WORCESTER, MA —
Lovingly attended by Pastor Aaron Payson and caregiver and companion, Joy Lapidus, H. Russell Kay, 71, entered into eternal life on December 23, 2013, at UMass Memorial Hospital University Campus, Worcester, MA. Born and raised in Niagara Falls, NY, he was the son of the late Raymond A. Kay and the late Evelyn C. Kay Keller, and stepson of the late Robert J Keller. Russ was also predeceased by his beloved wife, Harriet Gorov Kay in 2005. He is survived by his son, Alexx (Kestrell) of Boston, MA and his two sisters, Kay (John) Skowronek and Kerrie (Vincent) Piaskowski of Wheatfield, NY; and several nieces, nephews, grandnieces and cousins.
In his youth, Russ was an active member of the First Baptist Church serving as a Junior Deacon for the Baptist Youth Council, teaching 7th grade Sunday School classes and Editor of the Youth Fellowship publication. Hailed early-on as a leader and outstanding scholar, Russ ranked 2nd out of 449 in his graduating class from Niagara Falls High School in 1960. He was also selected out of a group of 1200 by the National Science Foundation to attend Cornell University for an accelerated 12-month calculus course, which he completed in six weeks. He went on to win numerous scholarships and awards and ranked 7th in the country with the National Honor Society competition.
Upon his graduation from The University of Chicago, he married Harriet and they both entered the Peace Corp in 1964. He served in the State of Mata Grosso in Brazil in community development and public health projects. On his return from Brazil he lived briefly in Evanston, IL before transferring to Worcester, MA, where he was employed by WPI and later became contributing writer for Computerworld Magazine, along with freelance technical editing and writing for a variety of publications, including BYTE.
Russ was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester for over 30 years and during that time served in a variety of leadership positions, including President of the Board of Management. He was instrumental in the recent re-branding efforts and openly shared his love for music along with his health journey. Russ's courageous spirit in the face of adversity truly enlightened many.
Russ had a passion for working with and handling wood. He enjoyed making eclectic and stylish pieces using a variety of species of wood. He also collected and had a love for the art of hand-made knives. He made his own and played the Hammered and Appalachian Lap Dulcimer. With his love of all music he looked forward to his annual trip to the New York State summer music festival brimming with Folk, Rock and Jazz -- truly a Man for all Seasons.
A memorial service honoring our brother and friend will be held on Saturday, January 18th, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 90 Holden Street, Worcester, MA, at 3 PM, with the Reverend Aaron Payson officiating. A memorial reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester. Interment will be in Niagara Falls, NY, at a later date.
Visit www.niagara-gazette.com/obituaries for online guest register.