|Birth: ||Mar. 25, 1916|
|Death: ||Jan., 2000|
Leon Taylor and Jim Nicholson, Daily News Staff Writers
Posted: January 27, 2000
Katherine A. Black put down her roots in Port Richmond in 1959 when she and her late hubby, John, bought their corner house and opened a steakshop on the street level.
The area changed over the years. Old neighbors moved out and new ones moved in.
But those who left often returned to visit the old 'hood. And a visit back home just wasn't complete without a stop at Kay's Steakhouse.
"She was well-known in this neighborhood," said Veronica Gutschall, one of Black's eight daughters.
"People who moved out would always come back to get her ice cream or cheesesteaks. They used to say she always had the biggest ice cream cones."
Kay Black, an outgoing yet feisty classic movie buff who worked 12-hour days and jammed to anything from swing band to disco, died Monday.
She was 83 when she succumbed to cardiac arrest following a gall-bladder operation last month.
Born Katherine Filippini in Holmesburg, she finished eighth grade at St. Dominic's before leaving to find work.
She worked at the Keebler Baking Co. during the 1930s and was a regular Rosie the Riveter during World War II while helping build airplanes at the old Kaiser plant.
"We were just going through her things and found some of her old riveting books," Gutschall said.
"She always told us she did part of the wing. She'd say, 'I used to rivet the wing.' She was very proud of that."
After the war, she waitressed at several restaurants and married John Black in 1955. Four years later, they were in Port Richmond and Kay Black, the waitress, became Kay Black, the proud owner of Kay's Luncheonette. She later changed the name to Kay's Steakhouse.
Kay Black threw her heart into the business and the neighborhood.
"She was very generous," said Kathy McGovern, another daughter.
She said needy neighbors could count on her mother for a free coffee and a chance to get out of the cold for a while. Sometimes Black would slip them a cheesesteak or even some leftovers from her own family's meals.
But Kay Black could be as tough as her cheesesteaks were tender. Just ask the kids who tried to hang at Tulip and Firth over the years.
The blast of her command, "Get off the corner or I'm gonna call the cops!" still rings in many an ear.
Sometimes Black's, um, concern for the youths cost her a broken window. But in the end, it earned her respect and was one reason why hers is one of the last remaining corner stores in the neighborhood.
A diabetic who had one leg amputated four years ago, the 5-foot-4 redhead used a prosthesis and walker and continued working the cash register until about a year ago.
She enjoyed attending parties and bingo at St. Ann's Senior Citizen Center and playing the slots in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. In her earlier years, she took several cruises and liked to vacation and visit from Florida to California.
"She enjoyed her life," McGovern said. "She lived it to the fullest."
Black is survived by five other daughters, Deanna Krusen, Geraldine Beagle, Mary Frances Kane, Pat Pauley and Coleen Potter; 13 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. Her husband and a daughter, Barbara Beagle, preceded her in death.
A viewing will be held from 8:30 to 11 a.m. tomorrow at the McBride Funeral Home, Cumberland Street near Cedar. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 at St. Ann's Church, Lehigh Avenue near Memphis Street. Burial follows at St. Dominic's Cemetery, Frankford Avenue and Academy Road.
Albino Filippini (1882 - 1965)
Francesca Filippini (1892 - 1962)
Alfred Firman Krusen (1915 - 1988)
John P Black (1917 - 1989)
Barbara Ann Krusen Beagle (1940 - 1978)*
Saint Dominic Church Cemetery
Created by: Spirit Walker
Record added: Apr 05, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 88086372