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George Kayatta

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George Nayef Kayatta, PhD New York City, NY – George Nayef Kayatta, PhD, age 69, passed away peacefully on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 in Saratoga Springs. After a long illness with many setbacks, he had come under the care of his sister, Jane Perkins-Huyck, and her husband Christopher J. Huyck, MD. Born in Brooklyn, NY to Mitchell and Josephine Kayatta, George graduated with high honors from Notre Dame High School in Utica, NY, earned his BA at St. Bonaventure University 1965 where his love of music influenced the rest of his life. He received his MA in Romance Literature and Language at SUNY Binghamton, PhD in French Literature at Case Western Reserve University (awarded NDEA Total Fellowship)1970, LL.B from LaSalle University 1973 and became an Asst. Prof. of Romance Language at St. John’s University in NYC. He went on to contribute to music, literature, mathematics, the fine arts and martial arts. Among his credits are “The Bleeker Street Three” a professional collegiate, bluegrass trio in which he sang, played 12 string guitar and banjo; RCA Victor recording artist of 1972 album “Time to Wonder Why”, in which he composed and arranged all the songs; composed the original opening/closing themes for the children’s TV series “The Magic Garden” in NYC; a translation of the entire Holy Bible into rhyme (1987); the mathematically insightful “Planetarium Papers” (presentation series at Hayden Planetarium NYC) for which he is credited as the creator of the term “spime” and several critically acclaimed essays, poems, prayers, dialogues and stories collectively titled “Feast”. Through his passion for life, art and personal expression, he developed a unique style of oil painting, appreciated by many fellow artists. After reaching the level of Black Belt in Karate, George became the chief writer for “World Karate Magazine” for which he received several martial arts journalism awards as late as 2013. As an artist, an author, and a playwright, he held several awards from the Beaux Arts Society NYC including Book of the Year Award, three Da Vincian Awards and the Humanitarian Award from the NYC Philanthropic League. The breadth of his interests and contributions support widely held view that Dr. Kayatta was truly a Renaissance Man. However, his sharp inquisitive spirit and vast creative works belied his wonderful sense of humor, gentle nature and respect for and love of all things human. Love, respect and kindness are what truly characterized George’s life. He was a loving son, brother, partner and friend. His life was spent befriending and being befriended and he will truly be missed. In 1977 George suffered a reputed aneurysm and his courageous rehabilitation from this catastrophe defined his subsequent determined creativity. He suffered deteriorating health over the past few years and was unable to survive a recent stroke. George is predeceased by his mother, Josephine Kayatta Apgar and his father, Mitchell Kayatta. Survivors include his sister Jane Perkins-Huyck and her husband Christopher J. Huyck, MD of Saratoga Springs; his brother Jerome C. Kayatta, DDS and his wife Mary Grace of Newark, DE; several cousins, nephews and nieces; life companion Catherine Moor-Jankowski of NYC and many lifelong devoted friends. Relatives and friends may call from 2-5 PM Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013 at the William J. Burke & Sons/Bussing & Cunniff Funeral Homes, 628 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs (518-584-5373). A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 AM Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 at St. Clement’s Church, 231 Lake Ave. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family. The family wishes to extend their heartfelt appreciation and many thanks for the compassionate and loving care given to Dr. George Kayatta at Wesley Health Care Center and Saratoga Hospital. In lieu of flowers, the family suggest donations be made to the Children’s Aid Society of NYC, 105 East 22nd St., NY, NY 10010 or the Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675. Online remembrances may be made at www.burkefuneralhome.com.

Published in The Saratogian on Nov. 8, 2013
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