Cary Dean Brightwell


Cary Dean Brightwell, 53, passed away on May 31st after a long and arduous battle with cancer. He was surrounded by a multitude of family and friends which stands to exemplify the life Cary led. He leaves behind his wife, Ethel (Ettie) and daughters, Kate and Emma who were the center of his life and he was the center of theirs.

Cary was born in Kansas City and grew up in Raytown, Missouri. Born to loving parents, Victor and Shirley Brightwell now of Independence, MO, he grew up the youngest of three siblings- brother, Steve (Kim) of Olathe, KS and sister, Kim (Kelly) of Lake Lotawana, MO. Growing up in Raytown, he enjoyed the finer things of life including skate boarding through sewers and going door to door asking for cookies-and who could say no to his cute face!?  Cary attended Raytown South High School and went on to attend the University of Missouri where he majored in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics. In every stage of his life, he made lifelong friends and had an impact on people wherever he went. Even during his last weeks of life, we were reminded of the amazing person Cary was when his nurse regaled his family with a story of how Cary, while at MU, used to walk her sister home from class every night just to make sure she got home safely. That was just the type of guy Cary was.

Cary’s work life took him to Chevron in California and Dillard’s in Arkansas before coming back to settle down in Kansas City where he primarily worked for DST Systems and most recently, for State Street Bank. He met his wife, Ettie, in August of 1991 and instantly knew she was the one. “I just knew- right from the beginning, I just knew.” Together, they had two daughters, two dogs, and three horses. Cary was the ultimate barn dad; from picking stalls to buffing hooves, Cary was the guy. He never missed an event and never said no (at least not more than once.)  

Cary’s life centered around his family, which he constantly expanded to mean more than just relatives. From childhood friends to the medical professionals he had over his seven year battle with cancer to his car mechanic and beyond, Cary had a way of working his way into your heart. He loved and was loved by so many. Cary will be deeply missed, but the memories he gave to all are enough to keep him with us.


Please join us in celebrating this amazing man on June 16th from 2:00p.m.-4:30p.m. at the Millburn Country Club, Overland Park, Kansas.  

Memorial Contributions

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to Cottonwood, Inc. ( or The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ( .


  1. Greg Cronin on June 12, 2019 at 10:47 pm

    Cuz Cary was the nicest guy, taken too soon, and is greatly missed. I’m forever grateful to see him at Katy and Tyler’s wedding. I am with his family and friends in spirit, as you remember and celebrate the rich life that Cary lived. Love and hugs!

  2. Julie Sheahon on June 9, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    Peggy and family, I am so sorry to hear about the recent loss of Cary. What a gem of a husband, dad, son, brother and friend he must have been to all of you. I did not know Cary, but feel this just by reading the funny poignant words describing this man.
    He is still with you in cherished memories and words. God Bless, Julie Sheahon

  3. Julie Pickering on June 9, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    When I first moved to Kansas City Ettie and Cary were one of my first friends. They welcomed me into their hearts, and we’ve been close friends still 15 years later. We will never forget Cary’s warm heart and sense of humor. His beautiful daughters have his same spirit.

  4. Vig on June 6, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Fond memories working with Cary at dst. Keep famikly in my prayers

  5. Pat Jankord on June 6, 2019 at 12:12 am

    I’m so sorry Ethel and family. He sounded like an amazing guy, one you can truly be proud to have called husband or dad. I wish I would have met him. Please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers at this time. Make yourself remember the good times, I’m sure there are a lifetime to chose from! Hugs. Pat Jankord

  6. Audrey Wilson on June 5, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Cary was a man who inspired you to want to be the best version of yourself. I knew him indirectly through his family and horses. His girls were avid horsey girls, and wherever they were, he was. He always lit up a room. You would never know anything was ailing him because he was always cheerful and happy to be where he was with the people he was with. He loved his life fully with openness and joy. He left the world a better place, and he left a legacy of love in every life he touched, and with the beautiful family he shared. Lots of love and peace to you Brightwells, and peace be with you Cary.

  7. Amy O’Neal on June 5, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Ettie, I am so sorry I will be unable to attend his celebration. I hope you know I will be there in spirit with Shellie and Renay!! I love you my other sister and think about you everyday!

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