Kay Duff

Catherine Agnes (Kay) Duff, 91, died peacefully in her home in Forest Park on Aug. 12, 2021, following a bout with cancer that was discovered only months ago. Prior to that, she was sharp as a tack, and as healthy as one could be at her age. 

Born on Oct. 27, 1929, she was a remarkable woman who became the family matriarch. She spent her formative years on the West Side of Chicago, before moving to Oak Park shortly after marrying her (late) husband of 57 years, John (Jack) Duff. She attended Providence High School, and was an active member of the Presentation Young People’s Club, through which she met her future husband.

She married at age 20, and raised 10 children, seven of them born before she turned 30. She was an active member of Ascension Parish and was involved in the Altar & Rosary Society and the many functions and events her children were part of. She was, like many women of the day, a full-time mom and a damn good one who never took a day off. One of the amazing things is that she never drove. She walked to stores or sent the children for daily supplies.

She knew everyone’s birthday. Not just her kids, but her many grandchildren, great grandchildren and godchildren. She would send reminders about an upcoming sibling’s birthday, etc.

In addition to her own wide circle of friends and her children, she was loved and adored by her children’s friends, who spent countless hours at the Duff household over the years and well into adulthood.

In her later years, she worked as a receptionist for Wednesday Journal.

She will be missed dearly by all, but the memories of her will be everlasting.

Kay Duff was the wife of the late John M. “Jack”; mother of John, Kathleen, Thomas (Pam), James (Wendy), Anne (Robert) Dorneker, Margaret (William) Walsh, Mary (James) Arey, Patricia (Robert) Marino, Robert and the late Susan (the late John) Sbarbaro; grandmother of Ainsly and Benjamin, Amanda, Thomas and Kaitlyn, Kevin, Elizabeth, Kelly and Maggie, Meredith, Joseph and Patrick, Matthew and Nicole, James and John, and Marikate, Jack and Samuel; great-grandmother of Colin and Clare, Josephine and Thomas, and Cadence and Tenley; sister of William (Anita) and Lawrence (Mary) Frankel and the late Margaret (the late Charles) May, Hugo, Robert (Dorothy), Loretta Marren, Howard and Virginia Frankel; and the aunt and great-aunt of many. 

Visitation was held on Aug. 16 at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home. A funeral Mass was celebrated on Aug. 17 at Ascension Church, followed by interment at Mt. Carmel Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials to Ascension School (school.ascensionoakpark.com) are appreciated.