I was shocked and saddened to learn of Kay Covert’s passing recently.
by Sherry Hasslacher
I thought I would take the time to share with your readers the memories and impressions I had of Kay in the relatively brief time that I knew her during my years in Manzanita- a place I cared for so well that I still think of it as home even all these years later.
It would be difficult to overstate the positive qualities of this woman. She was the personification of graceful strength, kind intelligence, nimble eloquence, feminine professionalism and unbounded courage. The only woman I know who could rise to the Herculean task of making Walt look like an even better man than he already was- if for no other reason than for him having the good sense to marry her.
My mother always said that the true mark of a great woman was that she could work all day- doing anything from plowing a field to working in an office- then come home, clean up and turn right around and be the most beautiful, charming and witty woman at a party that night.
My Mom would have loved Kay.
Kay literally changed my life. We’d had some success in social media marketing for our little bookstore, so Walt and Kay invited me to talk with their employees about social media and how to use it. I created a little Powerpoint presentation and walked on over a few days later. She saw something in me during that meeting, and invited me to join their agency.
What no one knew at that time was that I was struggling. The demands of the business and writing my old column were too great, with too small of a return- a common problem on the Coast. I had begun to sink into a deep depression that I might not have returned from. I’d lost all self confidence. It was an incredibly dark time in my life, and Kay shone a light on me when I most needed it. As I expect she did for many in our community.
She and Walt helped me to get my license. She consoled me when we later lost our beloved dog. She encouraged me at every turn and taught me more than I could have ever imagined. Not just about how to be a good realtor, but about how to be a good woman. Kay was the kind of person you could talk with for hours. You never felt rushed, and when you had her attention you had all of it. You could walk in frustrated and stymied, and walk out feeling capable and confident. There was a calm center and a peacefulness to her that rubbed off on you when you spent time with her. And yet she could be so funny, and swear so well, that even I was taken aback on occasion.
She taught me about meditation. She taught me how to hold on and how to let go. She gave me advice about everything from clothes to how to run a business. When she and Walt later visited us in Arizona, it was one of the best visits I can remember having. She was a friend and a mentor when I desperately needed both. I don’t love easily, it’s just not in me. But I loved Kay. You couldn’t not love her once you got to know her.
I imagine in the days and weeks to come, many will extol the virtues of both Walt and Kay- the fact that they were (and are) pillars of our community, how helpful and generous they were in every possible way- often quietly and out of the spotlight. How monumentally involved they were and how much they cared about their community. And every bit of it will be true.
But, I can only speak to my own experience of her. For me, she was a great friend, a brilliant mentor and a light in the darkness. I imagine all of Manzanita shines a little less brightly now for the loss of so wonderful a woman. I doubt we will look on her like again.