(Bay Village, Ohio, November 17, 2012) Kathleen M.” Kay” Lysaght”, civic leader, elected official, prominent realtor, long time Elyria resident and mother of five, died today after a two year battle with failing health. She was 91.
Born in 1921 in Melton Mowbray, England, she emigrated to Long Island, New York, with her family at the age of two. Her father, John J. “Jack” Sinnott was a world-renowned veterinarian, horse breeder and trainer. Having won the Gold equestrian medal in the 1912 Olympics, his services were in high demand resulting in his travelling extensively throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States to advise the equestrian elite especially in the areas of steeple chasing, jumping, fox hunting, point-to-point racing and dressage. His client list included such notables as the Vanderbilts and the Whitneys.
After Mr. Sinnott’s early and unexpected death at age 49, the Sinnott family moved to Elyria to be close to relatives. Kay Sinnott graduated from Elyria High School (EHS) in 1939 and then furthered her education at Wilcox Business School, Cleveland. After graduation she worked as a secretary at Thew Shovel, Lorain. While at EHS she met Richard H. Lysaght and married him in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1943 just prior to his shipping out with the Navy for duty in the Pacific. 63 years later, in 2002, she was inducted into the Elyria High School Alumni Hall of Fame.
At the age of 21, she became a U.S. citizen and from that day on served her country and her community above the call of duty. When her husband returned from the War, he founded Lysaght Builders, a company whose administration and bookkeeping she oversaw for decades.
At age 22, she joined the Elyria Junior Women’s Club, quickly rising up the administrative ranks to president. She subsequently moved to the Elyria Senior Women’s Club, also serving as its president. To honor her and another member for their outstanding contributions to both Clubs, the Junior Women’s Club was renamed the Kay Harrison (June Harrison, aka Mrs. Orlando Petrillo) Junior Women’s Club. In 1981, she was honored as Professional of the Year by the Ohio Federation of Women’s Clubs and subsequently received a Citation from the Elyria Women’s Club for Distinguished Service to the City of Elyria.
In 1951, she founded and served as first president of the Jaycee-ettes, a group supporting the Chamber of Commerce in Elyria and environs. Also in 1951, she obtained her first real estate license, working more than six decades for Les Drage Reality, Lehman Johnson, and up until a year ago for Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. She received dozens of Million Dollar Sales Club awards throughout the years. She was also honored as Professional of the Year by the Ohio Division of Real Estate.
In 1956, she was the first woman elected to Elyria’s City Council; she was re-elected Councilwoman at Large for two more terms also serving as that organization’s parliamentarian. She decided not to run for a fourth term as she now had five children at home and other civic and community duties claiming her time.
This “Irish beauty,” as one publication dubbed her, frequently volunteered to model in local style shows to benefit various charities. In 1959, she was elected First Lady of Elyria by Beta Sigma Phi.
Beginning in 1961, she served two terms on the Governor’s Commission on Aging, appointed first by Gov. Michael Di Salles, then reappointed by Gov. James Rhodes. She served on the Board of Directors for the Lorain County Child Welfare Board, the Lorain County Children’s Services and was especially proud of her work on the Building Committee for Green Acres. She was a founding member and only female on the Pioneer Federal Savings and Loan board, serving as a director for more than a decade.
In 1969, she chaired the county-wide residential fundraising effort for the United Fund of Lorain County. She also Co-chaired Lorain County’s Sesqui-Centennial Celebration.
Mrs. Lysaght was also honored by the Elyria Chamber of Commerce for Meritorious Service to the Community, received a Certificate of Appreciation of Service from the Lorain County Commissioners and has been entered into the Blue Book of Distinguished Women in Ohio.
She also served St. Jude’s Parent-Teacher Association in a number of officer capacities and was 2nd vice president of Lorain Deanery, National Council of Catholic Women.
Mrs. Lysaght was a tennis enthusiast and an avid golfer, having won, among other competitions, the Grandmother’s Golf Tournament at the Aquamarine Club in 1971.
For all of her civic, business and community projects, her proudest achievement was her family. She was married to Richard H. Lysaght in 1939 until his death in 1987.
The family includes five children, Linda J. Kaminski (Mrs. Richard) of Elyria, Patricia B. Casgar (Mrs. Timothy) of Easton, MD, Kathleen E. Hourigan of Florida, Nancy A. Gorney (Mrs. Jon) of Avon Lake, and Mark J. Lysaght (wife, Bonnie) of Hudson. The 11 grandchildren include, Mandie Kaminski, Michael Kaminski, Christopher Kaminski, Shannon Barry, Cara Armour, Nina Anderson, Ryan Gorney, Brittany Tennett, Kristin Gorney, Claire Lysaght and Richard Lysaght. There are also four great-grandchildren, Samantha and Katherine Lysaght and Ava Grace and Lydia Kaminski.
Mrs. Lysaght was preceded In death by her sister, Josephine Sinnott Kritzel in 2005; and her brother, J. Patrick Sinnott in 1992.
Friends may call at the Reichlin Roberts Funeral Home, 327 Cleveland St., Elyria, from 4 to 8 P.M., Monday, November 19, 2012. A prayer service will be held at the funeral home Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 9:30 A.M. A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Jude’s Church, 590 Poplar St., Elyria, at 10 A.M. Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery, 7284 Lake Ave., Elyria.
Memorial Contributions may be sent to the Kathleen M. (Kay) Lysaght Memorial Fund at Elyria Catholic High School, 725 Golf Road, Elyria, OH 44035.
Online condolences for the family may be left at www.reichlinroberts.com