Catherine Naculich Fitzgerald

A Life Well Lived Catherine was born on November 17, 1921 and departed this life on November 20, 2012. She was preceded in death by her loving parents: John (née Iwan) and Anna (Warshowska) Naculich, who were both born in Strilbichi, Western Ukraine, immigrated to America, married and raised their family on a farm in Girard, Pa. Catherine was also predeceased by her beloved brothers: Chuck and his wife Anna (Zulovich) Naculich, Steve Naculich, Michael and his wife Joanne (Bujnowski) Naculich, Nicholas Naculich, baby brother Nicholas Naculich, and twins: infant sister Kathrin Naculich & stillborn brother, son-in-law Bradford Phillips, and cousin Katyryna (Naculich) and her husband Les Zalisczcuk. She leaves to cherish her memory her sister Mary (Dean) Buchanan, sister-in-law Justine (Turner) Naculich, cousins Mary Zaliszcuk and Anne (Bohdan) Konecky, and brother-in-law Bill (Susan) Fitzgerald. During her marriage she was blessed with six children whom she loved and lived for: Raymond (Arbutus Marthers) Fitzgerald of Palmyra, Pa., Ronald (Mary Sandra Canavan) of Harborcreek, Linda Phillips of Erie, Edward Fitzgerald of Waterford, Karen (Joseph) Abate of Saginaw, Mich., and Patrick (Michele Draskiewicz) Fitzgerald of Erie, Pa. She also leaves a host of grandchildren including step grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives and friends whom she loved and loved her. She was a devoted Mother, a true friend, a dedicated volunteer, an avid gardener who was happy to share the fruits of her labors, and during retirement a frequent traveler and talented ceramic painter. She took pride in her home and gardens. She worked throughout her life in a variety of occupations, most notably caretaker to St. Patrick's Church, and Avon sales representative receiving recognition for outstanding sales and honored as a President's Club member. She retired from F. W. Woolworth Co. She was an active member of St. Patrick's Parish through the Ave Maria Society, Care and Concern, the former St. Patrick's and Lake Front Senior Citizens groups. She also served on the boards of these organizations. During retirement she was very active at the Erie Center on Health & Aging (aka Lifeworks) where she became an accomplished ceramic painter and volunteered countless hours keeping the ceramics room organized and firing the kiln. She was a member of the Breakfast Bunch Walkers, Tai Chi Group, and was often featured as the face of Erie senior citizens in news stories, illustrations, and commercials. In addition to St. Patrick's, she was also welcomed as a member of St. George's Parish and her family thanks Fr. Mike and parishioners of both parishes who visited her while homebound in her final years. They are also grateful for the wonderful care she received through the LIFE-NWPA program and BrightStar ShareCare Home which made it possible for the family to honor Catherine's wish NOT to spend her final years in a nursing facility, but rather to remain home. In her final weeks the palliative care provided by Great Lakes Hospice brought immeasurable comfort to her and support to her family. Finally, while the number of people who cared for and comforted Catherine during her final years were numerous and the family appreciates each and every one, Mike Mason, RN, Amanda Bender, CNA, and Alunda Smith, LPN of BrightStar Care each went over and above in their care for her and are along with Anna Harper and Charlotte Swackhamer consider part of "Grandma's" family. Karen Abate would also like to acknowledge the love and support she received from husband Joe, son Corey, and in-laws Joe and Dorothy Abate who made it possible to "walk her Mother home" during her final years. Friends are invited to call on Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. at Brugger Funeral Homes & Crematory, 1595 West 38th Street at Greengarden Boulevard. Services will be held there on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. followed by a Funeral Mass at St. George Church at 2 p.m. Burial will follow at Mary Queen of Peace Cemetery. Condolences and photos may be added at

Funeral Home

Brugger Funeral Homes & Crematory
1595 West 38TH St. Erie, PA 16508

Published in the Erie Times-News on Nov. 22, 2012