Catherine A. Bennett
1945 - 2020
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Catherine A. Bennett (neé Wetz), 75, of Amherst MA, passed away on Monday, October 5, 2020 after a short battle with cancer.

Cathy was born to parents John and Adra Wetz on January 14, 1945 in De Kalb, IL. She was the middle daughter of three and graduated from Waterman High School in Waterman IL in 1963. She went on to graduate from Monmouth College with a B.A. in music and sociology in 1967, and a Masters degree in Music Performance from Eastern Illinois University in 1968.

She met her future husband, Paul W. Bennett, while working for the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Helena, Montana and they wed there in 1971. They soon moved to Massachusetts, where they had their only child, Timothy, in 1974.

Cathy was instrumental in the creation of Jessie's House, one of the first family homeless shelters in Massachusetts, in 1982. She directed both Jessie's House and Grace House, a residential treatment center for mothers suffering from addiction until her retirement in 2008. She received multiple awards for her service to the women and families she worked with, including the Dis-tinguished Service Award from the Western Massachusetts Substance Abuse Providers Associa-tion and the Eyes of Courage award from the Center for Human Development.

Cathy began learning piano as a young girl, playing with her sisters as they grew up, before studying music at Monmouth College and singing in the College Choir. After moving to Massa-chusetts, she directed the choir at Wesley United Methodist Church in Amherst. She was a can-tor and musician at St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church for many years before returning to Wes-ley in 2001 as director of music.

She was involved in a number of dramatic productions at St. Brigid's as a singer, musician, and composer. She was a part of Valley Light Opera productions since 1981 as a singer and rehearsal accompanist, as well as working in the costume shop. She directed the University Women's Choral Group for many years, and was a musician for many Amherst Area Gospel Choir con-certs. She enjoyed working with kids, and directed or accompanied the children's choir at Wes-ley. She played piano, organ, and harp in many local venues and thoroughly enjoyed being able to participate in such a wide range of musical endeavors.

Her faith was a cornerstone of her life. Cathy was always searching and always willing to share what she had learned along the way. She was a teacher and mentor for many, guiding people in both their musical and spiritual journeys. She had a natural talent for connecting with anyone, and was always encouraging, with a strong sense of humor, but was not afraid to say what people needed to hear. She understood people's struggles, and was always open and approachable, always willing to help and offer advice.

Cathy is survived by her son, Timothy, her two sisters, Susan Hudson and her husband John Hudson of Woodstock, IL, and Eva Maxwell and her husband, Lawrence Maxwell of Kalispell, MT, as well as her nieces and nephews and their families. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 24th at 11am via Zoom. More details will be available at the Wesley United Methodist Church website (www.wesleyfamily.org). Donations in Cathy's memory can be given to a charity of your choice, or Wesley United Methodist Church (98 N. Maple St., Hadley MA 01035). A memorial guestbook is available at www.douglassfuneral.com.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Oct. 15, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
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9 entries
October 22, 2020
Cathy, Glacier National Park, 2013
Molly Maxwell
Family
October 22, 2020
Cathy, Eva and Susan; Glacier National Park, 2013
Molly Maxwell
Family
October 22, 2020
Cathy & Tim, Glacier National Park, 2013
Molly Maxwell
October 19, 2020
So sad to hear that we have lost such a lovely person. Cathy would often come to work with the Valley Light Opera costumers on Saturdays, and we always enjoyed her company so much.
Jacqueline Haney & Mark Leibold
Friend
October 17, 2020
Cathy was a mentor and friend to me when I worked for the City of Northampton. Together she and I worked to create programming for folks experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. She was wise, brash and loving. I can hear her laugh even now. She taught me how to be accepting, compassionate and to see everyone as someone deserving of dignity. Rest in power my friend. You did good. Even though you were humble and fought praise. You made a difference.
Margaret Keller
Coworker
October 17, 2020
Cathy was our neighbor back in the mid 80s. She was friendly, funny and kind. I’m so sorry.
Sara Woodbury
Neighbor
October 16, 2020
Your were full of positive vibes. I love to come to church and hear you play the piano. I enjoyed your music ministrations. You will surely be missed. Rest in perfect peace Ms Kathy
Imma Okele
Friend
October 16, 2020
Imma Okele
Friend
October 16, 2020
Cathy and I performed many times together as far back as 1976. She welcomed me into the Wesley Methodist Church on North Pleasant Street where we played many services and continued through the years to South Maple Street in Hadley. Her musicianship was always sensitive and her sense of wonder at the glory of musical communication is what will stay with me forever. Along with her rocking sense of humor! Love you Cathy!
Sue Dunbar
Friend
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