Teresa Jean Garrison

Garrison, Teresa

After a long battle with progressive illnesses, Teresa Jean (Littlefield) Garrison died peacefully in the morning hours of Thursday, January 25, 2018. Born in Marion, Indiana, on December 6, 1948, she was the eldest of four children. She was preceded in death by her parents, William Rockey Littlefield and Roberta Lael (Jeffries) Littlefield.

A gifted musician, Teresa graduated from Ball State University in 1971 with a degree in voice performance. She sang leading roles in opera and served as an expert accompanist for numerous stage musicals and opera. She married Thomas Garrison in 1970 while still a student at BSU. They were later divorced. Her lifelong love of books and reading informed Teresa’s subsequent decision to pursue a graduate degree in Library Science at Indiana University (1978) while working at the public library in Terre Haute, IN. Teresa relocated to the Kansas City area in 1980 to begin a long and rewarding career at the Kansas City, KS Public Library, eventually serving for many years as the Assistant Director and retiring in 2009 following a two-year tenure as the Acting Director. She was active professionally in the ALA and KLA as well as a committed supporter of the arts in the metro Kansas City area. Musical pursuits included composing and arranging the music for several of her mother’s Christmas poems. She contributed to many charitable organizations dear to her heart, and took great joy in nature, frequently visiting Squaw Creek and other nature preserves throughout the country. She was a passionate traveler both abroad and throughout the United States with family and several close lifelong friends. She especially enjoyed travelling to New Mexico to watch the migration of cranes in the spring. During this period of her life she became an accomplished nature photographer and held several exhibitions of her work.

Teresa will be greatly missed by her three younger brothers Thomas Walter of South Paris, ME; John Cameron of Saint Cloud, MN; and Frank Jeffries (Barbara) of Buffalo Grove, IL. Teresa adored her five nephews and will be missed by: Zachary of Melbourne, Australia; Brendan of NYC, NY; Ryan of Jersey City, NJ; Nathan of Chicago, IL; and Joshua of Palatine, IL.

A memorial service in her honor will be held at the Kansas City, KS main branch of the public library on Saturday, February 17 at 1:30pm.  Please bring memories with you that you would like to share.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in remembrance of Teresa to one of these suggested charitable organizations:


ALS Association


American Rivers


City Union Mission


Doctors Without Borders




Environmental Defense Fund


Friends of the Library in KCK


Friends of Squaw Creek


Friends of the Bosque del Apache


Habitat for Humanity


Harriman Arts Program






Kansas Public Radio


Marion IN Public Library


National Audubon Society


National Resource Defense Council


National Wildlife Federation


Nature Conservancy


Nelson Atkins Museum


Ocean Conservancy


Southern Poverty Law Association


Wilderness Society


Wildlife Land Trust


World Wildlife Fund



  1. Thomas Garrison on February 5, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Teresa was my former spouse and has a beloved place in my heart. Donations in her memory can be made to:

    Friends of Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge
    (formerly Squaw Creek)
    P.O. Box 244
    Mound City, MO 64470

    Or any of the causes she supported.

  2. Jack Jeffries on February 2, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Teresa was a much loved granddaughter and niece in our home when I was a teenager. I respected and admired her ability to use her many talents and rise above adversity and shine wherever she was planted. Love and prayers from Uncle Jack

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