Stephanie Michele Mott, 61, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, March 4, 2019, at Stormont Vail Healthcare.
Stephanie was born December 31, 1957, in Lawrence, KS, to Vernon Lowell and Lillian Irene (Calvin) Mott. She graduated from Eudora High School in 1975. Stephanie later went back to school earning an Associate Degree of Human Services Management from the University of Phoenix in 2010, a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Washburn University in 2014, and a Master of Social Work from Washburn University in 2016. Stephanie achieved a major accomplishment just last month by earning her certification as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Previously, she worked as an office assistant and grant writer for the Shawnee County Commission Office from August 2009 to March 2015, and as a Mental Health Clinician at Valeo Behavioral Health Care from September 2016 until her passing.
She was involved in many social justice causes, but most of her life’s work focused on LGBTQ+ advocacy. She founded the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project (KSTEP) in 2010 and later her Transgender Faith Tour, traveling across the nation to tell her story and talk about her faith in churches, large and small. Stephanie was on the advisory board of the local Beacon Youth Group. She served as chair, vice-chair and other positions for Equality Kansas; both the state organization and the local Topeka chapter. At the time she chaired Equality Kansas she was the only transgender leader of a statewide equality organization in the U.S. She helped revive the Topeka Pride celebration and served as the first president of Topeka Pride, Inc. Stephanie helped create and was the president of the board for Capitol City Equality Center in Topeka. She served on the Topeka Human Relations Commission, and was an inaugural member of the Topeka Police Department Citizens Advisory Council. Stephanie also formed the Topeka chapter of the National Organization for Women and was supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement.
She enjoyed playing the piano, singing, even writing her own music. She loved to fish, working with machinery, and her KU Jayhawks.
Stephanie was a mentor and a friend to many. She advocated tirelessly for the disenfranchised, the less fortunate and gave a voice to the voiceless. Her work will continue and her legacy is that everyone deserves love, no matter the circumstances.
She is survived by her son, Aron Mott; two sisters, Nancy McMechan and Julie Nice; eleven nieces and nephews; god-daughter, Hallie Horne; adopted mother, Marion Shorman; beloved coworkers at Valeo; and the numerous people whose lives Stephanie touched on her journey.
Stephanie was preceded in death by her parents; and two brothers, Paul and Reverend Daniel Mott.
A celebration of Stephanie's life will be at 2:00 pm on Saturday, March 23, 2019, at the Topeka Performing Arts Center, 214 SE 8th Ave, Topeka, KS 66603. A potluck will be shared from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Saturday, March 23, 2019, at the Universalist Unitarian Fellowship of Topeka, 4775 SW 21st Street, Topeka, KS 66604.
Memorial contributions may be made to Capitol City Equality Center, PO Box 8155, Topeka, KS 66608 or Equality Kansas, 800 N Market, Wichita, KS 67214.
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