Jerry (Jerome M.) Kay died early in the morning on Wednesday, February 28. He was predeceased by his mother, Kathleen Kay. He is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, Judy, who he met in New Orleans (she was on a work assignment from Miami) on a blind date arranged by his mom. They were engaged that night and married six weeks later in Miami.
Dad grew up in Los Angeles and Ohio. He proudly enlisted in the Army Air Corp in 1944 and was a bombardier but never saw combat. Once he left the service, Dad attended Ohio State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and a second bachelor’s degree in business administration. Photos of Dad sitting with his frat brothers and smoking prove he made the most of his university experience. After graduation, Dad’s mellifluous voice earned him disc jockey gigs in Philadelphia, New York, and New Orleans. Sometime in the 1950s Dad was offered an opportunity to get into a new business, television, but turned it down because he never thought any medium would beat radio.
Once Dad realized the big money wasn’t in radio, he turned his people skills into a successful sales career. He started out by selling albums to retailers and, thanks to Dad, his children have many first edition albums from the Beatles to Bee Gees. Dad then started selling tchotchkes (collectibles that have to be dusted) to retailers throughout Florida. He worked well past his 91st birthday because he enjoyed the challenge and his customers, many of whom have sent notes saying Dad was like a member of their family.
Dad’s legacy includes his three children who miss him dearly. Karen Kay (Tommy-deceased) Mason, Larry (Cindy) Kay, and Suzanne Kay (Tim) MacNeil. They fondly remember their childhood filled with water skiing and fishing in Biscayne Bay on their boats, always named Special Kay. They also remember having to whisper when Dad watched golf on television because a loud voice may cause a golfer on a course in Scotland to miss a putt. His love of golf led him to JAGA, the Jacksonville Area Golf Association, in which he played a key role organizing fundraisers for scholarships for area high school seniors. He also founded the senior golf group at Julington Creek Golf Course.
Along with golf, Dad played poker every Wednesday night at his son’s and the boys he played with enjoyed taking his money. Football was his other passion and the day the Miami Dolphins started selling tickets for their inaugural season we had seats on the 35-yard line. Each win was a personal victory for Dad and each loss was a disappointment because his team let him down. After moving to Jacksonville 20+ years ago, Dad’s loyalty went north, too, and he was an ardent Jaguars fan till the end.
Dad reveled in the success of his children and the gift of being a grandfather. He leaves behind Cameron Pittman and Max Pittman (Suzanne’s sons) and Madelynn Kay and Alexandra Kay (Larry’s daughters). The four grandchildren gave him incredible happiness and with each accomplishment he let them know how proud he was of them. He loved each of them with his whole heart.
Dad also leaves behind his sister-in-law, Lois Brenner, his niece, Nancy Brenner, his nephew Michael (Jennifer) Brenner and great nephew and niece, Nathaniel Brenner and Meredith Brenner. He also leaves his cousin Ronnie Rubin.
Our sweet, dear father will be laid to rest at Jacksonville National Cemetery. His memory is a blessing for our family. His service will be conducted by Rabbi Robert Goodman.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Dad’s memory to River Garden Hebrew Home for the Aged
https://www.rivergarden.org/donate/donate-today/Arrangements under the direction of Naugle Schnauss Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 808 Margaret Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32204, 904-683-9288To express condolences go to www.nauglefuneral.com<https://www.rivergarden.org/donate/donate-today/>