A Celebration of Life
Kwasi Omari Vann
August 15, 1976- February 27, 2020
Kwasi Omari Vann, beloved son, father, uncle and friend was born August 15, 1976 in Kansas City, Missouri to Duane W. Vann and Brenda (Marzett) Vann. Steeped in African culture and tradition, his parents chose to name him Kwasi (born on Sunday) and Omari (the highest) reflecting their dreams for his life journey.
Kwasi received his early education (pre-k to 2nd) at Kiddie Kollege in Kansas City, KS. He then entered the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, attending Hazel Grove Elementary, Eisenhower Middle and Sumner Academy of Arts & Science. Kwasi excelled academically at all grade levels. Always caring and compassionate, Kwasi served as a Peer counselor while at Sumner and was a member of the French Club, Key Club, National Honor Society, Multicultural Council and was an INROADS intern. Kwasi participated in football, track and wrestling, often competing at the State level in both track and wrestling. It was music, however, that became his passion. As a saxophonist, Kwasi participated in the Marching, Concert and Pep Bands, but his participation in the Jazz Band sparked a lifelong love of Jazz composition and performance. Kwasi furthered his education at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, graduating Magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Economics in 1998. At Morehouse, Kwasi continued his love of music, participating in the Marching Band and Jazz Band and had the privilege of traveling with the Jazz Band on a European tour. His compassionate nature remained evident as he engaged in a number of community service activities during his time in Atlanta, Georgia.
Upon graduation from Morehouse College, Kwasi began work at American Century Investments in Kansas City, MO where he had previously worked as an INROADS intern. Subsequent to American Century, he worked at a lending agency. In 2000, Kwasi relocated to Arlington, Texas and began working for JP Morgan Chase as a financial analyst. His last position, prior to his health beginning to fail, was with Brinks Security as an Operations Analyst.
As a young adult, Kwasi joined Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Kansas City, Kansas and began his spiritual journey. There, he had the periodic opportunity to give praise to our heavenly father with his gift as a saxophonist. After relocating to Arlington, he attended Cornerstone Baptist Church, but later united with Mt. Olive Baptist in Arlington Texas and finally with Friendship Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Through the years, Kwasi developed an abiding faith in God and accepted the health challenges he faced with courage and sometimes humor.
During Kwasi’s time in Texas, he regularly participated in Jazz sessions in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and was frequently asked to play with bands at some of Dallas’ most notable Jazz venues. He was also a member of a band that played in downtown Dallas in an open courtyard every Friday evening in the summer. Kwasi had an appreciation for other arts as well, especially African American art, paintings, sculptures and poetry. He attended poetry readings and, on occasion, tried his hand at writing his own poems.
Kwasi Vann formed a loving relationship with Juanita Lyle and this union produced two wonderful, loving sons, Kwasi Omari Russell Vann, his precious first born and Keelon Wesley Vann who inherited his dad’s gift for music. This relationship ended with a continuing, loving commitment to their boys. After relocating to Texas, Kwasi found love with Farah S. Banks and they were united in marriage on September 14, 2002. They enjoyed traveling, visiting, and supporting family and friends. Road trips became their own little jam session. Kwasi and Farah welcomed Dominiq Omari Vann on July 5, 2007 and they became a blended family of five. This union was later dissolved, but both worked together amicably to provide a loving and nurturing environment for Dominiq. Kwasi loved his boys and enjoyed spending time with them going to movies, playing games and recreational basketball, and supporting their activities whenever possible.
Kwasi relocated to Kansas City, Kansas in October 2011 when his health began to decline, to be near his parents. He continued his love of jazz and played when his health allowed. The Mutual Musician’s Foundation provided that outlet.
In his short 43 years, Kwasi lived a full life. He so enjoyed family vacations, trips and get togethers in Oklahoma, Texas and California, and especially Sunday family day with his sister, Daneka and his nieces and nephews, and his times with his boys watching them grow and develop. Those are times he treasured. He frequently expressed his gratitude for the love and support of his family and friends.
Kwasi Omari Vann was preceded in death by paternal grandparents, Elmer and Mildred Redick Vann and maternal grandparents, Robert and Aunessia Daniels Marzett.
He is survived by parents, Duane and Brenda Marzett Vann; sons, Kwasi Omari Russell Vann of Los Angeles, CA, Keelon Wesley Vann of Kansas City, KS and Dominiq Omari Vann of Arlington Texas; sister Daneka M. Vann of Lawrence, KS; Aunts, Donna Mitchell and Sheila Vann of Lawrence, KS, Uncles, Ottis (Bessie)Vann of Matthews, N.C., Leonard(Willa) Vann of Raytown, MO, James (Madelyn) Vann and Craig Vann of Lawrence, and Brian(Junko) Vann of San Francisco, CA; two grand-aunts, Lula Daniels Marzett (Spencer, Oklahoma), Kwasi’s surrogate grandmother who enriched his life with love and support from infancy to the present and Vivian Daniels (wise, loving and supportive in all ways); three nieces-Audrey (Tyler), Daiyna and Kianti Jayde and two nephews- Kristian and Justice, all of Lawrence, KS. Kwasi is survived by special cousins Kimberly Marzett, who has been his rock throughout his life and Pamela Lawson, with whom he forged a bond at age two donut shopping. Also surviving are his brother of the heart, Damion Zachary (K.C., MO), Danielle (Jermaine) Butler (Savannah, Ga. (childhood friend since preschool), a special love, Ms. Jamie Woodruff, who brought joy, love and companionship into his life these last two years, and her son, Yalone Woodruff. We love you. Kwasi leaves an extended family of cousins, relatives and friends.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Kwasi Omari Vann, please visit our floral store.