Catherine Blanchard Cleary
Cleary, Catherine Blanchard After a wonderfully active and accomplished life Catherine found peace on December 4, 2010. Born December 19, 1916, to Michael J. Cleary and Bonnie Blanchard Cleary she is preceded in death by her parents, her brother James T. Cleary and sister Betty Stehlin Gallagher. Catherine was the cherished Aunt of Richard (Cheryl) Cleary, Anne (Roger) Wills, Mary Stehlin and Michael Cleary, devoted Great-aunt to Mick, Caitlin, Kris, Maggie, James and Jack. She is also survived by loving sister in law Patricia O. Cleary. Further survived by many friends. Catherine was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School and she retired as Chairman President and CEO of First Wisconsin Trust Co. Catherine's 45 year career had many great accomplishments including being the first woman Board member of General Motors, AT&T, Kraft, First Wisconsin Corporation, Northwestern Mutual Board of Trustees and Kohler Company. She was named one of 10 leading women in big business in America by Fortune Magazine in 1973 and was inducted into the Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame in 1991. Catherine served as the last Assistant Treasurer of the United Sates in the 50's. A position that she successfully argued was unnecessary and it was abolished by President Eisenhower upon her resignation from that post. Her commitment to her community is evidenced by the 21 non profits that she worked on over the course of her life. Actively interested in healthcare Catherine served on the board of Milwaukee's Children's Hospital and was President of that board from 1957 to 1961. Other health care pursuits included work on behalf of the Visiting Nurse Association as well as serving as a trustee of The Mayo Clinic Foundation. Education was also near and dear to her heart and she served on many boards and organizations relating to education. She also taught at UWM's business school. She took on a very special leadership role, especially for women, in business, civic and philanthropic fields. No matter how busy Catherine was she always made time for family and friends. She would use that same zeal and enthusiasm that she had in her professional life and carry it to her personal life. She never missed a family gathering. Family was very important to Catherine. Her family is indebted to her for the love and leadership she provided to us all. Countless examples of her influence run through our family and we are all much better people for having had Catherine in our lives. She selflessly gave her family countless hours over the years. Whether it was at her beloved lake cottage, travelling with nieces and nephews or simply making time for a visit or a meal we all knew we could count on Aunt Katie. If leaving the world a better place than you found it is our ultimate goal Catherine achieved that goal .on many different levels. We will miss you. Thanks for the wonderful times and the great memories. A celebration of Catherine's life will be held on Monday, December 13, from 4:00-6:00 PM, at the Milwaukee Athletic Club in the Superior Room, 758 N. Broadway. Suminski Family Funeral Homes Suminski / Weiss (414) 276-5122
Published by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from Dec. 7 to Dec. 12, 2010.
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4 Entries
Thank you, Catherine, for demonstrating your great integrity, ability, and enthusiasm to so many of us who started our full-time careers at First Wisconsin Trust Company. You made possible a happy and productive work environment we gratefully recall. Your influence extended to my family, particularly our two daughters. As children they heard much about their parents' admiration for you, and not coincidentally they have grown up to be well educated and dedicated professionals.
Gil Lindemann
December 11, 2010
I only met Catherine briefly, many years ago. However she was alone as a female at the Law School at UW some 70 years ago, and served with my father William on the Wisconsin Law Review. He had many wonderful things to say about her over the years and regarded his association with her highly. And I did hear "through the grape vine" that Catherine was an active and very popular resident at St. John's on the Lake!
Erik Moeser
December 11, 2010
Thank you, Catherine, for your generosity in sharing your research in progress when my own was in progress -- your research in your post-retirement second career as a historian, your award-winning work later published and still studied by my students, who also still learn about you and the women's history that you made. Thank you also for your support at a tough time in my own second career. And thank you, too, for your wonderful support of my own Catherine, when you came to her grade school as a guest speaker! You made her day -- and on so many days, including our last day together just a year ago, you made a difference in our lives.
G.G. McBride
December 7, 2010
Ms. Cleary has been an inspiration and role model to countless people in all walks of life through her many productive years here with us. What is important is her living legacy through the lives of those she touched. She will be missed, but surely not forgotten.
Jim Grinney
December 7, 2010
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