June 16, 1946 — July 18, 2019
To her family and friends, Katherine M. "Kitty" Lysiak was a “professional volunteer.”
In her day job, she worked for about 35 years, first as a registered nurse at Buffalo General Medical Center and the Buffalo Medical Group and later as a hospital sales representative for a health care company.
Her real passion, though, was her volunteer work, mostly with the Junior League of Buffalo and the local Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
“She never said no to any cause or request from a friend or neighbor,” said her husband of 37 years, Frank M. Lysiak. “That was Kitty.”
Mrs. Lysiak died Thursday in Buffalo General Medical Center. She had been under the care of Roswell Park Comprehensive Care Center during her 1 1/2-year battle with ovarian cancer. She was 73.
A native of Erie, Pa., the former Kitty Agresti graduated from Buffalo General’s School of Nursing in 1967. She started her career at the hospital, working in labor and delivery for about five years, before moving to Buffalo Medical Group as an oncological nurse, administering chemotherapy to patients for more than 10 years. When her husband was transferred out of town on various business assignments, Mrs. Lysiak continued to work as a hospital sales representative for Johnson & Johnson in New York City, Denver and then back in Buffalo before retiring in the early 2000s.
Mrs. Lysiak was most active with the Junior League of Buffalo, serving the organization for a number of years as a member of the board of directors and a key volunteer for several of its biennial Decorators' Show Houses and various committees. In 2013, she chaired the show house at the Knox Summer Estate in East Aurora. Most recently she served as nominating chairwoman of the board of directors for two years and was named the “Sustainer Vice President” in 2017.
When Mrs. Lysiak learned that a good friend’s brother had cystic fibrosis, she began volunteering with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Western New York, serving on various committees for the past few years.
Thanks to all those friendships and connections, a new Team Kitty raised more than $10,000, doubling its $5,000 goal, for this year’s Ride for Roswell charity event.
In addition to her volunteer work, Mrs. Lysiak was prolific at needlepoint, holding numerous positions in the Embroiderers' Guild of America and the American Needlepoint Guild and serving as a judge at the Erie County Fair.
Surviving, besides her husband Frank, are one stepdaughter, Michelle A. Muchmore; two grandchildren; one great-grandchild; one brother, Amadeo Agresti Jr.; and five nephews and nieces. Mrs. Lysiak also served as a longtime surrogate mother for her nephew, Thomas Bedner, after his mother died at an early age.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9 a.m. Wednesday in St. Joseph University Church, 3269 Main St., Buffalo.