Mary Kay McGrath

Departed on Feb 23, 2024

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Mary Kathryn “Mary Kay” McGrath, 69, passed away at home with her family by her side on February 23, 2024. A private funeral mass was held at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church. A Celebration of Mary Kay’s life will be held at Ashton Hill Farms on Saturday, March 23rd from 2 to 6pm. Please wear colorful clothing.

Mary Kay is survived by her husband, Pat; children, Lindsay McGrath-Vasquez (John), Gavin McGrath (Audrey), and Jaymie McGrath-Hobson (Anthony); grandchildren, Franklin, Briggs, Hattie, Hayes, Macy, Watts, Sayer, Grace, Colton, Samantha, and Parker; siblings, Tom (Betty) Novak, Janet (Tom) Kleopfer, Jim (Sue) Novak, Dennis Novak, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews whom she loved dearly. She was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Eileen Novak, brother, and sister-in-law Mike and Mary Novak, along with many loved ones.

Mary Kay was born on January 23rd, 1955, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She spent time growing up in Albia, Iowa, living in “the big house” then returned to Cedar Rapids in 7th grade. She graduated from Jefferson High School in 1973, where she immersed herself in the arts through musicals and being a part of Westside Delegation. As a natural leader and businesswoman, she pursued the big city life, exploring her love for fashion in Chicago, and then decided to return to Cedar Rapids to help the people she loved most.

In 1981, she bought a car from Pat, where she tried to negotiate cruise control in exchange for a date, and the rest is history. They got married in 1982 and had their three wonderful children and now eleven grandchildren. Mary Kay dedicated these years to being a huge support system for Pat, her family, and the community. She spent countless hours leading fundraisers, volunteering, and bringing people together for a cause. You could always find her in the stands or bleachers of her family and friends events being everyone's number one supporter. 

Mary Kay had a goal of getting her college degree and would accomplish anything she set her mind to. While juggling supporting the family business and being a mom to three very active children, she went on to get her associate degree from Kirkwood and completed her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Coe College in 2007.

Mary Kay was deeply rooted in this city and her Czech heritage, and the Czech Village had a special place in her heart. While serving on the board of the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, she purchased eight different properties with her business, Novak Investments, in Czech Village in 2018 with a goal to bring it back to life fueled by memories of her childhood with her family when her Dad owned the Full Service Gas Station Novak’s Texaco just up the road. Mary Kay's passion for Czech Village never waned as she brought her dream of Sweeties and Sweet Mercantile, an old-fashioned soda fountain shop and candy store, to life. Through it all she continued to work on new projects, Novak Plaza and the Round House, which will carry on her legacy.

There was nothing more that Mary Kay loved than her family. She was the best Bebe (grandma), Auntie Kay, Sister, and Friend, showing us love and being everyone's biggest cheerleaders until the day she passed. The legacy and impact she has made on this community, her family, and friends will live on forever.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to “MK’s Angel Fund” at Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust where it will be distributed to people and organizations in need.