With profound sadness, we announce the passing of Sondra Kay Brigham. She went peacefully in her sleep on Thursday, April 7, 2022.
Sondra was born in Brooklyn, New York on May 6, 1934. Her parents, Gadalya and Rivka Kalnitsky (shortened to Kay) were Jewish and immigrated to the United States in the early part of the 20th century. They were both originally from Russia and were married in New York. They started a family with Flora (the oldest, but she died as a child in a tragic accident). Gloria became the oldest, Sondra in the middle, and Rochelle the youngest. They were known as the Kay girls.
In the Summer of 1941, during WWII, the family moved to Southern Vermont. It offered a new beginning and fresh air for the growing family. Manchester, Vermont would be where Sondra would live, learn, and love her family. It was about as far from the city streets as a young growing girl could go.
Sondra was always a loving and caring child who showed great potential and dedication as a student. She played tenor saxophone and piano, participating often in community band programs. She was the valedictorian of her high school graduating class of 1951 at Burr and Burton Seminary.
Sondra attended Syracuse University for two years. It was there where she attended a sorority dance in which her sorority sisters shunned her for dancing with one of the most famous football players of all time, Jim Brown.
She completed her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Connecticut.
She went to work on submarine technology at Electric Boat in New London. There she met her future husband, Gerald. They worked in the same office and began socializing a lot, often hanging out in the evenings. They dated for 3 years before marrying on December 20, 1960. Their honeymoon was GREAT! They drove to Miami and stayed at the Golden Strand right on the beach. They rented a cabana in which Babe Ruth had formerly wintered, went to shows, and had a grand time!
Their first child, Stacia, was born in Newport, Rhode Island. Their second child, Thai, was born in Columbus Ohio. Seeking warmer climates, the family moved to Anaheim in Orange County California. The family would grow to include their son, David.
When the children were older, Sondra started teaching in the Los Angeles School District. She worked hard taking classes at night and teaching during the day. She loved teaching math in one of the most challenging areas in LA.
Some of Sondra’s favorite pastimes were going to theater and concerts (both classical and popular such as the New York Jazz Festival in the 1960s), going to Laker and Angel games, and watching them on tv. The most precious times in her life were sharing birthdays and holidays with her family where there was sure to be a party filled with singing, stories, pizza, and most importantly, balloons.
She loved each of her grandchildren – Becca, Cassie, Arielle, Katie, Grady, and Colette – so much!!!
She will be dearly missed and forever live in the hearts of her family. They all want her to “catch their kisses.”