by Jane Zimmerman, Treemont Resident
Her favorite dance is the polka and her favorite color is purple after her birthstone amethyst. She strolls down the halls at a quick pace, always head up and alert. To newcomers she is Kay DeBurra; to long-time friends she is regarded warmly.
Kay and her husband Don resided at Treemont together until he passed in 2015. They were married 58 years, and had been in Houston since 1988. Catherine Mary Reuter, 22, married Donald Kenneth DeBurra, 26, in 1955 and was finally able to leave her home in Hastings, Minnesota and begin an adventuresome new life and future that not only was exciting, but took her places she had only dreamed of going. Don was employed by Lummis Engineering Company that frequently assigned employees overseas, and as Kay and Don had no children and nothing to keep them in the states, they traveled often.
Though Kay and Don had no children, Kay mothered a son when she was 19 at the Catholic Infant Home in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her father, a German hunter and trapper in Hastings insisted that she give the baby for adoption, so all she knew was that he was a boy and years later, that his adoptive parents, the Sajaks, named him Patrick. Coincidence?
Kay is also 4th generation Polish and has a great, great, great grandfather claimed by family to be related to the Polish Pope John Paul. She has an antique photo of this grandfather in her memorabilia.
Kay is a master of many skills. Her grandmother said she could dance the Polka before she walked. As a child, Kay learned her father's furrier's techniques: how to skin and preserve – that is until the American fur business was faced with the new unpopularity of wearing or owning fur. Then later when she was married to Don, she socialized with the American ex-patriots overseas, and explored new and exciting cultures. She even rode an elephant and describes how to ascend one: "You climb the tail in bare feet to get into the basket on top. It isn't as easy as it sounds!"
When Kay visited India, she bleached her hair blonde and had a photo taken; but when the local people saw her, they murmured, bowed down, and kissed her feet! A local explained in English, "They think God has chosen to make an old woman young, and it is a miracle." Kay was not allowed to color her hair again – even when it grew out.
It is no wonder why Kay is so quick to make friends with residents here at this senior living Houston community. She has lived such a varied and adventuresome life, with so many different personalities and cultures. From Hastings to India, and Brazil to Houston and all over the globe, Kay can dine and dance, with or without a partner, making everyone smile. Quite a gal!
If you enjoyed meeting your Houston assisted living neighbor, then click here to meet more residents of this dynamic independent living in Houston community. There is much documentation on the value of social interaction and friendships in keeping seniors happy and content. Active Activities Programs are key to resident happiness in senior living in Houston communities. Seniors want to live with interesting and engaging residents. At Treemont, from concert pianist Ann Wang, to Nelda Sims of the Sims Trio and also Wilma Carr and Lillian Lee, residents enjoy in-house entertainment, and meeting new neighbors with whom to engage and share their new community. Please make sure you ask about the residents and the activities for seniors programs when you tour senior living Houston TX communities.