ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. – Katherine Mary Ready died March 10, 2018, in the loving company of her family, in her niece’s home in St. Johnsbury, Vt. The cause of death was heart failure. She was the daughter of Robert W. and Helen O’Leary Ready of St. Albans, Vt. Kay and her beloved twin brother, Richard, grew up together with their older brother David on High Street in St. Albans and graduated from Bellows Free Academy (BFA) in 1957. Kay graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1961, where she was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority. In her youth, she spent many happy summers working at the Tyler Place in Highgate Springs, Vt. Kay’s Tyler Place friends and her brother’s Kamp Kill Kare friends formed the nexus of a lively social life which often spilled across the border to Montreal.
After a brief stint in New York City, she established a long, successful career in Washington, D.C., where she combined a conscientious loyalty to her profession with a fierce personal independence that life as a career woman afforded her. She worked for the U.S. Office of Education, Indian Health Service, and later the Department of Health and Human Services. She was highly regarded for her human resources expertise in civil service classification. She also worked for a while as a special education teacher in Rockville, Md.
In Washington, she adopted her first cats, twins Finnegan and Fogerty, the first in a long line of beloved feline friends. She often adopted older cats who needed special care and gave them quality of life in their last years.
“Auntie Kit,” as she was always known by her nieces and nephews, played a significant role in the rearing of two generations of Ready children. Their love and correspondence brought her great joy to the very end. In oft-repeated admonitions, such as “stay between the fences,” she delivered steadfast love and authoritative advice. She taught each child the finer points of table manners, proper posture, and the game of cribbage. She was a matriarch, a touchstone, and a wellspring of family lore. She sought to instill in future generations a pride in the Ready family name and an abiding love for Vermont and Lake Champlain. She relished her Irish roots and shared her love of Ireland with her family.
Soon after her twin brother’s untimely death at age 54, she retired and moved back to Vermont, where she served for a time in the Vermont state government. She was appointed to the Vermont Medical Practice Board and the Vermont Judicial Conduct Board, which she served with dedication and distinction. She volunteered for many years on the board of the Warner Home in St. Albans, providing scholarships to deserving college students and funding other community projects.
She loved the kind of music that could make you think and dance at the same time. She read everything and kept her mind sharp on a daily dose of crossword puzzles. As the daughter of Robert Ready, long-time Democratic National Committeeman from the state of Vermont, she was imbued with a lifelong interest in politics, and she admired those among our nation’s leaders who embodied integrity, honesty, fairness, and service to others.
An avowed formalist, she lamented the decline of commonplace manners and traditions in modern America yet tempered that with a sincere empathy for those to whom life has dealt a tough hand. Like her mother before her, she loved playing bridge and spent many happy retirement hours with her St. Albans bridge friends. She enjoyed great friendships from all parts of her life, particularly with Dina Fitzgerald and Beth Handy, whom she considered daughters of her heart. She shared an especially close relationship with her grandniece, Anna Ready-Campbell. Anna helped her pack up her home, listened to her stories during her last months, and cared for her intimately in her last days.
Kay characteristically directed her last days and final wishes. Her family wishes to thank all of the medical professionals in St. Albans, Burlington, and St. Johnsbury for their loving and respectful care.
Survived by: Mary Ann Ready, her sister-in-law, of Richmond, Va.; niece Molly Curtis Ready and her family of Cambridge, Mass.; nephew Charles David Ready and his family of Richmond, Va.; nephew Robert Ready of Calif.; niece Mary O’Leary Ready and her family of St. Johnsbury, Vt.; niece Annie Ready Coffey and her family of Richmond, Va.; niece Louise Ready of Lunenberg, Mass.; and nephew Varick Ready and his family of London, England. She was predeceased by her parents and brothers, Richard Michael Ready and Robert David Ready, and her niece Tara McMann Ready. She is also survived by loving cousins and many friends.
Donations in her honor may be made to Franklin County Animal Rescue, 30 Sunset Meadows, St. Albans, Vt., 05478 or Caledonia Home Health and Hospice, 161 Sherman Drive, St. Johnsbury, Vt., 05819. A celebration of her life will be held in St. Albans at a later date. Sláinte!