Catherine “Kay” Chemsak (Utlak), AKA “Bubby”, 93, passed away at her home September 13, 2023 with her family by her side. Kay, who embraced life with a fun-loving and adventurous spirit, left this world with a legacy of laughter, joy, and cherished memories that will forever live on in the hearts of those who knew and loved her. She was born in Youngstown, PA on February 27, 1930 to the late Michael and Katerina (Orinchin) Utlak. Kay grew up with four brothers and three sisters. Her earliest memories include weekend train rides and bakery visits with her brother, which set the stage for her lifelong love of trains, travel and sweets. As a young adult, Kay embarked on a fulfilling journey that included a memorable chapter in Washington, D.C., where she worked for the FBI. It was during her time there that she had a chance encounter with J. Edgar Hoover in an elevator, a memory she often shared. Upon leaving DC, she moved to McKeesport, PA and met her loving partner of 57 years, Andy Chemsak. There, they raised their kids Jean and David and treasured time with their grandchildren. One of Kay’s most endearing qualities was her ability to maintain a childlike magic even in old age. When visiting Disney World at age 90, she rode the Frozen ride with a look of pure joy on her face and was inspired to buy an Elsa doll to remember that experience. Kay's laughter was infectious and she often had a mischievous sparkle in her eyes when telling stories about her earlier life. She had a unique gift for making friends wherever she went, a testament to her welcoming personality. She was an avid BINGO player, enjoyed all types of crafts, loved to travel, and never passed up a good sing-along. Most of all, Kay loved her family. She always looked forward to holidays and events where everyone was together, describing these fondly as “a lot of eating and loud talking.”
She was the beloved "Bubby" to her seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Even to many of her grandchildren's friends, she was simply "Bubby." She had a special way of making everyone feel like family. In her final days, Kay was surrounded by the love of her family and enjoyed much laughter, memories, and storytelling. True to her nature, she embraced life until the end, enjoying a final “party” with her children and grandchildren just days before her passing. Kay Chemsak's legacy is one of love, laughter, and an unquenchable zest for life. She will be deeply missed but forever remembered for her warm smile, her love for family and friends, and the joy she brought to all who had the privilege of knowing her. She is survived by her children, Jean Chemsak Skinner (Doug) and David Chemsak (Kathy); grandchildren Danielle, Stephanie, Luke (Phuong), Todd, Christopher (Jacey), Samantha, and Colleen; and her great-grandchildren Jasper, Cassius, and Nalu; along with nieces and nephews; and beloved “granimals”. In addition to her parents, Kay is preceded in death by her husband, Andy Chemsak; four brothers, the Rev. Eugene Utlak, Michael Utlak, Ted Utlak, and Victor Utlak; three sisters, Sister Michael Utlak, OSBM of Uniontown, Marie Utlak LaVechia, and Anne Utlak. Friends are welcome Sunday, September 17, 2023 from 1-5 pm at the Gilbert Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 1638 Lincoln Way, White Oak, PA 15131. (412) 672-6322 Troy J. Gilbert, director. Funeral Service will take place on Sunday in the Funeral Home Chapel at 4:30 pm with Fr. Kevin Dominik officiating. A private burial at Mount Saint Macrina Cemetery will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider sharing a special memory of Kay in the digital guestbook and/or making a donation in her memory to Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great <https://sistersofstbasil.org/make-a-gift/donations-online/>. Condolences can be made at Gilbertfuneralhomeandcrematory.com
Originally published September 14, 2023.