As executive director of the Miami Bach Society for almost two decades, Kathryn Ball Gaubatz shared her passion for Baroque music with South Florida.
In 2000, she founded the Tropical Baroque Music Festival, an internationally recognized music event going into its 16th year. And she supported the careers of countless musicians through the years.
Gaubatz, who loved the purity of Baroque music and said it helped her through the loss of her only child, died Friday in Coral Gables from a heart attack. She was 72.
Her sister Jancy Ball said, “She lost herself in the music.”
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“She was a champion for the music and the musicians,” Ball said.
Born December 14, 1941, in upstate New York, Gaubatz studied piano as a child and was raised around music, but it wasn’t a “big passion,” said her sister. She graduated from Wellesley College and received a master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago. She also held a certificate in nonprofit-agency management from Case Western Reserve University.
Ball said her sister developed her love of music after she moved to South Florida in the mid-1970s with her husband, John Gaubatz, who preceded her in death. She saw a flier advertising the Miami Bach Society, and immediately called.
She volunteered for a while, but in 1993 tragedy struck. Her 22-year-old son Daniel took a nap and did not wake up after his heart stopped. Ball said her sister coped by turning to music.
In 1995, she was hired as executive director of the Bach Society, where she promoted the music of Johann Sebastian Bach by supporting musicians and planning events.
“This lovely human has left the planet,” said Gaubatz’s niece Lisa Remeny in a Facebook post. “Bless your soul, Kathy. Love continually.”
In addition to her sister Jancy, Gaubatz is survived by her sister Judith Ball of Pompton Lakes, New Jersey.
A memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday at Plymouth Church, 3400 Devon Rd., Coconut Grove. The family asks that instead of sending flowers, friends make donations to The Miami Bach Society in Gaubatz’s memory.