internet, and returned with information. Of the more than twenty-five hundred POWs, and the three to six thousand MIAs, only 591 men returned. My brother did not.

After spending seven years as a prisoner of war, Sam Johnson did.

I was so happy I cried.

When I contacted Congressman Johnson's office, his aide, McCall Cameron, told me that he and Mrs. Johnson were on vacation with their grandchildren.

Grandchildren! More tears.

Congressman Johnson said he would very much like to have his bracelet. So, I cancelled the e-Bay auction, and today I am returning this souvenir. In the words of Randy Sparks, "A million tomorrows will all pass away, ere I forget all the joy that is mine today.''

And in my own words, I say to Sam, finally, 

"Welcome home.''


To Dr. Tracy, I say, "Thank you. We will never forget. God bless you.''

Congressman Sam Johnson

Escape From Iran Kay and George Tracy


It was 3 a.m. when our phone rang. We had been receiving death threats for weeks, so it was not a huge shock to hear that “We are evacuating all EDS employees from Iran—NOW!”

It was a scary bus ride to the airport for us and our three little boys, through the shadowy and threatening streets of Tehran, only to arrive at a dark, shut-down airport. Airport authorities said that the tower was closed and there would be no planes, since “Tehran is perfectly safe and there is no reason for you to leave. So, you can’t.” 

 We were herded into a large waiting area, past a high counter where a guard sporadically checked passports and admitted people into an interior holding area. Penny, an Australian friend, did not have an exit visa, because the Australian Embassy had closed down weeks before. She was separated from her three children and asked us to take them with us if she was barred from departing. I was thinking, “Oh no, now I have six children to manage in an evacuation”, but of course agreed. There was no food, no water, so about noon some of the men braved the streets to buy oranges for the children.

One young couple was in the process of adopting a beautiful little orphaned Iranian boy, an infant. But they hadn’t gotten formal adoption papers yet. There was no chance that he would be allowed to leave the country since the prevailing attitude at that time was “better a child should die in an orphanage than be raised as an infidel.” The mom and dad were understandably hysterical, sobbing and drawing a lot of unwelcome attention.

So a plan was hatched. First, we had to persuade the parents to turn the baby over to us. Penny’s little boy Beau, three, pushed the baby, in his stroller, right past the guard at the high desk, below the guard’s line of vision, into the holding area. The guard never even saw them go by.

Late in the afternoon, Pan Am finally landed a plane at the still-closed airport. Everyone formed a rubgy-type scrum and all 150 of us pushed past the gate, totally overwhelming the gate guards. Penny was in the middle. So was George, who was helping a friend manage the sleeping baby, draped over her arm, and completely covered by her overcoat. 

 We got on a bus out to the plane, followed by armed guards. They knew something was up, and got on to take a good long look at everyone. We all avoided eye contact. George used his body as a shield and the baby, still draped over our friend’s arm under her overcoat, didn’t make a peep. He slept through the whole thing!

And that’s how we became child smugglers. When we landed in Turkey, the baby was issued emergency paperwork so he was able to subsequently enter the U.S. Our brave friend who held the baby has passed away, and we lost touch with the mother and father. But we know we did the right thing, risky though it was, and hope that he has been a joy to his parents and had a wonderful, fulfilling life as a U.S. citizen.

Kay and George Tracy

Lloyd Chisolm Runnels, Jr

30 Oct 2007

Hey, Lloyd! We miss you and think about you every day!! We are all extremely saddened by your loss knowing what you would have become but we are extremely proud of what you did for the rest of us.

As your big brother (in-law), I am doing the best I can to live up to the sacrifice and honor that you bestowed on me and your grateful descendants. You would be proud of your sister, who has set a great example as mother and model student for your three nephews, George, Lloyd and Chisholm. Our son, Jeep (George, Jr) is a successful business man; Lloyd, your name sake, has become a great family doctor and Chisholm, who carries your middle name, is a successful aerospace engineer. You would be proud to have known them, as they would you.

I hope those who visit you here also will visit other sites that honor you so that they can remember with us what a great person you were.

Kay and I also placed a memorial chair in your honor at my Naval Academy Navy/Marine Corps Memorial stadium.

We will never forget you, Marine!! Sleep well!! SemperFi!!

Love, your family,
Kay and George
Jeep, Indy, and Sloane
Lloyd, Julia, Lloyd, Jr, Emerson and Chisholm

Placed by his brother-in-law,
George P. Tracy




A Note from The Virtual Wall

According to the 2/1 Command Chronology for November 1967, while 3rd Plt, Hotel 2/1 was operating about 6 kilometers south-southeast of Quang Tri Airfield on the 23rd a box-type mine was tripped at 2320H, killing three men and wounding one other. The three dead were


Lloyd Chisolm Runnels Jr
ON THE WALL:Panel 30E Line 73
This page Copyright© 1997-2018 www.VirtualWall.org Ltd.
  Home of Record:San Diego, CA
  Date of birth:11/11/1943
  Service Branch:United States Marine Corps
  Grade at loss:O1
  Rank:Second Lieutenant
Promotion Note:None
  ID No:0102254
  MOS:0301: Basic Infantry Officer
  Length Service:00
  Start Tour:10/27/1967
  Incident Date:11/23/1967
  Casualty Date:11/23/1967
  Status Date:Not Applicable
  Status Change:Not Applicable
  Age at Loss:24
  Location:Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam
  Remains:Body recovered
  Repatriated:Not Applicable
  Identified:Not Applicable
  Casualty Type:Hostile, died outright
  Casualty Reason:Ground casualty
  Casualty Detail:Other explosive device
  URL: www.VirtualWall.org/dr/RunnelsLC01a.htm
  Data accessed:12/29/2018
THE VIRTUAL WALL ®   www.VirtualWall.org


Hey, Craig! Kay and I appreciate your sharing what you wrote and I am passing on to you a few of Kay's brother's memories through the project of Blair Flint,  a student at Westlake High School in Austin, TX, whom we assisted back in 2010. 

There are two stories here, the story of the project that Blair was working on and its product, https://eanes.tv/category/Virtual+Vietnam+Memorial/, and the story of Kay's brother, Lloyd, as one of the heroes presented there at https://eanes.tv/media/t/1_04v0h24m/81478061. 

Here is Lloyd's entry on the VirtualWall.org web site, http://www.virtualwall.org/dr/RunnelsLC01a.htm,; his Quantico class web site: http://www.bocclass5-67.org/boc-class-5-67-memorial-monument/ with pictures of Kay next to Lloyd's inscription (upper left).

You may find this article relevant that came out of one of my interviews for Veterans Day back in 2008 that underscores the sacrifice of veterans and laments Lloyd's never having had the opportunity to see a lacrosse game with me! I so wish we could have done that!!

Glad to share this with you! Not sure what you can do with it, but, it is a story like those of too many others! Never Give Up!! Semper Fi!! 

Kay and George Tracy




Veterans Day November 11, 2017
Remembering you on this Veterans Day, November 11, 2017 As it is also your birthday I pray that you have family members left to remember you each and every day.



Semper Fi, Lt.


Remembering An American Hero
POSTED ON 10/31/13
Dear 2LT Lloyd Chisolm Runnels Jr, sir

As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.

May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.

With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir

Curt Carter


I will always remember you Lloyd
We went to high school together and later were roommates at USL. I have always felt like I had a part in your decision to become a Marine. I was also a Gung Ho Marine and often talked-up the Marine Corps with you at college.

When I read of your death in Viet Nam, I was stunned that you had become a Marine and had given your life for this country. While I feel a sense of guilt over having somehow contributed to your choice of the Marine Corps, I am so very proud to have known you and the kind of person you were. Thank you Lloyd for your unselfish service to our great country and for the ultimate sacrifice you made for all of us.

God bless your soul and rest in peace my brother Marine.


Thank you Lieutenant Runnels


Although we never met personally, I want to thank you Lieutenant Lloyd Chisolm Runnels, Jr., for your courageous and valiant service, faithful contribution, and your most holy sacrifice given to this great country of ours!

Your Spirit is alive--and strong, therefore Sir, you shall never be forgotten, nor has your death been in vain!

Again, thank you Lieutenant L.C. Runnels, Jr., for a job well done!



From your sister

Dear Junior: I think of you everyday. I know you'd be proud of your namesake, Lloyd Runnels Tracy and his brothers, Jeep and Chisholm.



We will remember you.


Your brothers of Second Battalion, First Marines honor your service and your supreme sacrifice. You are one of our heroes. 

Your comrades of 2/1 hold you in their hearts and minds forever. Take your warrior's rest for a duty well done. 

Semper Fi, Marine!


We appreciate your service and sacrifice.

Semper Fi, Marine

Craig Hullinger


More about Lloyd at:

April Breeze

Greetings, Again, Dear MOAS Member!!

Attached is your April 2019 issue of the MOAS monthly newsletter, The Sarasota Breeze, as well as a separate, new Reservation Form for you to use when making your reservation for the April Luncheon on Friday, April 19, 2019, at the Bird Key Yacht Club!

We would alert you that our upcoming monthly luncheon is on the 3rd Friday of this month, the 19th, and features  Lieutenant General William D. Beydler USMC, Retired, who is the immediate past Commander of the US Marine Corps Forces Central Command (MARCENT) at MacDill AFB, who will help us to better understand and appreciate the scope of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and its Area of Responsibility (AOR).  You do not want to miss it!!I would also, once again, alert you to the approach of our "Annual MOAA Storming The Hill" event on 10 April, an event that spearheads the MOAA mission, military veteran advocacy, by bringing together the ultimate political defense team for the U. S. All Volunteer Defense Force. On that date the MOAA leadership team, some 150 "Never Stop Serving" military veteran officers, will swarm every U. S. Congressman and Senator on Capitol Hill. Their reception depends on you and what you do between now and then!! Yes, here is where you can make a difference by going out to this link, yourMOAA Legislative Action Center, which is free to everyone, military veterans and non-veteran citizens, and send the messages awating your endorsement, so that when MOAA knocks on their door, they will open it and they will listen and they will VOTE, because you said, "JUST DO IT!!"Finally, if you have not yet paid your 2019 chapter dues, please do so at your earliest convenience. And for those of you who have, Thank You So Much!!As usual, we hope you enjoy this issue. Please let us know if you have any suggestions for future issues.

We would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to the new member of our newsletter editorial staff, Caitlin Bolton, who has done such anoutstanding job of producing this newsletter on her first outing.
         Cait, we are so fortunate to have your expertise and your willing initiative in maintaining the high standard of our award-winning Breeze newsletter!! Bravo Zulu!! (Well Done!!)Thanks for your support!! Make it a great week!!

Your Breeze Editorial Staff!!

Click to read the Breeze