Obituaries detail

Heather Shannon Samuel

November 26, 1963 - January 9, 2024


Heather Shannon Samuel of Lenexa, Kansas passed away peacefully on January 9, 2024 surrounded by those who loved her after a long and courageous battle with cancer.


Born in Toronto, Canada on November 26, 1963, Heather moved with her family to the U.S at a young age and spent her early childhood years in Natick, Massachusetts before moving to California at the age of 12.  Heather attended dental hygiene school at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, and practiced her craft in that area before moving to the Kansas City area in 1988 to attend the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Dentistry, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in dental Hygiene in 1990 and 1991, respectively.  She completed her education at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, earning a master’s degree in public health in 2008.


For 30 years, Heather taught Dental Hygiene at Johnson County Community College before retiring in 2022.  She loved teaching, and no doubt many of her students will attest to her being a tough, no-excuses professor, who always made learning fun and with their acquisition of knowledge always the top priority.  Heather particularly had a passion for public health and serving the oral health needs of underserved communities.  Heather is responsible for bringing to fruition an innovative program called Oral Health on Wheels (OHOW) in 2008 that involved soliciting funding from outside sources to purchase a 40-foot truck that housed a fully equipped dental clinic staffed by Heather, a dentist and dental hygiene students.  Heather even trained for and earned her CDL so she could drive the truck!  Fifteen years later, the first truck has been replaced, this time fully funded by the college, and OHOW is an important part of the program’s learning curriculum, serving clients of Johnson County Developmental Support (JCDS) and other underserved populations in Johnson County, Kansas. 


Heather’s selfless dedication to her profession and to serving the needs of underserved populations was formally recognized by The University of Missouri Kansas City when she was named 2023 Alumni of the Year for the School of Dentistry.  Heather served on the boards of local civic organizations, Including REACH Healthcare Foundation (Board of Directors) and Evergreen Community of Johnson County in Olathe (Executive Committee and Board Chair) and on the Advisory Board of Easters Seals Midwest. In addition to community board service, Heather has previously been involved with State of Kansas initiatives, serving on the Dental Workforce Cabinet and Development and Planning Committee of Kansas Oral Health Plans.  As a long-time member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City, Missouri, she served the church in many different capacities over the years including Altar Guild and Vestry.  


Her husband Roger came into Heather’s life in 2013 and the couple were married in 2017.  During their all-too-short time together, they have enjoyed traveling to England, France, Ireland and Italy as well as many trips within the U.S., and have enjoyed their many rounds of golf together at Milburn Country Club and elsewhere.  A passionate and talented needlepointer, the Samuel home is adorned with many of her works that will provide wonderful memories to all who visit. 


Anyone who spent any time with Heather has heard her ask the question many times, “Does it bring you joy?”  It was truly her mantra for living her life, but really it was she who dispensed joy to so many others.  She was a wonderful mother to Thomas and wife to Roger, and a great, great friend to almost everyone she ever met.


Preceding Heather in death is her father, Thomas Wilson Shannon, who passed in 2005.  Surviving Heather are her loving husband, Roger; son Thomas Flick and wife Monica of Omaha, Nebraska; stepchildren Chelsea Samuel of Oakland, California and Reid Samuel of Kansas City, Missouri; mother Barbara Budd of Colorado Springs, Colorado and sister Paula Shannon of Tukwila, Washington, as well as many loving members of her extended family. 


Heather would like to thank her dedicated and compassionate care teams at Advent Health and St. Luke’s Hospice, as well as so many caring friends and family members who offered so much support through difficult times.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks you to consider memorial gifts to the St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Altar Guild ( or to the Advent Health Foundation ( 


A celebration of Heather’s life will be held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City, Missouri at 3:00 PM on Thursday, January 25, 2024, with a reception to follow at Milburn Country Club, Overland Park, KS.

Additional Service:
Celebration of Life
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
6401 Wornall Terrace
Kansas City
Zip Code:
Date of Service:
Jan 25, 2024
Time of Service:
3:00 pm
Additional Information:
No Additional Information Added
Google Map:


Korie Friederich (Reed) Jan 09, 2024

Former Student ,Lawrence ,Kansas

Wow this breaks my heart. She was such an incredible instructor and person and will be so missed. Her impact and legacy will live on through all of her former students and the many many residents of Johnson County whose lives she improved with her passionate dedication to the oral health profession. May she rest in peace. ❤️

Carrie Hanson Jan 09, 2024

Colleague ,Olathe ,Kansas

To Roger and Heathers family. I am so sorry for your loss of Heather. She was one of a kind and I was privileged to know her. I pray for your comfort and peace during this difficult time.

Jill Loeffler Jan 09, 2024

Friend ,Shawnee ,Kansas

Good Bye my friend . You will be missed . My heart felt thoughts to the family .

Angilee Jan 09, 2024

Former student ,Louisburg ,Kansas

Her spirit and enthusiasm will be missed.

Joy Wright Jan 09, 2024

Student ,Olathe ,Kansas

I was so blessed to be a student of this inspiring and passionate hygiene instructor. The world is truely a better place for so many blessed by her service to the community, and teaching us to do the same. I pray that her legend will live on through those of us who learned so much from her.

Linda Harper Jan 09, 2024

Friend ,Leawood ,Kansas

I am grateful for our time together sharing needlepoint, wonderful conversations and laughs. I will miss my newest beautiful creative friend.

Courtney Reichle Jan 09, 2024

Former Student ,Enid ,Oklahoma

I am so sad to hear of this news. Heather was a former teacher of mine in hygiene school. I remember her being so tough on me, but the first one to congratulate me for all of my successes. I wouldn't be the dental hygienist I am today without her passion and determination as a teacher. She did so many amazing things for the community, and her legacy will continue for many years to come. My deepest condolences for all of Heather's friends and family, you all are in my thoughts and prayers.

Brigette (Johnson) Cooper Jan 09, 2024

Friend ,New Ulm ,Minnesota

My heart is heavy with this news but relieved Heather’s suffering is done. I am blessed to count her as a friend from grad school and will never forget the great times we had. Love to Roger, Thomas, and family. 💔

Clare Turnbull Jan 11, 2024

niece ,London, Islington, UK

Heather was a funny, fresh, frank, warm and honest new addition into the Samuel family over the last decade. We shall miss her dearly and are thinking at this time of you Roger, Thomas, Barbara, Paula, Monica, Reid, Chelsea and everyone else who will be missing her so much. With lots and lots of love, Clare, Nicholas, Ismay, Elodie (London)

Emily Tilgner Jan 11, 2024

Friend ,Prairie Village ,Kansas

All my condolences, Heather was such a pleasure to get to know. I know she is tremendously missed. I will miss her laugh and her great attitude.

Michelle Clark Jan 12, 2024

Coworker ,Overland Park ,Kansas

I’m so sorry for your loss. My first office at JCCC was next door to Heather. I loved seeing Heather at JCCC. She shined her beautiful light on all who were lucky enough to be around her. And, she was always quick to give an excited wave in her big bus. I’m so sorry!

Polly Pope Jan 12, 2024

Friend ,Overland Park ,Kansas

Roger and Family, What an honor it has been to have Heather and her family in my life. I will treasure all of our memories. May God give you grace at this time of sorrow

Maureen Lawson Jan 15, 2024

Friend ,Rochester ,Minnesota

Rest easy, my friend. I’m glad you are no longer in pain. I will never forget you and our friendship…you touched so many lives. Sending my love and hugs across the miles to Roger, Thomas and family.

Angela Harse Jan 15, 2024

I was so very sorry to hear the news of Heather's passing. I enjoyed my time working with her on the Reach Healthcare Board very much. I will remember Heather for her spunk and energy, she was always fun to be around and so dedicated to our mission. I am thinking of those close to Heather in this time. Fondly, Angela Harse

Mariela Perez Jan 23, 2024

Coworker ,Olathe ,Kansas

Heather will be sorely missed by all of us.She was a great and kind person and a friend that I will remember for the rest of my life. My sincere sympathy to all her friends and family. I share in your pain.

Randi White Jan 23, 2024

Former Student 2007-09 ,Paola ,Kansas

Heather (or Ms. Flick as I knew her in school) was definitely a professor and mentor that I took for granted during my time at JCCC. I got to know her a bit when she talked about hockey and her son while riding together in the OHOW bus, but it was not really until after graduating when she could finally take her professor cap off that I got to know what a truly kind heart she had, and what an incredibly strong woman she was. She had a big impact on me choosing to continue volunteering in dentistry events annually since graduation. She gave me the eyes to see those in need and the tools to do something about it. Thank you for sharing her with us (all her students at JCCC). She has left behind quite a legacy.

Susan Larson Jan 24, 2024

Friend/stylist ,Overland Park ,Kansas

My heart is so broken! I met Heather back in 2003 when I started doing hair! She walked in and I knew she would be my forever friend! You never wondered with Heather you just knew! She was strong, confident, funny and a bit sarcastic!! She had a heart of gold and the most beautiful soul! I knew from the moment I met her she was a friend for life!! She was humble , courageous and my hero! I recently got to have lunch with her and Roger. We talked about her trip to the lavender fields and to the Rhyder cup! Both trips gave her a sense of joy we all could imagine… it was displayed in her beautiful smile! I will miss her deeply! She taught me things she’ll never know! She loved being a mom to Thomas and always shared his milestones and accomplishments! The love she had for Roger was evident in her every being! I will miss her terribly but know she is in a better place and out of pain!! Until we meet again! I love you sweet friend! RIP

Steven Perry Jan 25, 2024

Friends ,Kansas City ,Missouri

Roger - So very sorry for your loss. You guys had a beautiful relationship which you will be able to treasure forever.