Canton-Galva student finishes up high school while dealing with loss of dad

Robert and Gracie Kidd. Robert died from COVID-19 in 2021 while Gracie was a junior in high school. Gracie just graduated this weekend and will be going to college in the fall.

Gracie Kidd experienced more hardships than most high schoolers should have to, but she didn’t let it stop her from finishing high school well or from making big plans for after graduation.

Kidd, who graduated this past Sunday from Canton-Galva, lost her dad to COVID-19 during her junior year.

“My dad was and still is a very big influence in my life. He always had a sense of humor or some kind of joke ready to cheer me up,” said Kidd. “I was very lucky that he was so good with people and making relationships with people, because I would never have been able to meet such cool people nor would I have the trait of being good with people. Everyone loved him, and when he went into work he always kept the place tidy but always had fun with his workers and always had dancing music on.”

Robert Kidd was a chef who worked all over in places such as The Cedars, Dallas, Topeka, Manhattan, Denver, and lastly, Newton.

A lot of people in and around McPherson County knew who Robert Kidd, was according to Kidd. The family moved from Texas to Lindsborg when Kidd was two and then moved to McPherson when Kidd was four. They moved to Galva shortly after and have lived there ever since then.

“Dad loved to fish. Although I am not much of a fan of fishing, he and my brother Shep always went to our grandparents’ house to fish, and I would go out in the woods with the dog. I loved that he was always in a good mood. Even when I came home in the worst moods, he would always cheer me up. Dad and I spent a lot of time in the shed or outside mowing. I loved to mow, and so when we moved to a bigger house, I soon learned that I could not mow the three acres on my own, so we did it together. In the shed, we would always be working on a car or mower or just about anything,” she said.

According to Kidd, her dad was also very into Christmas.

“Christmas meant that it was time to set up lights, decorate the tree, and Santa and his little elf (me) were getting ready for little kids to come see us,” she said. “Dad has a full garage of Christmas lights. And many of them are from when I was a little kid and watched him set up the lights. My dad was a great man and I loved hearing his childhood stories or just driving around in the truck with him. He was a lot of fun to spend time with.”

Her dad was sent to the hospital on his birthday, Oct. 23, in 2020. He was in and out of the hospital for many months. He was on and off a breathing machine, and then he was finally put on a ventilator.

“I would always go see him, and since it was around Christmas time, I decided to take some Expo markers and draw on his window from the outside, so he had a little Christmas scene,” said Kidd.

Her dad was in three different rooms while in and out of the hospital, so three different rooms had nice Christmas drawings on them.

“I heard that the patients loved it. Vallerie Gleason [President & Chief Executive Officer at NMC Health] and Todd Kasitz [Chief Financial Officer at NMC Health] also were amazing people in the process of letting me be able to see my dad with how strict COVID-19 rules were,” said Kidd.

Robert and his kids were not strangers to him being sick and in the hospital.

Kidd’s dad had Leukemia for a couple of years before the pandemic hit. It was while he was in remission that he got COVID-19 and his body could not handle any more. He died at NMC Health in Newton on Jan. 2, 2021

One of the sweetest memories Kidd has is that while she went to see her dad almost every day or when she could, her brother Shep never wanted to go.

“The day that Shep finally got the courage to go see Dad was the day that he died, and I couldn’t ask for anything more. Seeing Dad in the state that he was was very hard for me, and I knew he knew I was there because I got a few tears from him while he was on the ventilator. But it is amazing that Dad waited for Shep to come see him before he passed,” she said.

So now that Kidd has graduated, what is next?

“I have always wanted to play a college sport, and before dad passed, I decided that it was probably best for me just to go get my degree and move on with life. But when he passed, I decided that maybe I will try and see what schools have to offer,” Kidd said.

She plans to go to Tabor College to play softball and cheer in memory of her dad. She also plans to study business and major in administration or entrepreneurship and possibly get her masters.

“Tabor has been so amazing to work with and have been so supportive of my dreams and what I want to accomplish. Without my mom, I would have never been able to do any of this,” she said. “And Dad always said that he wanted me to end up better than where he was and by that he wanted me to settle down and not travel the country like he did. I know that I will be and am making him happy with my choices, and I also know that Tabor is the place I was meant to be.”

Kidd is ready to move on after surviving all of the hardships life through at her in high school so she can thrive in college, and it sounds like she is ready to do just that.

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