PEORIA - Catherine Ann Parsons, 76, of Peoria passed away at 7:58 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, at Heartland Healthcare Manor of Peoria.
Cathy was born on July 23, 1935, in Murphysboro, Ill., to Thomas and Clarabelle Logan. She married Richard H. Parsons on Aug. 9, 1958, in Peoria. He survives.
She also is survived by three adoring children, Karen (Tom) Voss of Dunlap, Anne (Greg) Muren of O'Fallon, Ill., and A. Richard Parsons II of Leesburg, Va.; eight loving grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter. She also is survived by three siblings, Thomas, Martha and Mary Jane.
Cathy spent most of her adult life as a homemaker and later, after finding her nest empty, worked as an executive of Bankers Title Company LTD., and later as a Realtor before retiring.
She was very active in Peoria's Irish/American community, serving as a founding member of the St. Patrick's Society of Peoria, of which she also was a life member. She, along with a handful of others, working out of her husband's law office, labored long, hard hours to make the very first St. Patrick's Day Parade (of the modern era) a huge success. This work led to what is now one of the most important dates on the Peoria area list of community events.
Her untiring devotion and work on behalf of Peoria's Irish-American community has received much praise and appreciation from her peers.
Cathy was a co-founder and first president of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. She also was active in the alumni association of her college sorority, Pi Beta Phi, serving a term as president in the 1980s. She also found time to be elected president of the Junction Oaks Condominium Organization.
Not only did she serve as den mother of her son's Cub Scout pack, but she also served on the board of the Kickapoo Council of the Girl Scouts of America. Earlier she served on the board of the Peoria Art Guild.
During WWII and the Korean War, Cathy's father, an engineer with Caterpillar Tractor Co. and a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, was called into active duty. He decided to have his family travel with him (when possible), which resulted in a very peripatetic existence for Cathy during her pre-college school years, including a stint at Germany's Heidelberg High School in the early 1950s. The family returned to Peoria for Cathy's last two years of school.
She enrolled at Peoria High School, from which she graduated in 1954. She then attended Bradley University, where she met her future husband.
They were both active in Greek Life at Bradley. She was pinned (engaged) in 1957 and one of her fondest memories was being serenaded by the brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon amid her sorority sisters to the strains of the "Sig Ep Sweetheart" song while the blazing heart of Sigma Phi Epsilon burned in the yard of her sorority house.
In the spring semester of 1958, she was elected Queen of Hearts and presided as Queen at the annual Queen of Hearts Ball at Mount Hawley Country Club.
She graduated from Bradley University with a B.S. degree with honors in 1958.
She and her husband were long and active members of Mount Hawley Country Club. They also belonged to the Union League Club of Chicago, the Creve Coeur Club, the IVY Club and the University Club of Peoria.
Cathy was a devout Catholic and a member of Peoria's Sacred Heart Parish. She loved her church and the Franciscan Friars, who remained an inspiration to her up to and including her final days on earth.
A private celebration of her life will be held at a later date at Sacred Heart Church. Cremation rites have been accorded.
Wright and Salmon Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to the Sacred Heart Church lunch program.
Tributes and condolences may be submitted to www.wrightandsalmon.com.
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