Kathryn W. DeFord.

Kathryn W. DeFord, 85

May 31, 2024

Kathryn “Kay” W. DeFord, age 85, of Chatham, passed away on Saturday, May 18, 2024.

She was preceded in death by her loving husband, William (Bill) DeFord, Jr., her brother Grant Wilson, and her sister Carla Heath. She is survived by her brother Douglass Wilson, her children, Laurie King, Anne Milne, Lise Wilson, and Will DeFord; her seven grandchildren, and one great granddaughter.

Born in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania as Kathryn Howe Wilson, Kay was one of four children born to William Alan and Eleanor (Lawson) Wilson. She lived her childhood in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Lincoln. She was a student of Concord Academy, Class of 1956, and received her BA from Vassar College and Boston University, Class of 1960.

Soon after graduating college, Kay married Bill and they began to start a family, raising their children in the towns of Lincoln and Concord, where Kay’s involvement in the culture and education of the communities grew.

She was instrumental in founding the Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts and the Concord Youth Theatre (1976), where she was the artistic director of over 50 productions. In 2019, she had the honor of the Kay DeFord Center for Performing Arts being dedicated to her by CYT.

Kay and Bill moved to Chatham in 1998 where they became proud owners and innkeepers of The Cranberry Inn for 15 years. Kay had a vision for decor and the inn became her ultimate project. With 18 guest rooms and common spaces to furnish and embellish, she had her work cut out for her. She took pleasure in beautifying the inn and maintaining the flower gardens. Her theater career continued on Cape Cod as she performed in and directed shows at the Chatham Drama Guild and Eventide Theatre Company. She joined many groups, socialized with friends and sat on a number of volunteer boards, contributing to the culture, history and commerce of Chatham.

Her many hobbies and interests included tennis, golf, piano, sewing, knitting, gardening, baking, book club, story telling, bridge, travel, and dining out.

Funeral arrangements, by Nickerson Funeral Home in Orleans, will be announced at a later date, as well as burial information.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Kay’s memory may be made to Concord Youth Theatre. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.nickersonfunerals.com for the DeFord family.