As graceful in death as she was in life, Catherine Lenore Stein passed away in Concord, Friday, July 5, 2013, lovingly attended by her children and the staff at Havenwood/Heritage Heights and Concord Hospital. By her own account, her long life was blessed and fulfilling.
The Guest Book is expired.
Catherine was born Feb. 10, 1917, in Bad Axe, Mich., and she was always proud of her heritage. Her orphaned mother, Elizabeth Winifred Morgan, travelled alone to America at age 14 from Grange, County Down, Ireland to Detroit, and earned her R.N. degree from St. Mary's Hospital in 1913. Her father, George Stephen Wagner, descended from some of the earliest settlers of Fort Pontchartrain (now Detroit). He started one of the first automobile dealerships in Michigan. After her father's death in 1928, Catherine's mother married Michael A. Mausolf, a young freighter captain on the Great Lakes. Captain Mike became a loving step-father to Catherine and her two brothers.
Catherine was an excellent student and an avid reader. As a young girl, she won the Detroit Public Library prize for reading the most books in a year. Catherine graduated from Harbor Beach High School in 1934 and enrolled in the highly regarded home economics program at Michigan State University, graduating in 1938. After graduation, she was appointed Head of the Homemaking Department at Petoskey (Michigan) High School.
Catherine's greatest ambition in life was to be a good mother. During their marriage of 53 years, Ed and Catherine had five children who were the center of their lives. They instilled in them all the important values of integrity, generosity, community service and having fun. Catherine often gathered her children around the piano and taught them songs they can still sing in harmony and rounds. She was an excellent cook and seamstress, making most of her children's clothes, including their wedding dresses. She was a faithful daughter of the Catholic Church and always generous with her time and resources, serving as a volunteer in every community where she lived.
The Steins enjoyed many adventures. In 1954, the family lived in Vienna, Austria, for a year. Everyone learned German, and they traveled all over Europe in a little VW bug. They moved to Albuquerque, N.M. in 1957 and bought an early version of a fold-out camper and took the family to many magnificent places. Everybody learned to fish, cook around the campfire and ride horseback. Then, it was on to Boston, where Catherine wholeheartedly supported Ed as an arts administrator at Boston University and at Tanglewood, where he started the Young Artists Program. She hosted many home-made suppers for the Program's students and the great musicians of the world who came to perform at Tanglewood. After their children were grown, Ed and Catherine retired to Concord, and Green Valley, Ariz.
Catherine was predeceased by her husband; and is survived by her five children, Mary Susan Leahy, Kathleen Elizabeth Stein, Ellen Clare Stein, and Edwin Eugene Stein, all of Concord; and Margaret Lenore Stein of Springfield, Mass. She also is survived by many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, cousins, nephews and nieces.
Catherine enjoyed poems and sayings and committed many to memory over the course of her long life. On July 4th, the day before she died, she recited the Gettysburg Address from memory (something none of her children can do, though she was proud that they all inherited her quick wit).
Family, friends and neighbors remember Catherine as a kind, thoughtful and generous lady, always optimistic about life. These wonderful qualities will live on through her spirit.
Published in The Concord Monitor on July 9, 2013