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Farewell, dear Kay Kot

It was fitting to note newly fallen bur oak leaves adorned the white tablecloths set with flower arrangements and dozens of family photos during this afternoon's wake for Mrs. Kay Kot, a tiny woman well-loved in Champlain Park. Could it be that these russet and gold leaves from the massive bur oak tree that the Kot family has treasured and protected for decades were reaching into the human realm to offer condolences?


With the death of Kathleen Margaret Kot, fondly known as Kay, a long sojourn at 124 Cowley Ave. has reached a new milestone. Mrs. Kot died September 29 in the sunroom at the rear of the family home at age 92. A maple tree in full bloom was one of her last sights. On the afternoon of Sunday, October 4, friends and neighbours visited Kay at a wake held outdoors and inside the home.


Kay and her husband, Steve Kot (predeceased in April 2018) were longtime members of this community and true champions of bur oak trees. The house on Cowley that they bought in 1957 originally had two bur oaks on the front lawn. In fact, the folks who built the heritage-quality house back in 1905 situated the building between the 2 existing oaks. Sadly, one of the bur oaks died about 10 years after Steve and Kay bought the place. The remaining oak is a massive specimen, about 180 years old, and in excellent health. In 2014, it had a mast year (abundant acorns). In 2017, Forests Ontario recognized the oak as one of several heritage bur oaks in this neighbourhood at a special event held on National Tree Day.


Kay was a smiling, gentle, and hospitable woman who served lemonade and plates of delicious cookies to school children, city officials, delegates to a heritage tree conference from all across Ontario, and people visiting this neighbourhood to gawk at giant bur oaks during Jane's Walks. She and her husband were early adopters of the notion that the oak trees in our neighbouhood are special and worthy of protection.


Thanks to the kindness of the Kot children, we have permission to share two family photos: Kay and Steve's wedding day, and a special gathering of the Kot clan from a decade past. All who knew Kay will miss her.


Due to Covid 19, the funeral mass for Mrs. Kot at St. George's Church on Monday, Oct. 5 will will be limited to close family. The official obituary contains a link to a virtual event that will be broadcast, starting at 11 a.m. --Debra Huron





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