Harry Kay's arrival brought the tragic loss of his mother, Frimette, in childbirth. Shortly after, his father Morris married Jenny, and together with Harry's older sister Ann and the children that followed - Joe, Jack, Mike, Ozzie and Helen - they created a close and loving family.
Smart and self-assured, Harry excelled in school, graduating as the gold medalist from Toronto's Central High School of Commerce. Jenny decided that Harry would become an accountant, a profession he worked at for the rest of his long life, mostly self-employed. It became his lifeline when, despite failing health in his later years, he chose to carry on working at what he knew and loved until his death. When he died at 98, Harry was believed to have been the oldest practising chartered accountant in Canada.
Harry married Betty Klein in 1939 after a seven-year courtship. Children Mel and Fran came along soon after.
After Betty died of cancer just before their 51st wedding anniversary, Harry's family ensured he was never alone. Each of his grandchildren made a home with him while attending school or saving to begin their own families, each looking out for the other with the deepest of love and respect.
Harry was the consummate professional, the go-to person for advice, as meticulous in his work as he was in his appearance - trim, fit, organized and disciplined. But, as a colleague put it, Harry was also "a faithful man who carried daily an unseen trust in God." This trust allowed Harry to accept what life brought, to get used to it and adapt.
Harry instilled in his family the importance of tradition, and set an example that left a lasting imprint. Harry delighted in the simple things in life - attending Sabbath services, visiting with beloved family and friends, a hot bowl of soup, a cup of sweet wine, and a really good baseball game. He taught by example how to celebrate the important things and what it means to be thankful for them.
His four grandchildren received his beautiful handwritten messages inside carefully selected birthday cards. They remember Ping-Pong games on visitors' days at summer camp and Zaidy diving into the pool at age 90. They used to sleep with one eye open until the early hours to make sure Harry made it home safely from the office without another fender bender.
A learned man on many levels, Harry in his later years was proud that he could recite Shakespeare's passage that reads, in part, "death, a necessary end, will come when it will come." Harry's end came as he lived: with dignity and in peace. May his memory be for a blessing.
Carolyn Kay is Harry's
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