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Katherine Muller Brundige (“Kay”)

Died peacefully in her sleep on June 2, 2023, at the age of 78. Born on August 1, 1944, in Westfield NJ, Kay – née Katerina Dee Muller – was the daughter of the late Frederick Lorenz Muller Sr. and Mildred Frances Walker Muller. She was the youngest of five. She graduated from Westfield High School and then from Skidmore College, where she majored in English and minored in organ. After graduating, she happily lived on the Lower East Side of NY with her college roommate who would serve as a life-long best friend. She taught high school English in Matawan NJ. Having been introduced at a rugby match by mutual friends, Kay married Robert William Brundige Jr. (“Bob”) on December 18, 1971. Kay continued teaching English at Fort Lee High School. A few years later they moved from NYC to Ridgewood, NJ and had their first daughter Elizabeth (“Liz”) Walker Brundige, to be followed by Allyson (“Ally”) Brundige. While the primary homemaker and caregiver, Kay gave up full-time teaching. But she never gave up her love for literature and education, and she instilled a deep and abiding love for books and high value for education in both her “girls.” When her children complained of boredom, she did not offer sympathy but instead proffered advice: “read a book!” Later, Kay taught night-school English classes and middle school special programs including Great Books and a course on women’s liberation that she created. And after retirement, Kay wrote book reviews for a publishing house, while getting to read mysteries in advance of their release. Throughout her life, Kay demonstrated strong leadership and volunteerism. As a Junior League member, she coordinated the toy library for children living with disabilities. As chair of the College Club’s book collection and sale, she raised scholarship funds. She hosted silent retreats and get-togethers for her church. In all of these, she formed lasting friendships and modeled the importance of sharing one’s time, talent and treasures in service. Kay was known, too, for her generosity, creativity, and thoughtfulness. She crafted handmade gifts for friends and family ranging from calligraphed quotes to cross-stitched pillows. She kept up ballet exercises at home and delighted in the New York City Ballet performances that over the years she was able to enjoy with Bob, her daughters, and many-a-friend. On occasion, Kay filled in at the organ during Sunday worship, and she sang alto in the church choir for over three decades. St. Elizabeth’s Church was a second home to Kay. There, she found solace and nourishment in faith and community and took an active part in all aspects of church life. She served with the choir, book group, Episcopal Church Women, discernment committees, and on Vestry and worshiped daily at morning prayer. The Anglican communion was also a natural home to Kay, given her love for all things Lewis Carroll and English children’s literature in general; this mutual love led her to a magical summer studying at Oxford, where she spent countless hours in Christ Church Cathedral and the Bodleian Library alike. Kay treasured time spent with her friends, nieces and nephews, sisters and brothers (in law and by birth alike), her husband Bob, her daughters Liz and Ally, and especially grandchildren Emma and Mateo, who adored their beloved “Kay Kay.” Funeral services will be held on Saturday June 17th at 2pm at St. Elizabeth’s Church, 169 Fairmount Ave. Ridgewood, NJ 07450 and will be streamed live here. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the College Club of Northern NJ’s Education Fund or to the St. Elizabeth’s Church Outreach Fund. May her memory be a blessing that inspires one and all to value each child as if they were our own; to find, create, and enjoy beauty and friendship; and to lead a life in service of others.

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