Statement on the Passing of Buffy Cafritz
This week, I was saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend Buffy Cafritz, a dedicated and transformational philanthropist whose legacy will leave a lasting impact upon so many of our nation’s greatest cultural institutions. While I will miss Buffy terribly, I am also strengthened by the authentic manner in which she lived her life and the warmth and generosity of her spirit that touched so many.
I first met Buffy at the same place so many others did throughout the years, at a presidential inaugural event. What immediately stood out was her quick wit, sense of purpose and wise perspective on domestic political discourse and international affairs. At the time and through the decades since, we bonded through shared laughs and our love of country. Those who know Buffy understood that she was a prideful American who never lost sight of preaching the virtue of bipartisanship, civility and the power in striving to serve others with honor and distinction.
Buffy’s life was a testament to the genuine power of building friendships, which like all good creations of nature get better and better and better with time and attention. I will never forget her enormous capacity to love the beautiful family she cherished, most notably her husband Bill. Now, they are together once again.
My thoughts and prayers are with their family in this time of loss.
Please see notes on behalf of Deborah Rutter and David Rubenstein below.
“It is with great sadness that I share the news of the passing of Buffy Cafritz. Buffy and her late husband William Cafritz have been synonymous with the Kennedy Center seemingly from its very beginning. Buffy and Bill Cafritz were extraordinary leaders and transformational philanthropists. Their generosity of spirit was felt across Washington DC for decades, especially at the Kennedy Center. Buffy held many roles at the Kennedy Center, including being appointed to the Board of Trustees in 1993 and being made an honorary trustee for years after her official appointment ended. She was a fierce advocate of the Kennedy Center Honors since its inception and became the Honorary Chair of the Honors Gala. The Kennedy Center staff most cherished Buffy’s willingness to give her time and counsel. She could often be found working in stride with the staff behind the scenes during the weeks leading up to the Honors Gala. She played an indispensable role in maintaining the integrity and magic of the Honors to this day. Her kindness, impeccable judgment, and good humor will be deeply missed by all. For me, Buffy was one of the first to welcome me to Washington with her quintessential DC-style reception in her beautiful home. I will never forget that evening. More importantly, I will not forget Buffy’s advice, good will, and friendship.” -Deborah Rutter
“For decades, Buffy Cafritz was one of the Kennedy Center’s most dedicated and valued supporters, and her passing is a real loss for the Kennedy Center family. And, it is a real loss as well for so many other cultural organizations in the Washington DC area. I truly valued my own friendship with Buffy, and will miss seeing her at Kennedy Center events, particularly Honors where she always brought such joy and passion. Buffy was one of a kind, and the Washington cultural world is truly in her debt. May she Rest In Peace, and hopefully her family will take some comfort in knowing how much pleasure she brought to so many in this area for so long” – David Rubenstein
In honor of her long service and our love and admiration for Buffy, we are dedicating the 43rd Kennedy Center Honors to her memory.