Catherine (Kay) Kaimakides, who played Mrs. Santa Claus for many years at the Community Center in Ridgefield, died on her birthday, March 5th at the age of 91. She was married to Gabe for 60 years, who many Ridgefielders fondly knew before his death in 2007. Kay is survived by her daughter Alice of Mt. Kisco NY, daughter and son-in-law Joanne and Rick Smith of Wilton CT, her sister Gracie Facilla of LI, and a very large family of nieces and nephews.

Kay was born on Spring Street in lower Manhattan on March 5, 1918 to Josephine and Joseph Friscia, one of eight. After the death of her father at the young age of 44, Kay helped her mother raise her 7 siblings. During the 1930's, she worked as a sewing machine operator at the Nachman Factory in NYC. She met Gabe at the Arcadia Dance Club in NYC, wed in 1947 and raised their two daughters in Astoria, Queens. Kay proudly contributed to her daughters' private K-12 education by taking a part-time job at a local department store which blossomed into a full time position that she truly loved for over 20 years. In 1987, she and Gabe retired to Ridgefield where they enjoyed the best years of their lives. Kay lived a very simple life...she loved bingo and sewing at Founders Hall, excursions to The Christmas Tree Shop, shopping for food at Caraluzzi's, making sauce and meatballs for her family on Sundays and, of course, the Mets. Kay who survived on very limited funds, was very generous and donated regularly to many causes. One close to her heart was the soup kitchen because she never forgot the years her mother stood in line for bread and milk during the Great Depression. Kay was of a special generation and never took anything for granted. She was grateful for everything she had in her life, no matter how small. Her final days were spent receiving the best care possible at a wonderful place called Rosary Hill.

In Kay's memory, donations may be made to Rosary Hill Home, 600 Linda Ave, Hawthorne, NY 10532.  Operated by the Dominican Sisters and founded by Rose, daughter of Nathanial Hawthorne, the Home is dedicated to providing palliative care of persons afflicted with incurable cancer. No payment of any kind is accepted from the patients or their families, nor from the government. Donations large and small, have provided the necessary funds to support the special end-of-life needs of their patients.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday at 10:15AM IN St. Mary’s Church, Ridgefield.

Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery.

Friends will be received in the Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah St., Ridgefield on Sunday from 3pm to 6pm.


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Jowdy Kane and Kane Funeral Homes