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Katherine 'Kat' Massey was "the best thing that ever happened to us"

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Posted at 3:43 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-17 09:52:33-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Katherine 'Kat' Massey's family jokes that the headstrong 72-year-old was a "committee of one." At 72, she even refused help mowing the lawn.

"Her favorite saying, shes got 1,000 of them, 'this is a question-suggestion,' meaning that we're going to go with whatever she said, because it's a question but this is what we're going to do," said Barbara Mapps, Kat's sister.

That determination is what her peers praise her for in her community activism. Betty Jean Grant, also a community activist, met Kat in 2001, and together they grew the grassroots organization We are Women Warriors.

Grant says Kat's passion and love of Buffalo motivated her.

"She's in a true sense of the word, a warrior. She was a woman warrior and she really, really loved that title, she loved working and she loved helping people," said Grant.

Grant says Kat was fiercely passionate about reducing gun violence and improving children's education.

"Kat Massey's going to be missed, I don't know how we're going to replace her," said Grant.

On Saturday afternoon, Barbara says Kat's brother dropped her off at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue. Barbara describes the painful effort trying to confirm whether her sister was among the deceased.

"We were at the Tops for almost eight hours. I talked to probably how many police officers, please let me know where my sister's at, and they would come back and say nothing nothing," said Barbara.

Barbara says the coroner was in tears when she confirmed her sister's identity.

As Kat's family prepares arrangements for services to celebrate her life, Barbara says she is sickened knowing that she won't be able to see her sister again.

"It only hit me at night time that [the shooter] shot her in her face. He took that too away from us. That's the hardest thing," said Barbara.

Grant says she and other community leaders are hoping to re-name the street Kat grew up on and resided until her death as "Kat Massey Way."