Someone to Lean On
On Sept. 10, with her parents about to return home from a senior citizens' bus outing to Atlantic City, Catherine A. Nardella stopped by their home in Lincoln Park, N.J., to the make sure everything was in order. She knew it was their habit to have a cup of coffee as soon as they got in the door, but the electricity was temporarily out. So she went to a Dunkin' Donuts for a carafe of hot coffee, and had it waiting for them.
That's the way she was about her large Italian-American family. "Cathy always thought of others," said her sister Grace Samek. Another sister, Lavinia Wilson, said Miss Nardella "was the kind of person that just gave and didn't think she was going to get anything in return."
Miss Nardella, 40, was an insurance consultant at Aon Corp. Single, she owned her own house in Bloomfield, N.J., and was active in her local parish. She was a member of the choir and a regular lector, distinguished by her professional manner of dressing and speaking, and by a certain gentle kindness.
"Every Sunday after Mass she'd wait for this old man to come out and she'd help him walk down the steps of the church," said Msgr. William Hatcher, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 31, 2001.