A memorial and celebration of life took place Sunday afternoon for Bonnie Kaye, who died Feb. 10 from complications of a heart catheterization.
Kaye, 71, of Oxford Circle, was co-owner and director of the Northeast Learning Center, 7222 Castor Ave., which prides itself on being No. 1 in the state in passage of the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET). She previously worked at Orleans Tech and was national director of the Jewish Defense League in the 1970s.
The memorial attracted about 130 people, evenly split between Zoom and in person at People Acting To Help (PATH), 1919 Cottman Ave. (at Castor Avenue).
Family, friends and co-workers at Northeast Learning Center attended the memorial. Among those in the crowd were state Rep. Jared Solomon and Common Pleas Court Judge Mark Cohen.
Among those on Zoom was Charlie Brown Jr., Kaye’s Levick Street neighbor and a former player for the 76ers who used to cut her lawn. Also on Zoom was comedienne Tracy Rosenberg, who recalled getting her start in the business when Kaye signed her up – without her knowledge – for a 15-minute standup gig.
Jeremy Goldsmith, Kaye’s nephew, made introductory and concluding remarks and delivered a eulogy, describing his aunt as the matriarch of their east coast family.
Debbie Bello, whom Kaye hired when she worked at Orleans Tech, sang two of Kaye’s favorite songs – All That Jazz and Cabaret.
Jacqui Bader, who worked at Northeast Learning Center, led a Jewish prayer of mourning. Bader described Kaye as a person who was beautiful inside and out. She cared about each student. And she had a sense of humor, Bader recalled, joking that at daylight saving time, she’d move her scale back 10 pounds.
A number of other people shared fond memories of Kaye in person, on Zoom or in the Zoom Chat, crediting her with overcoming the loss of her daughter, Jennifer, and son, Jason.
People recalled her blue eyes and smile and her work as an author, blogger, mentor, counselor, conference organizer and glee club coordinator who appeared on Fox News and CNN. She was encouraging, inspiring, able to bring out the best in everyone, brought peace and joy to people and was always willing to give someone a second chance. She changed many people’s lives for the better and was a favorite choice to give a job reference. Someone likened her to Jesus.
“Indeed, her memory is blessed,” one person commented.
“Bonnie was one of a kind,” another posted.
Someone suggested naming a street after Kaye.
“Right now,” another said, “she’s helping people in heaven.” ••