[nfb-talk] Paul Edward Knisbacher Kay Dies at age 71

tribble lauraeaves at yahoo.com
Sun Jan 11 04:15:04 UTC 2009

my condolences -- but Jan 10 is today -- Sunday is the 11th.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "by way of David Andrews <dandrews at visi.com>" <LPovinelli at aol.com>
To: <david.andrews at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Saturday, January 10, 2009 8:53 PM
Subject: [nfb-talk] Paul Edward Knisbacher Kay Dies at age 71

Paul Edward Knisbacher Kay Dies at age 71

By Harold Snider and Larry Povinelli

We report with great sorrow the untimely death of
Paul Kay, a longtime leader in the National
Federation of the Blind, after a protracted
illness on Wednesday, January 7, 2009. We would
like to recall Paulâ?Ts life and achievements.

Paul Edward Knisbacher was born on February 22, 1937 in Vienna, Austria.

Paulâ?Ts early life was traumatic. His family
fled from the Nazi takeover of Austria in
November, 1938. First they fled to Belgium for
about a year. When the Nazis invaded Belgium in
1939, they again fled to England. The young
family survived the Blitz in London and after
eighteen months in England immigrated to the
United States in early 1941. On arrival, Paulâ?Ts
father changed the family name from Knisbacher to
Kay.  He thought that the family would flourish
with more Anglicized names.  In 1981, Paul had
the opportunity to revisit his family home in
Vienna, Austria which had been confiscated by the
Nazis. He was able to meet his old nanny and the
reunion was both happy and tearful.

Paul grew up in the Riverdale section of the
Bronx in New York City. From the age of 10 Paul
began to loose his sight.  In high school he was
diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, which led to
Paulâ?Ts blindness.  Paul also had severe hearing
loss later in life.  Paul graduated from Taft
High School in 1956 and then attended The College
of Insurance in Brooklyn NY where he obtained a
Bachelorâ?Ts Degree in Business Administration in 1961.

In the 1960s, Paul worked as an independent
insurance broker in New York City. He also
obtained training and was licensed as a Masseur.
But neither career truly satisfied Paulâ?Ts
ambitions. With encouragement from his family and
members of the National Federation of the Blind,
Paul entered law school at New York University in
September, 1971.  Paul first joined the National
Federation of the Blind in the summer of 1968 in
New York City.  He attended his first National
Convention in 1969.  Paul joined the student
division in 1970, where he served as Vice
President and later the National Association of
Blind Lawyers, where he was an active member for
33 years.  This experience changed his life.  At
the same time Paul always loved big dogs and was
a guide dog user for many years after law
school.  He had five guide dogs during his life.

On graduating from law school in 1974, Paul moved
to Washington DC to accept a position as Staff
Attorney with the U.S. Maritime Administration,
an agency of the Department of Commerce. He was
employed by the government for eleven years,
leaving to enter private law practice in 1985
where he began practicing Criminal Law in the DC
Superior Court and the U.S. District Court for
the District of Columbia.  In 1993, Paul and
Larry Povinelli became law partners and created a
professional corporation.  The corporation
expanded its practice to include numerous areas
of the law. Paul and Larry practiced law together until his death.

On Paulâ?Ts arrival to Washington in 1974, he
immediately became part of the leadership of the
newly reorganized NFB of DC. He remained an
active leader, board member and officer for the
remainder of his life. Paul served as President
of the DC affiliate from 1978 to 1980,
distinguishing himself for his advocacy and
leadership in educating the DC City Council about
blindness. Paul was also actively involved in the
Sligo Creek Chapter of the NFB of Maryland and
the Potomac Chapter of the NFB of Virginia.

Although Paul lived in Washington for thirty-five
years, you could never mistake him for anything
other than an extreme New York Yankee fan.  In
2007, on the occasion of his seventieth birthday
close friends of Paul gave him a great surprise,
a return visit to his old home in the Bronx and a
game at Yankee Stadium where he was able to cheer
for his beloved New York Yankees.

Paul loved his baseball as he loved
life.  Nothing stopped him from succeeding at
whatever he wanted to do.  If you took the time
to get to know Paul, you would have come to know
a great friend, who had a heart of gold.  He will
dearly missed by his family and friends.

A memorial service will be held at 10 AM on
Sunday, January 10, 2009 at Louis Suburban Chapel
in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.  Paul will be buried next to his mother and 


Paul is survived by his sister, Elizabeth Kay Goldstein

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