Katherine McLaughlin "Kay" Howell
  • 90 years old
  • Date of birth: Mar 21, 1923
  • Place of birth:
    New York, New York, United States
  • Date of passing: Jan 4, 2014
  • Place of passing:
    Scotts Valley, California, United States
"I have a scathingly brilliant idea!" (Kay Howell, on numerous occasions over the years)

On April 19, 2014 we laid Mom to rest, scattering her ashes in sight of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in California. We thank Lighthall Charters for their compassion and respect; they did an excellent job. Rest easy, Mom and have a peaceful journey.  We love you.

We invite you to contribute, comment and share your memories of Kay.

Our heartfelt thanks to Hospice of Santa Cruz County who guided our family through Mom's transition with grace, compassion and understanding. A contribution in Mom's name is appreciated

                                 Hospice Of Santa Cruz County
                                 940 Disc Dr
                                 Scotts Valley,  CA  95066.

A special thank you to all the Visiting Angels who were with Mom every moment of the last two months. You lifted her spirits, and showed such care and love for a person you'd just met. We cannot clearly or completely articulate our gratitude for all you did for this family.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Nina Garcia on 4th January 2018

"Thinking of your mom and your family today. Katherine stays in our memory and is honored on this special day."

This tribute was added by Linda Howell on 4th January 2018

"Think of you often, Mom, and missing you always."

This tribute was added by Nina Garcia on 4th January 2017

"What a great way for your family to keep you in our memories! What an honor to serve such a great family. You are missed."

This tribute was added by Nina Garcia on 23rd March 2015

"Happy Birthday to a special, wonderful lady! What a beautiful way for your family to keep your memories fresh in our minds. I am lighting a candle for you today!"

This tribute was added by Nancy Espil on 21st March 2015

"Miss our stores  we shared while you were in my salon to add to your beauty..Nancy"

This tribute was added by Linda Howell on 4th January 2015

"A year ago tonight we said goodbye to you, Mom.  Hope the bingo jackpots are bigger, and you've found some great partners for playing Hand & Foot.  Miss you."

This tribute was added by Jane Hagan on 30th March 2014

""How's Mom?" was a question I asked Linda and Nikki about their Mom on a regular basis.  That's how I felt about Kay.  She always made me feel loved and comfortable around her, like Mom's do.  She will always be one of the most special people I have had the honor of knowing in my life."

This tribute was added by Linda Howell on 21st March 2014

"For the longest time, I thought the first day of Spring was March 21, Mom's birthday.  Happy Birthday, Mom.  Love you."

This tribute was added by rande howell on 24th January 2014

"Aunt Kay you did it your way and you did it very well.  You were very loved and will be missed rest peacefully.  Love Rande & Patti"

This tribute was added by mary arden on 24th January 2014

"Kay was "Miss Congeniality."  She was my neighbor across the hall at Vista Prieta Homeowners Assoc. in Santa Cruz.  When I arrived 7 years ago she was so open, friendly, inviting - quite adorable.  I travel quite a bit for my work, and for pleasure, and she would ask: Are you coming or going?.  And I would answer - both!  And we both would laugh.  I remember Kay's delightful laugh.  And I appreciate she would look for the positive solution about something, and generate ideas.  I remember her with fondness and gratitude; she was a blessing.
Mary Arden"

This tribute was added by Stuart Eskenazi on 22nd January 2014

"Everyone who enters this world hopes to leave it with a legacy. While here, we venture to live life with a purpose. For most people, legacy is left by way of offspring, and Kay achieved this purpose in life through the five children she raised and loved. I’m fortunate to have met them all, and know three of them very well. Like their mother, they lead principled lives characterized by integrity and strength. They possess talent and humor, and my life is better because they are part of it.

And that’s all great. But the memory I want to contribute here is about Kay’s other purpose in life – a deliciously decadent legacy called Kay’s Cookie Kitchen. To a generation of University of Washington students (my generation), Kay was that nice lady with a New York accent and blue apron who patiently stood behind the display case as we made incredibly important decisions.

Do we want our chocolate chip cookie with nuts or without nuts? Is today a peanut butter day or does it feel more like oatmeal?

My choice usually came down to this: Mint St. Helens or snickerdoodle? In the end, it never really mattered which one I chose. Since I also knew Kay as “Patti’s mom,” I would pay for one yet find both in my little white bag.

For those who never got to visit Kay’s Cookie Kitchen (or “KCK,” as I liked to call it), all I can tell you is that Kay’s cookie recipes (butter, butter and more butter) put those of Mrs. Fields to shame. To use a UW analogy, it was like comparing Northlake Tavern pizza to Domino’s.

While Kay never franchised her venture and went big time, we all know she could have. But that wasn’t her purpose. She fulfilled her purpose through a small cookie store on “the Ave” and, of course, through her family. And that’s one hell of a legacy."

This tribute was added by Michael Howell on 11th January 2014

"Peggy says:  I wish I had more time to get to know Auntie Kay and her li fe in NYC, as I live there for a few years.  What a wonderful lady. Mick says: I'm gonna miss my Auntie Kay."

This tribute was added by Annette Kessler on 11th January 2014

"Kay was our neighbor when I grew up in California and she hired my brother Ron and I to work at Kay's Cookie Kitchen when we were going to college at the UW in Seattle.  She was an amazing lady, very hard working, thoughtful and generous.  We were frequently invited to swim at their pool on hot Summer days.  When our house was fumigated, the Howell's housed some of us and hosted a spaghetti dinner so we could see each other, since our family was staying at various friends all over town.  She set a tremendous example of working hard by finishing college while raising a family, and starting and running her own successful business making the best cookies ever.  I see her family carrying on these same qualities and know that she will never be forgotten because of the values she imparted to those who were lucky enough to know her."

This tribute was added by Nancy Espil on 11th January 2014

"My name is Nancy Espil.  Knowing Kay for the last 20 years or there about  has been a blessing to me.  She was a beautiful lady inside and out.  I added to her beauty by doing her hair for all thoes years.  Our time spent together every month at the salon was such a good memory.  I missed her so much when she moved to Scotts Valley but did see here there from time to time.  May God bless and comfort  the family in this time of loss.."

This tribute was added by Rachel Stroup on 10th January 2014

"I first met Kay when I moved into the Vista Prieta Ct. apartments in 2000.  I used to see a woman walking out of the complex every single morning at 7:00 a.m. and it was Kay!  I came to find out she walked all the way to a donut shop on Capitola Rd., drank a cup of coffee, read the paper and then walked back!  It seemed she was totally committed to this daily walk and I was amazed at her energy, especially at that age! Because of Kay we enjoyed many activities at Vista Prieta Ct.  She was always "organizing" some activity; cards, games, the Easter Brunch, and the potlucks that continue to this day.  Kay was a wonderful, caring friend that never had a bad thing to say about anyone.  You couldn't mention that you needed a Band-Aid or a cough drop because she had it and gave it to you immediately!  I remember one day at cards we couldn't start because one of the players was late.  She started to say something about going ahead and start and not wait when I said "Kay, do you have an appointment?"  She looked at me startled and we all started laughing!!  From then on "do you have an appointment?" became a standard joke!  Kay was so amazing, funny, sweet, and a dear friend and I will always cherish having known her."

This tribute was added by Timothy Coupe on 9th January 2014

"I am Dick and Barb Coupe's son. Aunt Katherine was my God-Mother and I want to share what she meant to me.
Every birthday, Christmas, and Easter without fail I received a packed pink box from Kay's Cookies! They were not a baker's dozen but there were 15 to 16 cookies crammed in there. It made me, the youngest of six children, the most popular child on these occasions. And, these cookies were unbelievably good!
This kind, thoughtful, and loving act was greatly appreciated by a boy (and his brothers and sisters) in Scottsdale, AZ. Aunt Katherine held a special place in my heart as the years went by.
Now, I want this story to be shared and enjoyed by her family. Aunt Katherine was a special, loving women!
May God bless and comfort you at this time."

This tribute was added by Barbara (Davis) Coupe on 8th January 2014

"Aunt Katherine,
Thanks for being my God-Mother. As a child, your gifts made me feel so special. I'll always remember our 1949 Easter visit to San Francisco, especially the unique Easter egg hunt. You were the spark in the McLaughlin family; Keep that spark shining in Heaven! Love, Barb"

This tribute was added by Linda Howell on 7th January 2014


For all the times you gently picked me up,
When I fell down,
For all the times you tied my shoes
And tucked me into bed,
Or needed something
But put me first instead.

For everything we shared,
The dreams, the laughter,
And the tears,
I love you with a Special Love
That deepens every year.

Thank You Mom

(unknown author)"

This tribute was added by John Madatian on 7th January 2014

"Beth and I are most fortunate to know several of Katherine's children.

We never had the pleasure of meeting Kay,
but we heard that she often used the expression "As Jesus said..."          
So here comes one:

As Jesus said..."By their fruits, ye shall know them".
So, it's obvious that she was a truly incredible and gifted human being.

May God bless you always Katherine,
and bring peace and comfort to your family and loved ones,
in all the days ahead.

And thank you all for creating this beautiful tribute,
and allowing us to be part of it.

With our deepest love and sympathies to all of you,

John and Beth"

This tribute was added by Laurel Mousseau on 6th January 2014

""That's an interesting question, why do you ask?" - One of many Kay-isms I routinely employ and share with my clients.  Kay's wisdom and zest for life enriched all the "orphans" who showed up for holiday dinners.  Glad to be among the lucky ones who shared the path with Kay and her scathingly brilliant ideas."

This tribute was added by Joan Graves on 6th January 2014

"I remember when my sister Jeanne got married, on Jan 3rd, 44 years ago............. at the reception she danced the Lindy Hop with my Dad.  Everyone was surrounding them clapping.  They really could move!!!!!  Aunt K was always the life  of the party.  We were lucky to have someone with a lust for life in our family.  RIP Aunt K."

This tribute was added by michael chicotel on 6th January 2014

"Kay always seemed to treat me like I was captain of the ship, instead of the deck seaman that Nikki married. She never tried to stand out at holiday get-togethers at our house, but her fiery spirit and independant thinking would kick in when she would ask me, "why don't they have seat belts on school buses?" An hour later, you might need a bucket of ice water to finally get her off the subject.. "Just go with the flow" never worked for her. The world needs fewer willy-nilly milquetoasts, and more Kay Howells, who think for themselves, and stand for what they believe in."

This tribute was added by Cheyne Howell on 5th January 2014

""Keep your mouth shut, and mind your own business" - Grandma Kay's routine talk to herself in the mirror every morning while she lived with us on Western Ct. in Santa Cruz, California. She explained to me that she was lucky to be allowed to live with her son (Stuart) and daughter-in-law (Marie). I'm positive that we were the lucky ones."

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This memorial is administered by:

Patti Howell
Linda Howell


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