YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Kathryn “Kay” (Novotny) Franko, 97, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her family on Thursday, November 25, 2021.

Kay was born on January 18, 1924, in Campbell, Ohio, a daughter of the late John and Catherine (Slanina) Novotny.

She was a graduate of Carlow University, earning her degree in medical technology. She went on to earn a degree in cytopathology from the pioneer of that field, Dr. Papanicolaou, inventor of the “pap smear.”

She worked for many decades at St. Elizabeth Hospital, founding not only the Cytology Department but also a school of Cytology.

Her greatest joy in life was her marriage to her husband, John “Johnny” Franko on September 5, 1953. They loved to travel, visiting Europe and the Vatican. After his passing in May of 1973, it was her Catholic faith that sustained her in the following decades.

She was a longtime member of St. Matthias Church, where she belonged to the Altar and Rosary Society and the choir.

“Auntie Kay” was a proud Slovak and a brilliant light of kindness, faith and service. She served as the editor of the local ASCA Slovak newspaper for many years. She also belonged to the JEDNOTA Slovak Society.

Kay was passionate about politics, believing that the government should serve and uplift all people and led by example about how to make Youngstown a better place for all.

To her family, especially her beloved niece, Susan Mraz, Kay personified the true nature of love. She will be dearly missed by those who knew and loved her.

Kay is survived by many treasured nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her beloved husband, Johnny Franko and siblings, Stephen, Anna, John, Michael, Albert, Johanna and Father Cyril A. Novotny, OSB.

Friends may call from 10:00 – 10:50 a.m. on Wednesday, December 1, 2021, at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish at St. Matthias Church, immediately followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 11:00 a.m., celebrated by Father John Jerek.

She will be laid to rest next to her husband at Calvary Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests material contributions be made in Kay’s memory to Benedictine High School, in honor of the Father Cyril Novotny scholarship fund at or to Ohio Living Hospice at

The family has entrusted arrangements to the Kubina-Yuhasz Wasko Funeral Home. Please visit to send the family condolences.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Kathryn “Kay” Franko, please visit our floral store.

A television tribute will air Monday, November 29 at the following approximate times: 7:10 a.m. on FOX, 12:22 p.m. on WKBN, 5:08 p.m. on MyYTV and 7:27 p.m. on WYTV.