Cecilia "Kay" Maas Beairsto passed away peacefully on March 14, 2019 at home with a gentle smile on her face, bringing comfort to those who loved her.
Someone once said that it is not the dates on the tombstone that matter, but the dash in between, and for Kay that dash consisted of eighty-five years of loving and being loved.
Cecilia Helen was born in early July, 1933 in Minneapolis, Mn., earning the nickname “Kayo.” Having arrived earlier than expected, she spent her first few nights in a dresser drawer, like the comic strip character “Kayo Mullins.”
As a child, growing up in the depression and against the backdrop of World War II, Kayo was raised not only by her mother, Delores, but by her beloved grandparents and by a tribe of aunts and uncles. As Kayo was eight or so years older than her many cousins, she became somewhat of a surrogate big sister to them, developing her love of babies, and forging treasured relationships that would last for decades.
As a student, Kayo excelled and followed in her mother’s (a registered nurse) footsteps, and graduated from the University of Dayton and St. Elizabeth School of Nursing in 1955, both with honors.
Kayo began her nursing career in the emergency room at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, but was soon recruited to become the office nurse for a doctor friend in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was in Las Cruces that Kayo met and married the love of her life, Richard (Dick) Beairsto, and had their first child. After moving back to Minnesota, Kay and Dick had four more children and thus began their great adventure together.
It is as a mother that Kay spent what she, her husband, her children, and anyone who knew her, would readily agree were her best dash years. She was happiest while rocking babies, polishing little shoes, sewing Halloween costumes, carpooling, serving as room mom, PTA president, and scout leader, always proudly providing a bustling home of food, energy and love. It is a known fact that Kay loved babies best. She was honored with a special recognition from the Catholic Bishops for the many newborn foster babies she welcomed into her home through Catholic Social Services (as though her five children were not enough!).
The happy dash years exploded when Kay became “Grandma,” bringing babies back into her life. The old rocker was dusted off for story-time, the aromas of Dreft and home-made cookies filled the house, and as the years progressed, Grandma was the front row cheerleader at sporting events, plays, and graduations.
Some might be surprised to know that gentle, mild mannered Kay had an adventurous side: snorkeling in the Grand Cayman Islands; cruising the seas with her friends and family; snow skiing in Lake Tahoe; snowmobiling and dog sledding in Montana with her grandchildren; working a lobster boat in Newfoundland; fly fishing the Gallatin River, and white water rafting the Lewis and Clark trail.
If Kay’s 85 dash years could be captured in only a few simple words, they would certainly be “caring,” “giving,” and “loving.” Throughout her life she gave selflessly to those around her - family, friends, and strangers alike. Though only one woman, Kay quietly had a humble, yet powerful, impact on countless people’s lives by – as Mother Teresa eloquently put it – “doing small things with great love.”
Kay is survived, and will be missed by, her husband of 60 years, Richard Beairsto; five children, Kevin (Angela), Greg , Doug (Murray), Scott (Paige), and Beth (Christine); 10 grandchildren, Joseph, Patrick, Christian, Madeline, Sarah, Peter, Ben, Macie, Kohlie, and Alex; and three great-grandchildren, Camden, Beckett, and Brayden; her sisters, Mary Sue Schulte and Martha Vitalari(Nick), her brother Dr. Herb (Julie), and countless nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
A visitation will be held on Saturday, March 23, from 11a.m.–1 p.m. at Hamilton Funeral Home, 4506 Hixson Pike, Hixson, followed by a private family funeral.
In lieu of flowers, please donate in Kay’s memory to Catholic Social Services or Bethany Christian Adoption Services.
Arrangements are by Hamilton Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 4506 Hixson Pike, Hixson, 423 531-3975