Kathryn Fitzsimons Ozanne
Known to most people as “Kay,” Kathryn Ozanne passed away on January 3 after a 19-year struggle with inclusion body myositis, ten years of macular degeneration, several cases of sepsis, and finally COVID.
She was the daughter of Catherine Ryan Fitzsimons and William Charles Fitzsimons, and was born in New London, Conn., at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital on April 24, 1923.
After attending local elementary school, Kay was a 1940 graduate of the Williams Memorial Institute (WMI), now known as The Williams School, in New London, Conn.
After high school, she decided she wanted to get into the working world. Kay attended the original Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School in Providence, R.I. This course of study included a semester of classes at Pembroke College (now Brown University). It was part of a humanities-based philosophy endorsed by Katharine Gibbs at the time for their students.
She then took a job with the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad’s Union Station in New London. She worked for the Travelers Aid Society, which was based at Union Station. New London was quite busy with the Naval Submarine Base and the Coast Guard Academy nearby. After December 7, 1941, the world changed, and so did New London. Union Station was chock full of traveling military personnel needing assistance. Kay’s Travelers Aid booth was very busy.
It was in this context that she met a young school teacher from the Admiral Ballard Academy in New London by the name of Joe Ozanne. He taught French, Latin, and geography, and coached soccer and baseball at the school. He was working on the railroad because school was out for the summer.
They were married in September 1946 and moved to Niagra Falls, N.Y., where Joe got a job teaching at the Deveaux School, an Episcopal military academy.
Niagra Falls was very far away from family, so Joe took a teaching job in a small town called in western Connecticut called Newtown. They first lived in a rooming house near the flagpole called the Parker House (which then became the Yankee Drover) with many other teachers who taught in the school system.
Eventually, they built a house in the center of town, in which she lived until she got very ill several weeks ago.
Kay stayed home with their two daughters, Denny and Delly.
When Delly was a bit older, in 1963, Kay took a three-month substitute secretary job for a lady who was out on maternity leave from Sandy Hook School.
The rest, as they say, is history: Kay stayed there until 1997.
Over her time in Newtown, she helped raise a family, took vacations at Misquamicut in Rhode Island for 25 years, was a member of the Newtown Garden Club, the Newtown Women’s Club, the Newtown Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Rotary Club’s Ladies Auxiliary (called the “Rotary Annes”), took oil painting classes but had to give them up due to the fumes of the paint, arranged flowers, worked on Eagle Watch, wrote a short story for the Woman’s Club competition which won first prize, and was a member of St Rose of Lima parish since 1949.
She was also the chief labor negotiator for the Secretaries Union for many years.
Through her time at Sandy Hook School, many hundreds of little students got to know her so well that some of them called her the “Grandmother of the School.”
Later on in life, with kids grown and flown, she and Joe would go up to the Pleasant View House in Misquamicut for a week or two to be near the beach like the old days.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph Ozanne, and her cats, Munchkin and Mr Kitty.
She is survived by her two daughters, Denise Ozanne of Newtown and Adele Ozanne of Stamford. Through the miracle of computer genealogy, many cousins of whom she was previously unaware now survive her, as well.
She was true to her Irish heritage on both sides. She stayed interested in any and all research and developments regarding her disease almost until the end of her life. She was a fighter who never gave up on a cause. She was a gracious and kind person who never failed to throw in some Irish humor when she could.
The family wishes to thank all her friends, neighbors, and caregivers who were so kind and supportive of her during the long years of her illness.
Donations in Kay’s memory may be made to the Myositis Association at their website; visit myositis.org and click on donate.
Due to COVID restrictions, there will be no calling hours.
A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10 am on Saturday, January 9, 2021 at St Rose of Lima Church, 46 Church Hill Road, Newtown. This service will also be livestreamed on the St Rose’s website, strosechurch.com; click “Voice of St Rose” to access the service. There is room for 75 people.
Burial will take place on Monday, January 11, 2021, at noon, at the River Bend Cemetery, 117 Beach Street in Westerly, R.I. All are welcome as long as strict social distancing is observed.