The eulogy from the Minnesota service was given by Andrew Kay
Hello. We are gathered here today to celebrate the life of my mother, Pam Kay. I am Andrew, the eldest of the children in our family and I am joined here by my Dad, Jerry; sisters, Amy and Amber; and numerous family and friends…
Please do not take for granted how much time we have together. Our time here is short. It is precious. The best time to share with the people near us is now, for we do not know how long it will be before they are gone. Words left unspoken, thoughts left unexplored, and laughter left inside us does not give us the joy of those same words, thoughts, or laughter that are shared with those dear to us.
One of the last conversations I had with my mom regarded the tick marks in her crafting studio that Dad had built for her next to their house in San Diego. She was proud of the work that she had sewed in that studio. It was one of her passions. She ticked another mark for each project completed. “There are 971 tick marks”, she told me. I could see her recalling, in her head, the many projects that she had worked on as she spoke those words. Her plan was to stop once she reached 1000; to pass the torch on to those she had taught. To enjoy more in life. She glowed in the thought of spending time with her grandkids, playing board games with us, and sharing her joy with all of those who surrounded her.
971. Can you imagine how many spools of thread she used in her sewing machines? Or how many needles she went through? Not only was my mom sewing quilts, she was sewing with the needle of life. Just as thread ties together a patchwork of patterns to make a quilt, my mom sewed all of us together with her craft, her teachings, her laughter, and her compassion. And we gather here today, as a patchwork of family and friends to remember her. She was one of the great threads that bonded us. She will live on forever within each of us.
I am so glad our family mobilized upon the news of my mom’s upcoming treatment for her illness. We all had time to enjoy moments together, knowing the future was uncertain. We celebrated as a family, not knowing it would be our last time together. Our time here is short. Life is precious.
Today marks a new chapter in our journey through life together, albeit one where we are only carrying the memories of my mom, as well as the tokens she has left for us. You will be missed, mom. We all love you.
The eulogy for the California service was given by Melissa Hiatt
Hello, my name is Melissa Hiatt. I met Pam in 2005 at Rosie’s Calico Cupboard, where she worked at the time. She recognized me from church and invited me to attend a meeting for Catholic Daughters of the Americas. Little did I know back then that she would be my quilt teacher, a reliable friend, the Godmother to one of my children, a fun travel buddy, my Cursillo sponsor, and practically… family.
Pam was a woman of faith who valued her connection with family and friends — and we all loved her dearly as well.
Pam had the knack for taking something that’s simple, basic, or nearly-discarded and elevating it to something beautiful — just like the primitive quilts that she enjoyed making. I was reminded of a time when the Catholic Daughters gathered at her house to make sugar cookies for Veteran’s Day and she accidentally made her dough with ¼ cup of salt instead of a 1/4 teaspoon. Instead of throwing it away, we baked them off and iced them. Our taste test revealed a deliciously balanced, yet complex cookie — our favorite among the multiple “correct” batches that we’ve made. Her “let’s make it work” attitude was infectious.
Pam encouraged faith, often praying the rosary, leading Connection to Christ gatherings, and attending Alpha workshops. Her love of God and the desire to do good for the community moved her very being.
Among many organizations and causes that she has volunteered for, she was a dedicated Catholic Daughter, joining in Minnesota when she was 18. When Pam and Jerry moved to La Mesa, she made a monthly drive to Beverly Hills in order to attend Catholic Daughter meetings with her cousin, Blanche. After she attended a Cursillo retreat, she was moved to form our local court here at Santa Sophia in 2003. A few women who attended the retreat with her also became charter members of the court.
Pam was a good friend to all, often turning friends into family. She didn’t need to have a special occasion to invite someone over for a meal. Even the casual question of, “Oh, you don’t know what tater-tot hot pot is?” led to an invite for dinner to share a Minnesota staple followed by a few glasses of wine and conversation around the firepit. Her door was always open and there were many people that would just “swing by” in her studio that she and Jerry built.
Pam was a great mother as evidenced by her children, Andy, Amy and Amber. It was not uncommon to be at her house and she’d answer a call from one of her kids who live out of state. Pam would proudly share their achievements and milestones, often posting the latest photos of her grandchildren on her refrigerator for all to see. As I’ve gotten to know her children, I have found that they are beautiful human beings that reflect her kindness, work ethic, and practicality.
Pam was a loving and dutiful wife. She did everything for Jerry — even without him asking. She once told me that whenever she offers an orange to Jerry, she would peel it for him because she knows that he doesn’t like having the residue on his fingers. That was a common thread with everything that Pam did. Simple gestures were done out of extraordinary love.
With your program, you should have received a fabric heart. Pam was so beloved by her quilting community that they went above and beyond to cut and finish hearts from Pam’s quilts to share with you. It is the work of Pam’s hands and the work of the hands of the people who cherished her.
The Proverbs 31 verse printed on the program, “She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands…” is the woman that Pam was. Let us all strive to be like Pam — to love deeply, work purposefully, and spread good throughout the world.
“Acclaim her for the work of her hands, and let her deeds praise her at the city gates.”
You did well here on earth, Pam.