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published: Sunday, September 23, 2012
AP loses a smiling face
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
AVON PARK -- A beloved member of the community of Avon Park will be laid to rest in the coming days after a full life of providing smiles and service to countless residents.
Katherine May Alexander, 85, known to most residents as "Ms. Kaye" or "Mama Kaye," was a long-time employee of the McDonald's on U.S. 27.
Alexander has always been a memorable face at the establishment and many residents have grown up before her very eyes.
"She played such an influential role in so many peoples lives around here and touched so many hearts...love that woman," said her granddaughter, Amber Alexander McKinney.
Alexander was born May 17, 1927 in West Virginia. The daughter of a coal miner, she was one of seven siblings. After meeting her husband Allen in Ft. Lauderdale after re-locating there from New York, the couple moved to Avon Park in the mid 1980's.
It was then that Alexander took a position at the McDonald's, where she continued working for over more than decades.
Alexander started out with a lobby position at the establishment and even managed to maintain that role with the company after McDonald's got rid of the position in all of its stores.
Many of the area's residents have turned to her granddaughter's Facebook page to share memories and honor the service and love Alexander showed them throughout the years.
"Where do I begin?!? This beautiful lady was a huge part of our childhood. We saw her AT LEAST once a week at McDonald's where we would share hot fudge sundaes and talks about school and all the crazy things that would come to a child's mind! And don't tell the McDonald's people BUT she MAY have given us a toy or two. We had her work schedule memorized in hopes to see her when we went in ... What an incredible woman she was and as I wipe the tears from my eyes remembering her, I thank God I knew her," Christie Flowers wrote.
Others joined in on the memories they have of Mrs. Kaye.
"She was famous for that 'McSmile,'" said Magie Hulber.
"It was literally my FAVORITE part about going to McDonald's as a child...I know it sounds crazy but it was," stated Tonya Kahn.
"I thought she owned that place when I was little. She always walked around with that coffee pot, making sure there wasn't one empty cup," Cale McKinney said.
The Alexander family greatly appreciates the support and love shown by the Avon Park community.
"Everyone knew her from McDonald's. They always knew if they went inside, they had better be prepared to talk, because that's what she loved to do an she was good at it! She loved getting up everyday and going to work just to be around all the fellowship," McKinney said.
"She didn't do it for the money, she did it for the fellowship with her community."
Services for Alexander will be held at Stephenson-Nelson Funeral Home in Avon Park on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
The family welcomes any members of the community to attend as the services are open to the public.
GRANNY KAYE ALEXANDER (by: Carrie M Warner - 10/2/2012)
MAY WARM MEMORIES BRING A SMILE (LUVING IT GRANNY KAYE WITH MY OLDER SON MATTHIEU; HUG MORE LOTS), WORDS NEVER SEEM ADEQUATE BUT KNOW CARING HEARTS ARE REACHING OUT YOUR .... WITH DEEPLY SYMPATHY,
Ms Kay (by: Paul Bowles - 9/26/2012)
What a great lady. Always so warm and personable. She will be missed.
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