New Berlin - It was hard even for Santa Claus himself to out-smile Kay Jashinski, whose exuberance shone brightly in her role of Mrs. Claus as long as their has been a New Berlin Christmas parade. Jashinski, of New Berlin, died Sept. 6. She was 71.
She relished in her seasonal role, which began with the first in the modern series of holiday parade in the city in the late 1990s, smiling at little ones along the parade route, then greeting one and all at the Fire Station during the official holiday celebration.
A history worth noting
Year after year, she did it as an act of love, said her husband, Gerald Jashinski.
"Just try to keep her away," Gerald said.
Kay will be missed, said John Ziino, chairman of the parade and the Christmas committee.
"The kids adored her and she loved the kids," he said.
Besides being Mrs. Santa, Jashinsky was on the Christmas committee from its beginnings three years ago, Ziino said.
And when the committee struck on the idea of raising money for the parade by selling Christmas ornaments, Jashinsky did the research into each historic New Berlin building that the ornaments highlighted, giving each collector ornament more significance, Ziino said.
Delving into history was one of the things Jashinsky liked best. She was active in the New Berlin Historical Society and played the organ and piano in two historic buildings during the society's Historic Days and at open houses.
Reporting on New Berlin
Jashinsky also found herself in the thick of other municipal matters as reporter for the New Berlin Citizen, predecessor of the New Berlin NOW. From the early 1980s until about 1993, Jashinsky covered city news.
Audrey Juds, who covered the schools for the New Berlin Citizen at the time, happily looks back on working with Jashinsky.
"We were the greatest three-some," referring to Jashinsky and then-editor Sue Burke.
The outgoing Jashinsky, she said, "was very eager to participate in things going on and write about them."
Her husband concurs.
"She loved working for the newspaper," Gerald Jashinsky said.
Actively involved in city
Her involvement in the community went beyond journalism.
New Berlin Mayor Jack Chiovatero recalled when he served with her years ago on the city's Landmarks Commission.
"She was very involved in the community," Chiovatero said.
"What I remember is her joy," he added. "She was joyful to be around. … She was always a positive light, no matter what was going on."
Jashinsky could be seen for many years on stage assisting at candidate forums. She also helped the Rotary Club of New Berlin set up its candidate forums, Juds said.
On top of her writing abilities, Jashinsky was also an accomplished painter and a musician.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by daughter Sara (Ray) Koscak; sons Jim (Karen) Jashinsky and Craig Jashinsky; and grandchildren.
Funeral services were held Sept. 12 at the Krause Funeral Home. Burial was at Highland Memorial Park.
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