Deceased Information


    Michael Zola Kay

  • AGE



    Thursday, January 19, 2023 (After Sunset)


    Sunday, January 22, 2023


    3:00 PM


    No streaming.




    Visitation will occur immediately following the funeral on Sunday and shiva will be observed on Monday at 6:30 PM.

    2 Old Virginia Chase, Atlanta, GA 30327



    Michael Zola Kay, age 83, of Atlanta, GA passed away peacefully in his home on January 19, 2023. Michael was born in New York City, spent his boyhood in Pittsburgh, and earned a B.S. degree in Hotel Administration at Cornell University. After launching his career at many of the marquis hotels in New York City, Michael came to Atlanta in 1980 as the CEO of Omni International Hotels. He went on to run the Portman Hotel Company and then in 1991 went on to become the turnaround CEO of LSG Sky Chefs, the largest provider of integrated in-flight airline catering. Michael has served on the boards of Radiant Systems, NSI, Shoptaw and Pullapart and dedicated much of his retirement years to serving on the boards of national and local nonprofits. Michael is the past Chair of the Board of the Jewish Community Legacy Project and past board chair for the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta where he created the first donor-advised fund committee and chaired the investment committee. He served on the board of Jewish Federation of Atlanta and co-chaired the creation of their strategic plan with Mike Leven. At JF&CS, where Michael chaired the board and served for two years, he and his wife Ann were honorary co-chairs of the capital campaign that resulted in an expanded campus and new space for the agency’s innovative IndependenceWorks program. Up until the time of his death, Michael was on the boards of The Weber School and the MJCCA.  Michael also served on the boards of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, United Way of Greater of Atlanta, YearUp Atlanta, The Center for Working Families and KIPP Schools in Atlanta. Michael served as Vice Chairman of Points of Light and was on the national board of Repair the World. He and Ann then assisted in helping bring Repair to Atlanta. 
    Michael was a force for goodness and philanthropy and through his professional and volunteer pursuits, he created a lasting impression and an impressive legacy. Michael dedicated countless hours mentoring others and sharing his experiences and advice. Michael was a man of many thoughts and words but he chose them wisely. His love of family, friends, running, books and crossword puzzles are everlasting, and his presence will be missed by all who knew him.

    Michael is survived by his wife of 43 years, Ann Kay; his brother Jeffrey Kay; his son Jonathan Kay, his wife Marcia and their 2 children, Hayden and Phoebe; his daughter Jennifer Gilbert, and her 2 children Mason and Max; his daughter Alison Doerfler and her 2 children Harrison and Jordan; and his son Todd Lubin, his wife Lindsay and their 2 children, Ozzy and Lou. Memorial donations may be made to Jewish Family & Career Services or Atlanta Jewish Federation. The funeral services will be held Sunday January 22nd at 3pm at Congregation Or Hadash at 7460 Trowbridge Rd. Sandy Springs, GA 30328 with Rabbi Edward Harwitz officiating. Arrangements by Dressler’s, 770.451.4999. 

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  • Jerry and Elaine Blumenthal

    Dear Ann - We are so sorry for your loss of your beloved Michael, and for your families too, and we're so grateful for all he and you did and do for our communities. It's a treasure to share friendship. With LOVE, Elaine and Jerry

  • AJ Robinson

    Michael touched a lot of lives in a meaningful way far beyond his immediate family. His advice and counsel always was presented with such a supportive message and those of us who worked with him will always be very grateful for that. He will be be missed by many of us.

  • Liz Helgesen

    Dear Ann and Family, I am deeply saddened by your loss. I worked with Michael during his Portman Hotel Company years, as a Director of Human Resources for one of his hotels. I was 24 years old and Michael was a tremendous leader and mentor to me. I will forever treasure his wisdom and leadership I still carry with me today. What a difference he made in so many meaningful ways. My deepest condolences to you all.

  • Bernice and Sidney Breibart

    Dear Ann,We have cherished our friendship with you and Michael and are deeply saddened to learn of Michael’s passing. We send our deepest sympathies to you and your family. May his memory be a blessing.

  • Janet L Sugarman

    Mrs. Kay and family, I didn't know Michael very well, but I knew enough to recognize a very special man. I served on a number of committees with your husband and was able to recognize his leadership and his goodness. My sincere condolences go out to you, your family and your friends.

  • Judy Schulman

    Dear Ann, I'm so very saddened to hear of Michael's passing. He was a special man and will be missed by many. Sending deepest condolences to you and your family.

  • Sid Besmertnik

    Ann: It has been a pleasure meeting you through the JFCS board; and hearing the insights from both of you - usually with Michael sitting quietly behind you on zoom until he had words of wisdom. May his memory be for a blessing

  • Ann Cohen

    Working as the consultant with Michael and Mike Leven in 2003-2004 on JFGA’s strategic plan, Michael oft compared our work to a quantum leap citing JFK’s bold commitment to landing on the moon. Michael coupled this comparison with the expression of the timeless Jewish values of humility and trust. It was purposeful, respectful, and exhilarating. His thirst for meaningful change was infectious and I was so proud to work with and learn from him. May his memory be a blessing and a guide.

  • Alan Richmond

    Dear Anne, Turner and I are so sorry for your loss. He will be greatly missed. Alan Richmond

  • Lynn Epstein and Ken Stein

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Ann and the family. Michael was a force for good. His visionary leadership and compassion touched all corners of the community. May his memory be a blessing.

  • Larry and Stella Gordon

    Dearest Ann, we are so sorry to learn of your recent loss. Michael certainly fought the disease. I will be out of town and unable to personally extend my condolences. Michael left such an incredible legacy not only in the Jewish community but the community at large. The entire community benefited from his business and charitable endeavors!

  • Cooper

    My deepest condolences to the family and everyone who has been blessed to be apart of Michael’s life. He was truly an incredible man with such a big heart. Sending my love and support

  • Barbara and Mike

    Our thoughts are with you all the way from Israel. We share our hugs on this sad day. A wonderful friend will leave a big void but the memories of the good times will live on. Wish you all a “ long life” Barbara and Mike

  • Hilary Unell

    Alison - I know it has been several years since we worked together and have been in touch but I wanted to offer my condolences on the loss of your father. Thinking of you and your entire family during this difficult time. With sympathy, Hilary

  • Keith Rinzler

    There wasn’t a bigger mensch or a more impactful mentor to me than Michael. Ann and family, I’m thinking about you guys as I share your grief. We have lost a giant!

  • Jay Bernath

    Ann and family. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours. May the memory of Michael always be for a blessing.

  • Marianne Weinberg-Benson

    Dearest Ann and family, Michael will be missed by everyone who ever crossed his path. He was one of the two most generous, loving and insightful men that ever walked this earth. Love, Marianne

  • Jonathan Fuchs

    The biggest mensch with an even bigger heart. Will miss you, my friend. Your memory will be a blessing to all who knew you and the countless lives you touched through your selfless service.

  • Kent Alexander

    So very sorry for your loss. Michael was an extraordinary human being. Sending thoughts and prayers.

  • Ann Olim

    Ann and family, I am so sorry for your loss. I have fond memories of earlier days with the kids. May his memories Be a blessing

  • Ken Bernhardt

    I am saddened by the loss of this great man. What a wonderful human being he was. I learned so much from him during our time together on the Alliance Theatre board, the GSU Marketing RoundTable, and the Community Foundation board (he was board chair when I was chair-elect). Ann, may the many fond memories overwhelm the sorrow.

  • Bernie Goldstein

    Michael was one of the kindest, nicest persons God put on Earth. My deepest sympathy to Ann and family. His many friends and the organizations he befriended. willmiss him greatly. My deepest sympathy to the family.

  • Ron & Lisa Brill

    Dear Ann and family, Michael was a true mensch! Our hearts are deeply saddened by his passing . His legacy will impact this community for generations to come. He will truly be missed

  • Arlene Marcus

    I knew Michael through JFCS as past presidents together. I admired him for all the leadership work he did in the community. He always had great ideas. He will be missed. I wish you good memories and peace.

  • Frances Kohn

    I came to know Michael through his work with my late husband Herbert at JF&CS. He was a devoted worker and knew how to get things done but always with a kind and gentle "push". A loss not only for his family but the Jewish community.

  • Terry Freedman

    I first met Michael at Cinema Club screenings and later got to know him better through coffee klatches and book club. I will always remember him for his good humor and wise comments and insights. May he rest in peace.

  • Nancy Isenberg

    Dear Ann I am so sorry for the loss of Michael. He was just wonderful-full of life and humor and sincerity. I got to know him under the tree at Marianne and Jon’s and what a delight that was. Thoughts of him will bring good memories of this Mensch of a Man. May your memories bring you strength in the coming days. Love Nancy

  • Ramon and Jody Franco

    Our sympathies to the entire Kay family for your loss. Michael enhanced every organization and individual he came in contact with. The world may be a little emptier without him but his good name and incomparable contributions will never leave us.

  • Rhoda and Stephen Margolis

    Dearest Ann and family- we are so deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend, Michael. We have so many memories of joyful times together. He will continue to live in our hearts forever. Rhoda and Stephen

  • Ted Marcus

    So sorry to hear of Michael’s passing. He was an incredible asset to the entire community and to JF&CS in particular. May his memory be a blessing.

  • Abby Friedman & Harry Heiman

    We are sad to lose a good friend and outstanding community leader. His absence will be felt across many communities. Our hearts go out to his loving family, especially his love and best friend, Ann.