Charles R. Kay
1949 - 2006
Charles (Chuck) Kay was a talented pianist, organist, and electronic keyboard performer who spent most of his life in New England. He was well known in the Hartford, Connecticut, and eastern Massachusetts area; where he played in churches for many years.
Born in New Castle, England, Charles was one of three children of Robert Kozotnieks and Alma Ludmila Luste Kay, both of whom had been born in Latvia and then moved to the U.S. with their family in 1956. Alma, who had studied dramatic arts in Riga and then performed on stage in Latvia and Germany prior to World War II, wrote and directed Christmas plays for the Latvian children in displaced camps in Germany following the war.
The family was living in central Connecticut when Charles graduated from high school in Cromwell in 1968. At the time of his graduation he played as a soloist, one of his schoolmates later observing that "no one could play Bartok like Charlie." He then attended Atlantic Union College and the Hartt College of Music of the University of Hartford in Connecticut. While living in Hartford, he played for numerous churches in the city and, where he later lived elsewhere, continued to acquire a large circle of friends through his music and hobby as a ham radio operator.
Kay served as an organist in several New England churches, including those at Fitchburg and Fort Devens, Massachusetts, and the old North Church in Boston. He eventually settled in New Hampshire, where he served as an organist in churches in New Ipswich, Greenville, and the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge. He was living in Glen Cliff, New Hampshire, when he died at age 56, following a lengthy illness.
Sources: Obituaries for Alma Kay, 13 January 1996, and Charles, 7 August 2007, The Hartford Courant; Cromwell High school website obituary with response (quotation in biography) from Joan Hatfield King; Atlantic Union College alumni magazine, AUC Today, date unknown, also later ran the same obituary that had been printed in the HC.