Ted Kay, 86, a 59-year resident of Oak Park, died on May 5, 2011. Born on Nov. 23, 1924, he was the younger son of Anthony "Frank" and Estelle Kryzwinski of Chicago. A talented musician, Mr. Kay started playing the saxophone in elementary school, the first of his many passions. He played big band music with the Jimmy Dale Band and then joined his brother, Ray, in a five-piece band called The Gents. The group was in high demand, playing hundreds of weddings, anniversaries, and New Year's Eve parties.
Mr. Kay worked in, and later owned, a family business called Kay's Sweet Shop on Pulaski in Chicago. It was there that he met Catherine Leone in the summer of 1943. He thought she was "a beauty" who reminded him of a movie actress. They were married five years later at Our Lady of the Angels Church in Chicago and went on to have eight children and 63 years together.
He described working in Kay's Sweet Shop, playing his music in the evenings, and coming home to his growing family as the best times of his life. Ice cream was never in short supply, and his children and grandchildren each have a sweet tooth to prove it. Mr. Kay was featured in a recently published book called, Ice Cream: A Global History, which includes his recollections about the sweet shop as well as his recipe for an old-fashioned chocolate ice cream soda.
He loved to fish, taking family and friends on countless trips to Wisconsin and Canada. It didn't matter whether they caught a boatful of fish or nothing all day — everyone always had a great time. A welcoming and gentle soul, he led by example, teaching the virtues of patience, kindness and good humor. He always had a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face.
The beloved Papa of a large and lucky family, Ted Kay is survived by his wife, Catherine; his children, Ted (Ida), Anne (Joe) Coglianese, Madeline, Frank (Susan), Louise (Kevin) Kelly, Catherine (Dave) Nelson, Carolyn Miller and Jim Kay; 22 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service and Mass were held on May 9 at St. Edmund Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital at www.stjude.org or to Heifer International at www.heifer.org or to your favorite charity are appreciated.
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