A Family as Big as Her Heart
By Mark Dudley
People were always the most important thing to Cathy. Cathy loved and cared for of all her family members – biological, extended, or acquired – with a singular devotion and passion. Once, she managed to cause a commercial jet liner to divert its cross-country flight path and land in Chicago instead of Boston. Most people who even try that kind of thing end up in Guantanamo, Cuba; Cathy did it because Eve was sick and nothing could stop Cathy if she felt her little girl was in danger. At the gate, they rushed Eve to medical attention, and Eve avoided allergic shock, and Cathy avoided ending up on the FAA’s “do not fly” list. Cathy’s professional growth and increased experience eventually brought her a very large group to care for.
Cathy felt that her own education at the University of Connecticut gave her a springboard to launch her career, and that others needed access to a similar opportunity. Cathy served for eight years until 2009 as a Trustee on the Foundation Board for the University of Connecticut Foundation, and a Member of the Investment Committee. When Jack and Eve started attending schools in Westwood, Cathy realized that public funding of schools was not enough. She joined the Foundation for Westwood Education in 2008 and soon became Secretary, President-Elect, and then President. In 2011, Cathy joined the prestigious National Charity League, a group active since 1925. Cathy thought that when she retired she might put her talents to work full time at a not-for profit activity related to women’s career networks or educational opportunities.
When ALS symptoms caused Cathy to slow down, she had to shed many of her roles and responsibilities. However, she in October,2014, Cathy mobilized her extended network to raise $53,000 for the ALS foundation to support research for a cure to ALS. At the Boston walk kickoff event, Catherine was invited to be the keynote speaker. As Cathy’s ALS progressed, her physical activity deteriorated; but her passion for supporting compelling causes remained strong. Compassionate Care ALS (CCALS) helped with timely and easy access to appropriate equipment, and also with support and information. Cathy felt that CCALS filled a unique and critical role, and she began to think of how she might organize support for CCALS.
Cathy led a rich, loving, full life, characterized by service and giving. In the end, Cathy was able to say good-bye to those around her whom she loved most, and she passed away painlessly in her sleep. In Cathy’s memory, all of her friends and extended family are making a difference in the lives of present and future ALS patients with a gift to the CCALS capital campaign fund, to establish a “Cathy Dudley” room inside the new retreat center. Please help by donating today.