The Life of Kitty Ray
On August 20, 2022, six days before her 70th birthday, our beloved Kitty Louise (Boland) Ray of Alexandria, Virginia, passed from this life to the next embraced by her three loving daughters, Megan, Kelsey and Colleen, and her husband of 50 years, Jim. She died at Virginia Hospital Center due to lung complications caused by a new chemotherapy treatment she started in July. Kitty had survived metastatic breast cancer for 30 years, enduring many difficult treatments and side effects with courage, determination, and grace. She was deeply grateful to her family and friends who lovingly supported her on this journey, many through the “Kitty’s Crusaders” webpage, and to the many doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who cared for her throughout the years.
Kitty was a kind, warm, friendly, open-hearted, compassionate, and generous person. She was a “real” person in the sense of the “Velveteen Rabbit”, her favorite book. She made friends easily, and highly valued her friendships, maintaining many for several decades. She was also very funny, often showing a quirky sense of humor. She delighted in making family and friends laugh, occasionally shocking them with her limericks. She was also a great listener and provider of comfort for all, although she could get feisty when she sensed an injustice.
Kitty was the proud mother of Megan Jane Nolton (Devin), Kelsey Ann Horowitz (Nick), and Colleen Ray Corday (Cameron), all of Alexandria, Virginia. The greatest joy of her life in recent years has been her grandchildren: Isla June Nolton, Olivia Kitty Horowitz, Ruby Aurora Nolton, Amelia Rose Horowitz, Finn Calder Nolton, Miles Alexander Corday, and soon to be born Baby Corday. She cherished spending time with them, and they adored their “Gaga”. She enjoyed the countless photos of them taken by their mothers, and the many artworks produced by them and their mothers. Her home’s walls were covered with paintings and drawings created especially for her.
Kitty and Jim were born in the same maternity hospital in Albany, New York in 1952, and became sweethearts in high school. They married on August 12,1972 and moved to Ithaca, New York where Kitty worked for Cornell University while Jim attended college. In 1974, they moved to Alexandria,
Virginia. Kitty earned accolades working for the U.S. House of Representatives and later for the U.S. Senate, while Jim attended law school and began his legal career. In 1982, Kitty decided to become a full-time mom and dedicate herself to building a loving family with Jim. She threw herself into every activity that involved or interested her daughters, including school groups, Girl Scouts, sports, arts and crafts, and theater, always committed to raising caring, strong, creative and well-rounded children. Through these activities, she met other mothers who became her dear friends for the rest of her life.
In 2000, Jim opened a new law firm in Old Town Alexandria with Kitty as the Office Manager. She contributed hugely to the firm’s success with her delightful, funny and personable manner with clients. She was compelled to retire in 2015 when she suffered an aggressive cancer recurrence, but she remained the Office Manager Emeritus for the next seven years and came to the office whenever she could to play with the grandchildren.
Kitty was an avid reader, theater patron, limerick author, art lover, and ever-curious follower of current events. She and Jim were members of a community book club for more than 30 years. Her passion for books led her to steward a Little Free Library (“Kitty’s Book Nook”) that Jim built for her in front of their home. Next to the library is Gaga’s Reading Bench. She delighted in seeing neighborhood parents sitting on the bench reading books to their children.
Kitty also loved to travel with Jim, around the U.S. and in Europe. Among their great joys was bringing their daughters along on many memorable trips in the hope of passing the travel bug onto them. Kitty strongly believed that travel is the best educational experience. They had long planned a grand trip to London for the whole family, including grandchildren, in August 2020, but regrettably it had to be cancelled due to the COVID pandemic. Kitty had been hoping that the trip could be revived for 2023.
Kitty desperately wanted to continue sharing her spirit and life force with her family and friends, but after 30 years of constant battering from cancer treatments, her body could take no more.
In addition to her husband, daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren, Kitty is survived by sisters Julie Pickup (Walter) of Monee, Illinois, Patricia Pinchback of Albany, New York, Mary (Cassie) Hollner of Denver, Colorado, and Michael Boland, Sr. (Mary) of Cooperstown, New York. Her parents, Clarence and Dorothy Boland of Albany, New York, are deceased. Kitty was also considered a sister of Jim’s siblings: Edward J. Ray (Mary Sue) of Cohoes, New York, Kathleen Marsch (Henry) of Clifton Park, New York, Sharon Ryan (John) of Clifton Park, New York, Kevin Ray (Mary) of Clifton Park, New York, and Sheila Hollner (William) of Clifton Park, New York.
Family and friends are invited to share in the celebration of Kitty’s life at Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home,1500 W Braddock Rd., Alexandria, VA 22302 on Sunday, August 28, 2022 during the hours of 2:00-6:00 P.M. A funeral service will be conducted at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, 8531 Riverside Rd., Alexandria, Virginia, 22308 on Monday, August 29, 2022 at 11:00 A.M. Burial will be at Ivy Hill Cemetery, 2823 King St, Alexandria, VA 22302 on a plot selected by Kitty last year.