Kay Randall, 61, foster parent to more than 30

February 01, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Kay Francis Randall, a foster mother to more than 30 children, died Saturday at Sinai Hospital of a respiratory illness related to diabetes. She was 61 and lived in the city's Pimlico area.

In 1981, when her children were older, she became a foster parent for the city Department of Social Services. She opened her door to as many as three children at a time. Some stayed as briefly as a week and some for several years.

"She was an extraordinarily loving soul," said the Rev. Victoria R. Sirota, her pastor, who is vicar of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Nativity in Northwest Baltimore. "Her last foster child left her just a week before she died. She opened her house because she had a huge heart.

"When she tried to count the number of foster children she's had, she said that she couldn't count them," her pastor said, noting that many other children were placed with her just to stay overnight.

"She was a loving and caring person," said daughter Darlene Brown of Baltimore. "All of her children were taller than she was - she stood only about 4 foot 7 inches tall. But she could quiet her children down when she needed to."

Family members said Miss Randall was a good homemaker and had studied cooking and baking at the Westside Skills Center. Her kitchen was always crowded with children.

"For all the years she was a foster parent, she put the welfare of her children first," said Sue Fitzsimmons, spokeswoman for the Department of Social Services. "She was very helpful and cooperative in helping children become reunified with their parents."

Born in Baltimore and raised in the Harlem Park neighborhood, she attended city public schools.

Before Miss Randall became a foster parent, she worked at an Edmondson Village day care center and at the Preakness Bar, a Northwest Baltimore tavern.

Services will be held at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow at Church of the Holy Nativity, 4238 Pimlico Road.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by two sons, Michael Randall and Victor Randall, both of Baltimore; three other daughters, Sharon Randall, Trina Randall and Maryam Howard, all of Baltimore; 16 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. A son, Sterling Randall, died in 1988.

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