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Wooden Boat Show, June 2011, Mystic Seaport, Ct
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When Katharine Foy played Brahms' Opus 110 at what was to be her last concert in Osterville a few years ago, she was glum about her performance, which she felt was not up to standard; but immediately brightened, saying "I'll play it better next time." The perfectionism and the optimism were both typical of the pianist, who died in her sleep Christmas morning at age 87

Kitty Bubb (Schaefer) Foy was born in Pittsburgh in another era, when the wealthy took paddlewheel steamers from New York to reach Fall River and the Cape, and hosted weeklong house and sailing parties on Nantucket Sound. Her father was Norwegian, born to a family of merchant seamen. He emigrated to Boston and then Pennsylvania, where he made and spent a fortune inventing brake mechanisms for railroad cars. Her mother was the late Sarah Bubb Schaefer. Kitty's parents bought a house on the sea front in Osterville when she was born and that house became the family's base, and finally Kitty's, when she took it over from her parents in the 1980's.

Kitty started playing piano at age three - taught initially by Virginia Fuller of Crosby-town, who was to become a close friend - and her love for music, according to friends and colleagues, was unquestionably the driving force of her life.

Her accomplishments on paper were imprsseive: she earned a Bachelor of Arts in music at Vassar, a Master of Arts from Radcliffe and UC Berkeley; studied with Nadia Boulanger in Fontainebleau, Frand, and Guido Agosti at the Chigiana Academy in Siena, Italy; studied as a Fulbright scholar for a year in Vienna (taking care at the same time of a newborn and a three-year-old); played countless concerts on Cape Cod, New York, Mexico and South Africa; soloed twice with the Boston Pops Orchestra, under Arthur Fiedler and Keith Lockhart; taught at New York's Mannes College of Music; and ran the Wianno Concerts series for 40 years in Osterville./ But these achievements paled in comparison with the evident pleasure she took in playing the piano at all hours, for herself, her friends, for anyone who would listen and not a few who didn't.

What astonished everyone who knew her was the fact that she could not only practice technically difficult Franck and Bach several hours a day, but have ample energy left over for cooking, traveling, gardening, swimming, mountain-trekking in the Alps, sailing, horseback riding, entertaining friends, raising her own children and playing with those of others, and maintaining a household with her husband, Louis Foy, whom she met when they were both students at Berkeley, and who was a correspondent for French newspapers and radio stations at the United Nations and the White House.

Her energy was the subject of many stories - the vats of soup she put together at 3 a.m., using virtually anything from her garden and all leftovers from the fridge; her nighttime swims from the Osterville Oceanside, through the tidal currents of the cut, to the West Bay beach of her brother Fred, where she astounded assorted grand-nephews by appearing out of the water at 1 a.m., cheerfully demanding beer; and her ability to ride to hounds with the Galway Blazers hunt club in Connemara on her 70th birthday, then play piano will all hours in an Irish hotel bar.

She spoke fluent Norwegian, French and German, and passable Italian, and never lost her affinity for languages - she was still learning Spanish and Mandarin through her 70's, traveling at the same time to Mexico, Taiwan, South Africa and Portugal - returning always to the house on Nantucket Sound.

She leaves two sons, Louis and George, and a daughter-in-law Elizabeth; two grandchildren, Alexandre and Emilie; her cat, Grisette; and numerous relatives and friends.

Donations can be made for a scholarship in her memory to the Cape Cod Conservatory development office,

Box 233, Falmouth, MA 02541. No flowers please; she preferred picking her own.