Kathleen Isabel Robb, or “Kay” to all of us here, was born June 28, 1925 and passed away on May 24, 2007 just a month short of her 82nd birthday. Kay was predeceased by husband Steve Pomeranski; mother and father Mary and William Roy Robb; and brothers, Alvin and Clarence. She will be greatly missed by her sister Irene (Bill) Peters; brother Laurence Robb; nine nieces and nephews, including Bonnie (Doug) Jerlo, Bill (Roula) Peters, Bob (Karen) Peters, Diane (Harold) Funk, Denise (Scott) Patterson, Bill (Kathy) Robb, Karen Robb, Debbie Robb, and Scott Pomer — and our combined 14 children — all of whom had tremendous and unconditional love from their Auntie Kay.
Kay spent her childhood in Dropmore, Manitoba, and enjoyed sports — especially curling and baseball. Church was an important part of Robb family life, and Kay played the piano at most of the services, which were held in the community hall. She found work as a teen in Winnipeg, but returned to Dropmore to help with her ailing mom. Returning to Winnipeg in 1955, Kay worked at a grocery store, and after her mother’s passing in 1958 took care of her father until his passing in 1973. Then after three years she found her life partner in Steve Pomeranski, and they were together for 17 years until his passing in 1993.
After some time alone she then began to enjoy high-rise apartment living in downtown Winnipeg — her apartments having a wonderful view of the Forks Market. She still loved her sports, and would watch curling, baseball, and football especially if the Bombers were playing. Thankfully, Kay had many good friends in her life, and we know she will be missed by them all — particularly the High-Risers, members of Club 22, and Heather, who provided home care and was a good friend.
Kay gave so much time and love to her family, and her hugs and pleasant conversation will be missed more than she could ever know. Her love, generosity and genuine concern for her brothers and sister, nieces and nephews and their children is her legacy — she loved us as her own, and told us so.
My memories of Auntie Kay begin in the mid 1960s, when I was somewhere around 6 or 8 years old. Kay had been taking care of my grandfather after my grandmother’s death in 1959, and our family, then 3 kids and my mom and dad, would go over for supper almost every Sunday. Those memories evoke a kind of “situation comedy” memory for me, with mom watching over baby Bob, Dad in conversation with Grandpa Robb, with me wreaking havoc at every possible opportunity, while Bonnie kept Mom and Kay informed of my activities. Auntie Kay was our red-haired “Hazel”; preparing dinner while in conversation with mom, and as much as possible, keeping the little ones out of trouble.
They had an interesting stove in that house — one that with today’s safety standards could not exist. It had front-mounted dials that would light up in different colors as they were turned up, from green, to yellow, to bright red. I liked red. Often I would “decorate” the front of the stove with all three colors. I was warned, many times, that this activity was dangerous. So also was playing with the electric kettle, which Kay stored safely out of my reach — on one of the rear elements on the stove. I think she found a safer place for it after I made the connection between one of the dials and that rear element. And yet to this day Kay has never raised her voice to me — her only concern being my safety and well-being.
Kay recently re-told a story from those days of my brother Bob, who had provoked some kind of trouble and had been sent to a bedroom upstairs. Some time later Kay found him sobbing face down on the bed, and when she asked him what was the matter, he told her “Nobody loves me, Auntie Kay”. She said to him, “Well I do, Bob”. And immediately that made him feel better. As Bob is technically the middle child of our family, Kay always wanted to make sure he felt loved. And we could see that concern for him every time she has told that story through the years.
Over the years, from Thanksgiving and Easter to Christmas, every special family occasion was made more special with the inclusion of Auntie Kay. The food was always great, and the mood lighter. And I would be remiss not to mention that she had a wonderful sense of humor!
Many years have passed since those early memories, and with time came physical problems — first with her knees, then a stroke, then her hip started giving her trouble. And yet every time we visited her she apologized for not being able to make coffee, or serve us in some way. And if she was in pain she would tell us, but would not let it affect her visit with our kids. And though we knew that she would smoke, she never once smoked when we were there which at times was for an entire evening.
I suppose I could go on and on about Auntie Kay, but I think her life is best summed up in this way… As a small child and throughout my life I knew I could go to Auntie Kay and receive love and a big hug like I was her favorite son. Every one of us kids could. Only two days ago I asked my 10 year old son if he felt comfortable coming to Auntie Kay’s service, and at first he said he’d rather not. When I asked him why, he did not hesitate to say “Because I love Auntie Kay.” And it is for that same reason that he, I, and we are here today. You only have to take a look at the color picture in the center of the collage of today’s program to see the magic of Auntie Kay.
God Bless you Auntie Kay, and thanks for the memories.