Obituaries detail

Jessica Marie Gates, Age: 47
Aug 11, 1973 - Jul 11, 2021

Jessica Marie Gates passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, July 11, 2021, at home in Independence, MO. Jessica was born on August 11, 1973, in Kansas City, MO. to Janet “Cookie” Cook and Galen R. Gates, and was a lifelong area resident.


Jessica graduated from Sumner Academy, class of 1991. Because she was so tall and athletic looking, strangers who met her invariably asked if she played basketball. Demonstrating a trait for which she was known all her life, Jessica’s witty comeback was “no”, I play the clarinet.” She was a proud member of Sumner Academy Symphonic Orchestra, Jazz ensemble, and Marching Band.


Upon graduating from Sumner Academy, she was a two-year member of the National Honor Society. Other honors and awards included Kansas State Scholar, Kansas State University Endowment Award, and National Merit Commended Student. She also received a Presidential Scholarship from Kansas City Kansas Community College, where she began the journey to fulfill her dream of becoming a mechanical engineer.


As so often happens, Jessica changed course after a few years, spending the rest of her adult life in the customer service and hospitality businesses in numerous capacities. It was also at this time that one of the greatest assets she possessed since birth truly manifested itself-her love of people and the desire to make everyone’s life just little happier and a whole lot better for having entered her sphere of influence. 


Jessica met her true love, John Blair Fink, a.k.a. Big Blair, in 1995, and from that relationship, she was blessed with her most precious gifts and assumed her proudest role in life-that of mother to son Blair St. John Fink, a.k.a. Little Blair, and daughter Kasey Elizabeth Fink. Although Jessica and Big Blair’s relationship ended several years later, they stayed close friends and the four of them remained a loving family unit.


Around 2014, Jessica discovered a new passion that gave her life a whole, new meaning-animal rescue. She would take calls at all hours of the day and night, and often spent countless hours searching for lost, abandoned, and/or neglected fur babies. Working with The Rescue Project (for which she was a former foster coordinator, volunteer, foster and an active scanner in the community) and countless other volunteers/groups in the Independence area and beyond, she assisted in reuniting hundreds of  pets with their families or helped them find new, forever homes. As so many of her friends and family knew, Jessica herself was a 3-time “foster fail” having adopted Halo, Mystic and Roxi. Had city ordinances allowed there would have been many more "foster fails."


Jessica is survived by daughter Kasey Fink of the home, son Blair Fink, Independence, MO., and their father John Blair Fink, Independence, MO., both her parents, sister Sonya Crane-Yancey, Lee’s Summit, MO., all her fur babies, and numerous cousins, extended family, and too many friends to count. In addition to her natural-born children, Jessica was “mom” to many of Blair and Kasey’s friends over the years, and went above and beyond for them as if they were truly her own.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Jessica and in support of her children and family at

Other options include donating to your favorite charity or any animal rescue organization/no kill animal shelter in Jessica's name.


"What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” – Helen Keller


Diana Fritz Jul 17 ,2021

We are sad to hear about Jessica's passing. Our deepest sympathy to all of you. Bruce & Diana

Kevin Bilyeu and family Jul 17 ,2021

Brother ,Olathe ,Kansas

So sorry for the loss of this woman! She was a dynamic person in mind and soul! She had a fabulous attitude for people and animals! She will be truly missed! Too young. Sorry to Cookie and her immediate family. May God Bless her and shine his light upon her! AMEN

Dawn Privett Jul 17 ,2021

Friend ,Independence ,Missouri

I have only to say that I love you all.

JeniBear Petrie Jul 17 ,2021

Friend ,Mesa ,Arizona

I only knew her thru Facebook. But we had years of sharing bad jokes, cute puppy videos, and some very deep conversations about life, the universe and our place in it. She helped me through a very rough part of my life, never once did she judge my sins. Only ever compassionate, real, and encouraging she reminded me that we are all flawed. But we are all learning and growing. And to give myself a break for my past,and do better in the now, and my future will be what I make it. My heart is with all of you who knew and loved her. She was a blessing to this world.

Robin Morris Jul 17 ,2021

Friend and co-worker ,richmond ,Missouri

My heart breaks for the kids and family for the loss of their mom, daughter,sister, friends and her fur babies. Jess was a kind and genuine friend that I loved dearly. I will miss her bigger than life personally,quick wit,and biggest welcoming heart to all 2 legged and 4 legged creatures of this world. Till we meet again in you and miss you

Amber Lindsley Jul 17 ,2021

Friend ,Tacoma ,Washington

I'm so sorry for your loss. Jessica was a wonderful woman. My heart goes out to your family.

Kimberly Willis Jul 17 ,2021

Facebook friend ,independence ,Missouri

I am truly sorry for your loss. I never meet her in person but I have been friends with her on Facebook for a while. She was always posting pictures of her fur babies and I knew she loved them very much. She will be missed but never forgotten. Sending prayers and love from my family to yours.

Sarah Sarabia Jul 17 ,2021

Friend ,Thornton ,Colorado

My deepest condolences to Kasey and Blair! Sending you kids all my love in this difficult time. She was such an amazing woman and loved you kids so very much. She will always be missed and loved so very much.

Erin Duggins Jul 17 ,2021

Friend ,Blue Springs ,Missouri

Jess was an amazing human being. I met her when she was still with Girl Scouts. She was always smiling and happy to talk to everyone. Jess was very dedicated to everything she was doing and passionate about. She and I remained in touch through Facebook a lot, and would always enjoy bumping into each other, when we got the chance. I will always miss her helping every person and animal she could and will miss her spirit and joy above all else. Rest In Peace πŸ’•

Michelle Floyd Jul 18 ,2021

Rescue friend ,Blue Springs ,Missouri

I met Jess in rescue at GPSPCA we walked dogs together...she will be very very deepest condolences to you and your family

Louis and Joy Cappozzoli Jul 18 ,2021

Friend ,Independence ,Missouri

Although we only knew you a very short time we were very proud to call you our friend. You are missed by many and loved by all. Rest in peace sweet lady until we meet again. Our heart felt sympathy. Louis and Joy

Cara Morris Jul 19 ,2021

Tina-Marie Vaitl's mother ,Corpus Christi ,Texas

Jess, I didn't know you, but I know you were my daughter's best friend, and she will remember you always and miss and love you. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend to her ~ you will live in her heart forever. Rest in peace dear lady.

Laurel Lopez Jul 19 ,2021

Facebook friend. ,Crescent City ,California

I will dearly miss my friend Jess. She was a beautiful person. My condolences to her family & friends πŸ™

Jen Manninen Jul 25 ,2021

Fb friend ,Gwinn ,Michigan

I've known Jess for about 6 years on fb unfortunately never met her in person. However I've always known how compassionate she was towards her children and her fur babies. I loved how caring she was towards all of us in our little fb group. She'll definitely be missed but definitely not forgotten! My prayers and condolences go out to her family during this difficult time