Philanthropic Boca couple die of COVID-19 only five days apart

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Barry and Carole Kaye. Photo courtesy of Florida Atlantic University.

By: Dale King
Contributing Writer

As a threat to life, health and freedom, COVID-19 has eclipsed virtually all other ailments this year as a matter of vital concern to populations throughout the world.

Florida, particularly the three large southern counties, has often tallied record-setting totals of infections, both early in the pandemic and in mid-summer, when numbers of those who had fallen ill spiraled upward.

Coronavirus has taken the lives of many prominent folks, among them, Barry and Carole Kaye, a philanthropic couple whose generosity is still celebrated in places such as Florida Atlantic University where several facilities on the Boca Raton campus bear their names.

Barry Kaye, a life insurance pioneer who wrote seven books that drew significantly from his financial acumen and positive outlook on life, passed away on April 21, 2020, at age 91.

Carole Kaye, Barry’s inspiration also known for her dynamic personality, business sense, philanthropy and partnership with Barry in virtually everything he did, died just five days later – on April 26 – at age 87. “Both died after complications from COVID-19,” said their obituary. They were living in their home in New York when they passed.

A native New Yorker, Barry dropped out of high school to begin a career as a radio and TV personality, their obituary says. He entered the life insurance business in 1962 and set a record for production for a first-year agent.

In 1968, he established Barry Kaye Associates and in 1999 expanded from Los Angeles to Boca Raton. His innovative uses of life insurance earned him a reputation for creativity.

Carole was born in Somerville, N.J. After raising a family, she worked as a partner with Barry planning each step of his career. She was responsible for hiring sales associates for their successful insurance agency, had a short career selling real estate and ultimately created The Carole and Barry Kaye Museum of Miniatures, the largest contemporary miniatures museum in the world.

The Kayes closed the museum when they moved to Boca in 1999. Many pieces were sold off while the remaining items were turned over in 2009 to the Naples, Florida, Museum of Art.

At FAU, the Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium, the Carole and Barry Kaye Great Hall in FAU’s alumni center and the Barry Kaye Hall in the College of Business are named in their honor. Barry Kaye was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from FAU in 2005.

“We appreciate the generosity of Carole and Barry Kaye and their family to the College of Business,” said Daniel Gropper, Ph.D., dean of the college.

“It is sad that the COVID-19 virus has taken Carole and Barry Kaye and so many others,” he said. “But as I listened to their memorial ceremony, I could not help but admire their love for each other over a 58-year marriage, as well as their devotion to family and friends. They have left a great family legacy, and they certainly lived a full, adventurous and remarkable life together.”