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LAKELAND - Betsye Kay Finch, 92, went peacefully to be with the Lord on March 3, 2019. She was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, Gene Allison Finch, Sr.
Born October 25, 1926, in Ft. Meade, Florida, she was the daughter of the late Alex J. Kay, Sr. and Gertrude Johnson Kay. She was also preceded in death by her brothers, Dr. Jay Kay and Alex J. Kay, Jr.
Betsye lived in New York City from the age of 16, where she studied dance and drama. She studied tap with Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson (tap instructor and dance partner for Shirley Temple) and danced as a Rockette. She worked in the theater industry where she was a member of Actor's Equity, AGVA, and SAG-AFTRA. Additionally, she worked at NBC in New York City, as the personal assistant to Frances Horwich ('Miss Frances' of the Ding Dong School). She was also a member of the Civil Air Patrol during WWII. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the Junior League of Lakeland.
Betsye received her bachelor's degree from Florida Southern College and attended Johns Hopkins University where she worked towards her masters, studying with the Department of Writing, Speech and Drama in their School of Higher Studies. She was the owner of Betsye Kay's School of Dance. Betsye was involved in the arts community in Lakeland and was an early supporter of the Polk Museum of Art, and was also a lover of music, hosting an evening music program on WONN radio. She also wrote a column called 'In Lakeland's Mirror' for the Lakeland Ledger. She was very active in the Lakeland Little Theatre, Mark I & II Dinner Theatre (Lakeland & Orlando), Winter Haven Community Theatre and helped with the Polk Theatre restoration. She was a longtime member of All Saints Episcopal Church. Betsye enjoyed traveling, history, and continually learning, having visited 5 of the 7 continents. Her biggest accomplishment was her family. Betsye loved her family and spending time with them above all.
Survivors include her daughter, Alexis Rocker; son, Al (Melissa) Finch; brother, Ed (Charlotte) Kay; grandchildren, Gavin and Alex Finch.
The family will receive friends from 6:00 pm-8:00 pm on Thursday, March 14, 2019, at Heath Funeral Chapel, 328 S. Ingraham Ave., Lakeland, FL 33801.
A celebration of life will be conducted at 11:00 am on Friday, March 15, 2019 at All Saints Episcopal Church, 202 S. Massachusetts Ave., Lakeland, FL 33801 with a reception to follow. An inurnment will follow at Oak Hill Burial Park, Lakeland, FL. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to All Saint's Building Fund at All Saints Episcopal Church, 202 S. Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, FL 33801.
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Published in Ledger from Mar. 12 to Mar. 13, 2019
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