When Kathy Nicolette looks back at the notes scribbled in her sixth-grade yearbook, there’s one message that stands out.
“‘What you send into the lives of others comes back into your own.’ My mom wrote that and I still remember it,” said Nicolette, 61, of Centerport. “She lived that way and taught us to live that way. If you send out good, it will come back to your life.”
Jayne L. Minasy, a mother of three with a soft spot for animals in need, died June 25 after suffering a hemorrhage the week before. The Woodbury resident was 97.
Minasy, née Leary, was born in St. Louis in 1922. She met her husband, Arthur, on a train ride home from New York City, and the two married in 1947.
After living in Astoria for several years, they settled in Woodbury to raise a family and Arthur began work on a security tag for clothing, which operated off a radio frequency and sounded an alarm when it passed through a sensor. During the day when he went to work as a consultant, Minasy was tasked with seeing how passing trucks affected the device’s radio frequency.
By 1968, Arthur had launched the Knogo Corp., with his anti-theft devices purchased by department stores, hotels and hospitals around the world, and still in use today. And though it was often Arthur who got the glory, his success would have been impossible without his wife, her family said.
“My mom was instrumental in him achieving this, but she was always very quietly in the back,” Nicolette said. “[She] was always encouraging and supportive. I do think he got to where he was because of that as well.”
Her husband predeceased her in 1994.
The fortune and success that came with her husband’s invention did little to change Minasy, said her daughter. Rather, it just made her more charitable, particularly when it came to stray animals. At one point, the family had five dogs and six cats living with them.
“She was incredibly generous and big-hearted,” Nicolette said. “We would always bring strays home and they never left.”
She recalled one instance when they were at the veterinarian, and a family came in with a German shepherd who needed surgery after being hit by a car. When the family said they would not be able to afford the operation, Minasy quietly asked the veterinarian to go ahead with the surgery and to send her the bill.
Though she had lived in New York since the ‘40s, Minasy was still a “Midwesterner at heart,” Nicolette said. She enjoyed shopping and going out to eat with her family, as well as doing crafts with her granddaughters.
“She was all about the family. She formed the person I am today so much,” said Minasy’s granddaughter Alexa Nicolette, 31, of Long Island City. “She was always so polite and kind and generous. . . . That’s something she taught me, manners and being polite to everybody.”
In addition to her daughter and granddaughter, Minasy is survived by another daughter, Karen Hatgis of Woodbury, a son, Keith Minasy of Boca Raton, Florida, and granddaughter Kara Nicolette of Manhattan.
A private funeral was held.