Katherine Buinis started life as Katherine Doris Kimmel. After she married Longin Albert Buinis in 1948, formal settings like doctor’s offices referred to her as Katherine Buinis, but she preferred to be called simply “Kay”.
Kay was a woman of many hats, principally a loving and devoted mother to her three children: Lonny, Lonna, and Caron. She spent many hours of her free time finding creative things for them to do with her, from ice skating to horseback riding. There were long car trips to Boston and short ones to the ice cream parlor. Kay loved the latter because it had hundreds of flavors from which they could choose. When her children decided otherwise, Kay would complain, “There are so many flavors – try something else!” They would always pick vanilla.
Kay spent almost three decades as an educator who dedicated herself to students at the elementary level as well as collegiate. While achieving two masters’ degrees at Kean University, she prepared new teachers to become specialists in the reading field.
Kay was an athlete who led many rides for the Central Jersey Bicycle Club. If there were fewer than fifty miles, she would often complain, “It’s not worth putting air in the tires!” One year the CJBC honored her with an award for the most mileage: 16,160. She did this when she was well into her seventies!
Kay was a friend to many at the 55+ community Carriage Club in Mount Arlington, NJ. She used her creative talents to start a knitting/crocheting club and a pinochle group where she was rumored to be quite the shark! Kay would energetically track down new residents and recruit them for her activities. Every holiday she would decorate the hallway shelf with beautiful seasonal displays, sometimes assisted by her children.
Kay was a warrior! In December of 1999, she was diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer. When tests were complete, Lonny delivered news that would have made most people crumble. Kay simply asked, “OK, what do I do now to get better?” Her spirit always remained high through this and many other life challenges.
Kay will be missed by Lonna, David Kowalski, Caron, Frank Getz, Lonny, Jan Buinis, friends and all those whose lives she touched over her 99 years.