Catherine Thompson Sugg

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  • "Mrs. Slay, as I knew her, had a natural air of dignity you..."
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    - Ginger Robertson
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    - Lucy Ellen Barringer
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CHATHAM, Va. - Catherine Thompson Sugg (formerly Catherine Slay) died Friday in Chatham, Va., peacefully in her sleep, surrounded by her family. She was 94.
She was born June 27, 1917 in Graham, N.C., the daughter of Charles and Mary Ovella Thompson. She attended Greensboro College and graduated from Duke University in 1937.
She was predeceased by her sister, Elise Thompson Vest.
On Feb. 8, 1941, she married James Matthew Slay, a fellow Duke graduate, who served in the United States Marine Corps and was wounded in the battle for Peleliu, in the Pacific. They moved to Richmond, Va. in 1954, where he was vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Following his death in 1962, she was circulation librarian at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia for 10 years. She was a life-long lover of books, music, and drama and of clear, beautiful language. She had a generous heart and was a loyal friend to numerous causes and institutions.
She married Harold Gray Sugg, editorial page editor with the Roanoke Times, in 1975. Following his death in 1991, she moved to Chatham, Va., to be near the homes of two of her children.
Catherine Sugg is survived by her four children, James Matthew Slay Jr. and wife Martha of Chatham, Va., Charles Thompson Slay and wife Araceli of Guadalajara, Mexico, Elise Slay Finkner and husband Steve of Chatham, Va., and Joseph Ronald Slay and wife Martha of Richmond, Va.; stepchildren, Harold Gray Sugg Jr. and wife Hilda of Charleston, S.C., William Nesbitt Sugg and wife Raisa of Charlottesville, Va., and Elizabeth Ellen Sugg of Durham, N.C.; grandchildren, Mary Catherine Slay Claudias and husband John, James Matthew Slay III, Allyson Slay Smoak and husband Ashley, Rodolfo Slay Ramos, Christopher Aaron Abbott, Anna Finkner Lowrey and husband Peyton, Margaret Finkner Altonen and husband John, Sarah Catherine Finkner, Andrew Christian Slay, Patrick Daniel Slay, and Megan Joanna Slay; great-grandchildren, James Ashley Smoak Jr., Charles Fletcher Smoak, and Jane Elise Altonen; cousins, the Rev. Elizabeth Thompson Severance of Burlington, N.C. and Sarah Bell Thompson Williams of Moore, S.C.; nephews, Charles Thompson Vest and wife Andrea of Charlottesville and Christopher Matthew Slay and wife Monica of Ypsilanti, Mich.; and numerous grandnieces and grandnephews.
The family expresses appreciation to Joyce Mitchell, Ella Mae Cosby, and Sharon Whitehead for their loving care.
Contributions may be made in her memory to Fight SMA, 1680 Duke St., Fourth Floor (, Alexandria, VA 22314; Chatham Volunteer Fire Department; or Chatham Presbyterian Church.
There will be a memorial service for Catherine Sugg at 2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18, at Chatham Presbyterian Church. Following the service, family and friends will be received at her daughter's home.
Scott Funeral Home in Chatham is respectfully serving the Sugg family. For more info or to sign the Book of Memories, go to
Published in from Feb. 17 to Feb. 18, 2012