Nature 09

Kay Firme

March 27, 1943 ~ October 1, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old

Kay Firme Obituary

Sharon Kay Barnett Firme passed peacefully on the morning of Sunday, October 1, 2023. Kay was born to Orist and Imogene Barnett in Benton Harbor, Michigan on March 27, 1943.  Growing up, Kay's best friend was Carole Firme (Felter Hodel), who she met in orchestra. Kay was a regular at the Firme house and it's there she met her next best friend, Carole's older brother, Fred. They began going steady on August 27, 1959 and dated through high school. They married on June 1, 1963 and had 4 children: Matthew (Mary) Firme, Jonathan (Jean) Firme, Melissa Juhnke & Meghan (Robert) Cook, and 15 grand children.

Shortly after getting married, Kay graduated from Hackley Hospital School of Nursing (Muskegon, MI) and became a Registered Nurse.  Kay worked for many years in the Emergency Room at Rockford Memorial Hospital. In 1988, she began her second career at B. Dalton bookstore. She went on to manage several stores, and retired from Barnes & Noble in the early 2000s. 

A voracious reader from childhood, Kay rarely went anywhere without a book in hand, oftentimes finishing several books in a single day. She always read the end first, as she explained, "If I didn't like how it turned out, why waste the time reading it!?" Kay loved music, especially The Eagles, Elvis, The Beach Boys, and Tom Jones. Going on car rides with the radio on full blast, singing at the top of her lungs was one of Kay's favorite things to do. Kay loved dogs, especially her Rafa. Kay loved a good cup of coffee, seeing nature, and a trip to the beach in any weather - especially when she got to go with Fred. She loved Santa, and the magic of Christmas, Star Trek, Harry Potter, and Columbo. Kay loved meeting new people, and was known to talk to anyone, anywhere, and make a friend. Kay was passionate about what she believed in, and would advocate for what was right, for the underdog, or for those without a voice, always.

Kay met her best friend, Ron Anderson while working at B. Dalton. He and his partner, Wayne, became Fred and Kay's closest friends for the past 30 plus years. Ron visited Kay often throughout the past year especially, something that was invaluable to her. She was known as "Momma Kay" to many, and loved her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews - whether actually related or not. More than anything, Kay loved Fred, and has missed him tremendously these past 300 days. Kay was a special woman, with a beautiful view on how to love others. Her heart shined as bright as her beautiful blue eyes.

Kay was preceded in death by Fred, her husband of 59 years. Her smile, love, and warmth will be missed, and her memory treasured forever.

There will be no organized service for Kay, as she celebrated life everyday with those who spent their time with her. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Libery Village of Rochelle, IL,  where Kay was fiercely loved by the staff, who became family.  To donate, please use the link below:

To all those suffering from Dementia and especially to you, Momma Kay, "Sail on, Silver Girl, your time has come to shine".

Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon & Garfunkel
"When you're weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I'll dry them all
I'm on your side

Oh, when times get rough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you're down and out
When you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I'll take your part
Oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on silver girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
Oh, if you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind"

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