Kay McMahan Bornemann lives a pretty simple life. Simple, from the standpoint of very little clutter, and no drama. Simple, from the standpoint of identifying what is important in life. Simple, from the standpoint of taking care of family and friends.
Kay McMahan Bornemann was brought up that way.
"It’s just the way I was raised. My daddy taught me that you take care of yourself and you prepare for the next generation. You have to plan ahead to give your children opportunities," Kay said.
The McMahan family tree has many branches. Through numerous hours of research, Kay is able to document her great grandfather, Alvin Marr McMahan, participated in the Oklahoma land run of 1889. The McMahan family still owns five homesteads, in the Union City area, her relatives settled in the land run.
"When my parents, Ollis and Jane, got married, they had $22. About six months after they married, they were able to rent a farm from an aunt. They lived their entire lives right here in this area," Kay said.
Ollis and Jane were farmers. Kay was born in her parent’s house in 1940. Kay graduated from Union City High School in 1958. That was the same year she married Don Bornemann. Don was a dairy farmer in the community of Banner. After meeting at a 4-H rummage sale, and dating for two years, Kay and Don decided they wanted to marry in the summer of 1958.
"I was farming our land with my daddy and he asked me not to get married until we had the ground worked. That’s what we did. I worked the ground with my father and got married in September 1958," Kay said.
The McMahan’s were not wealthy people. Nobody in the McMahan family tree was wealthy. They were just honest, hard working people.
"You pay your bills, save some money, try and buy some land, and pass it on, so you can take care of your kids. That’s just the way I was brought up," Kay said.
The same simple lifestyle has been passed on to Kay and Don’s two children, Ray and LaDonna.
Being a part of the community is another responsibility that comes with being a McMahan. It is a lesson Kay has taken to heart. Kay is president of the Union City Lions Club, and is involved in Farm Bureau, Canadian County 4H, and Extension Homemakers, an education program for women. Kay and Don are active in the Methodist church in Union City.
"My mom was involved in the community all of her adult life. When you grow up with parents that are involved, you just realize it is the thing to do," Kay said.
Life in Union City has not changed that much over the years. Kay doesn’t know everybody in town anymore, but the town and character of Union City is about the same today as it was when Kay was growing up.
"The people still care about each other and want to help each other. The faces have changed a little bit, but the cause is still the same. This is a community that cares about each other," Kay said.
Kay has her 55th high school reunion coming up in April. She has missed only one high school reunion since she graduated. Kay doesn’t miss much in life, because it is a simple life and a simple life is a good life.
Sometimes less is more. Just ask Kay McMahan Bornemann.