Cathy J. Gillaspie
GILLASPIE, CATHY J. , 58, died Friday, July 31, 2009, of cancer, in Orlando, Florida, with friends and family at her side. Cathy was born in Oklahoma in 1950, and moved as a child to Denver, Colorado. She graduated from George Washington High School and Colorado State University where she studied elementary education. Cathy was a gifted athlete and dancer and was the state champion in the 100 yard dash and the uneven parallel bars. She was also a National Champion Quarter Midget Driver. In college she entered and won the Miss Colorado Pageant and represented Colorado in the 1971 Miss America Pageant, where she won a special talent award for her dance performance. She was selected to join the USO European tour after the pageant, and in 1973, she was a featured performer at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City where she crowned the new Miss America; Rebecca Ann King, also a state queen from Colorado. Cathy went on to perform in many show business venues including TV guest appearances, her own nightclub act, and with MGM's Las Vegas and Reno shows "Hallelujah Hollywood", opening cast, and "Hello Hollywood Hello", both at the MGM Grand Hotels. After moving to Orlando, in 1980, she opened her own "Showtime" children's dance studio which quickly became the largest children's dance school in the country with over 3,000 students. Her slogan "We build confidence and make fond memories for children." came from her heart. Nothing was more important to Cathy, than for her students to feel good about themselves and enjoy the dance. And they did! In addition to the many national dance competitions her students won, they also won the $100,000, Ed
McMahon Star Search Competition. Their success was a testament to her belief in positive reinforcement. After losing an infant son in 1981, and almost losing another in 1983, Cathy became a tireless worker and supporter of the Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital and was on the Board of Directors of the Orlando Health Foundation. For many years she supported the hospital with her "Kick for K.A.R.E." benefit program. She would be pleased if, in lieu of flowers, friends would donate to "Kick for K.A.R.E." at Showtime Dance Studio in Altamonte Springs. Cathy was married twice and had three children (all boys), one of whom died in infancy. The surviving brothers; Jon (32) and Bill (26), live in Debary, Florida. Cathy is also survived by her Mother; Joyce (Denver), and siblings; Bobby (Las Vegas), Dean (Denver), Amber (Las Vegas), and Rocky (Las Vegas). At her death she also left her beloved dogs "Miss Monroe" and "Zorro". A memorial service for Cathy is planned for Wednesday, August 5th, 2009, at 3:00 PM, at her church; Northland Church Distributed, 865 S Ronald Reagan Blvd, Longwood, FL 32750-6414, (407) 260-2357? All who knew and loved Cathy are invited to attend the service to say farewell to a truly unique woman who gave so much too so many. She was a loving mother, a gifted dancer, a true friend, a dedicated philanthropist, and a devout Christian. She was very special and will be remembered and missed by so many. God Bless You! Cathy, you are in His kingdom now. We pray for your peace and happiness forever and ever.
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Published by Orlando Sentinel from Aug. 4 to Aug. 5, 2009.
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49 Entries
Thoughts of you.
Bob Twarp
July 23, 2018
Ms. Cathy-

These words after so many years are still hard to write down. You are missed dearly but I feel you all the time especially rnow that I am in the state you use to speak about from time to time, Colorado. Right now the sun is shining so bright over the mountains- I see what you saw and feel the emotions that you might have experience while being at CSU. God and you speak to me through the mountains and beauty.... I am still grateful for the lessons you taught me. Thank you and your love will continue to shine through your students.

Love you,
Aimee Hastings
June 13, 2018
Thought of you yesterday. You are missed.
Bob Twarp
October 5, 2017
Cathy was one of the first people I met at CSU. I saw her walking down Laurel Avenue with a bow and arrows in her hands. I had a bow with arrows in my car and made an illegal U-Turn on Laurel and met her at the small archery range that used to be set up near the old entrance to the circle drive. I was completely smitten with her. Sadly, for me, the effect was not mutual.
The last time I "saw" her was during her performance in the 1973 Miss America show. I was in law school and stared at the television screen, unable to move. I thought of her many times over the intervening years and was not surprised to learn of her accomplishments and but saddened to learn of the difficulties life brought her.
Needless to say, I was devastated when I learned we had lost her--even though I am sure she never thought of me. She was a great lady and thinking of her, even today, brings a warm feeling. I was blessed to have known her even a little bit. God bless her.

Craig Kirkwood, CSU Class of 1971.
Craig Kirkwood
April 27, 2017
Thought of you today. Winter Park Christmas parade is next week.
Bob Twarp
November 27, 2016
Well, today Arnold Palmer passed away at 87, which made me think of Kick of K.A.R.E. and Cathy Gillespie. I didn't know she passed away till today. I danced at Showtime Dance Studio in Longwood from 1982 till 1993. We have so many recital photos and photos from my few years in her performance group. I didn't know about her faith in Jesus or that she attended BSF (I only started studying with this amazing organization in 2013). Though her personality shined and I also wondered why she was the way she was. Now I know it must've been Jesus light shining through her and her actions. She was radiant and I wanted to be like that too. Her studio opened my heart to dance and i love it still. It helped me overcome being shy. Well, its comforting to know I will see her again in Heaven. She left a legacy, that's something for us to think about. What will my legacy be? Will I allow Jesus to use me for something wonderful? Hmm.
Jennifer Case (maiden name Dodson)
September 25, 2016
I was blessed to get to know Cathy in 1989, when I had her son, "Billy" in my kindergarten class. Ms. Cathy was a joy to get to know that year and during my years of living in Central Florida. Her love of children and the arts was clearly obvious. I came across a note from her today and decided to see where she was. I am so sorry that I did not know sooner. Cathy's legacy will live on through her children and family members as well as her students and all of the many lives that she touched. May God continue to bless her sons and family.
Garry Smith
June 23, 2013
i just figured it out when i typed her name in for her to help me with a my first dance at my horrible i feel.
lenice palumbo
June 15, 2013
I have just discovered the news of Cathy's death. I was searching my facebook page to see if I might find a way to contact her as she has unexpectedly touched my memory a few times in the last two years. We were fellow cheerleaders in our senior year of high school and although we were not considered best friends, we were very comfortable in each others company. I will miss knowing she no longer walks this earth. But I feel very proud and honored to have known her for a brief time in her amazing journey through life. She was definitely a light that shined for many who were lucky enough to know her. My deepest condolences to all her family. She will always hold a special place in my heart and my memories. Judy York Pennetti
November 13, 2012
Mrs. Cathy, your an inspiring person! And you've showed me over the years I've been with you that I am strong enough to complete anything I put my kind too. Mark 9:23 explains it all, we miss youu so much!! Every day I dance for you, and with you in my heart<3
Jess Tarr
March 31, 2012
Teresa Baughman
March 15, 2012
Just found out about this sad event and have so many memories with my daughter at Showtime - my heartfelt thoughts sent to her family
Jackie Williams
March 14, 2012
Brittany DeStefano
February 15, 2012
I can't imagine my girls childhood without Cathy and Showtime Studios ..My girls shined under her direction and countless hearts that taught my girls not only to love dance but how to love themselves ..It is a legacy that will live on for generations to come as a legacy Cathy passed on so unselfishly spending countless hours making each child and parent feel so very special ..I know as my Bryan was Cathy's biggest fan ..I thank God we will see each other again as her ove for Jesus shined through in all she said and did Cathy You and Bryan are smiling down on all those who's lives you have forever touched and one day we will all be together again in Paradise ..To Cathy's family ..thank you for sharing such an amazing testimony of God's love ....
Teresa Baughman
November 2, 2009
I've known Miss. Cathy since i was two years old. I performed in her company for two years. She truly was a remarkable woman. She was loved, and will be missed.
August 15, 2009
I've known Miss. Cathy since i was two years old. I performed in her company for two years. She truly was a remarkable woman. She was loved, and will be missed.
August 15, 2009
So very very sad. What a great gal.
August 13, 2009
I was a dancer at Showtime from kindergarten through fifth grade (roughly 1989 through 1994) and I remember Miss Gillaspie very well. I never formally met her, but I remember her speeches from the top of the stairs backstage at the Bob Carr, before our end-of-the-year recitals. I remember her adorable opening dances with her sons. I remember her coming back out on stage for the finale...whenever I would see her come out, in person, right there in front of me, it was like seeing a celebrity in the flesh. She never knew me, but she made a huge difference in my life. She wanted to build confidence and make fond memories for children? Well, I would say her mission was accomplished--at least for me. Thank you, Miss Gillaspie...I will always remember you and I'm sure many other young women (and men) will too. My condolences to Jon, Bill, and the rest of your family.
Lauren S
August 13, 2009
It has been many years since we saw Cathy, we send out heartfelt condolences to her family. She was a wonderful person and great neighbor.
The Lipman family
Libby Lipman
August 10, 2009
My heart goes out to the Gillaspie family. Cathy was and still is an Angel to many people. She was also such a caring woman and loving mother.

My condolences especially go out to one of my best friends and Cathy's youngest born son, Bill Gillaspie. I know his mother was the most important person in his life and this is a huge loss for him.
James Harris
August 7, 2009
I meet cathy for the first time at the hospital. I was one of the techs that cared for her. The first time I saw her I new she was special. I had a big test at school coming up and Cathy was praying for me. When I went back to work she had already been sent home but I looked for her to show up so I could tell her that her prayers paid off. I am so sorry I missed you at the hospital Cathy when you came back in, but I know that you know I passed and I will miss you. Dennis
Dennis Montfort
August 6, 2009
Ms. Cathy, your smile is what comes to mind when I think of you. You were a great mentor through my critical years of development. Now as a mother with children I can truly appreciate all you did for us as children at your studio. You opened your heart, home, and life to us all. You genuinely cared for each of us. I am certain you are living the HIGH life due to the treasure you built ahead of your arrival! God loves you and so do I.
Trista Smith (Schmidt)
August 6, 2009
Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this sad time. Cathy was such a special lady and touched so many lives in a very positive way. She will be remembered with love by all who knew her.
Toni & Charlie Carroll
August 6, 2009
I was so saddened to hear of Ms Cathy's passing. Dancing at Showtime from the age of 3 to 16 holds so many wonderful memories. I had such a love for dance because of Ms Cathy and I am passing that love onto my own daughter too. Ms Cathy was an amazing woman and her dedication to the children will continue on for many years to come. God Bless you Cathy and keep on dancing!!!
Shannon (Toole) Provenzano
August 6, 2009
Thank you so much Miss Cathy for everything you and showtime taught me. I started in 1987 when my family first moved to Florida and now here at the age of 30 some of the greatest childhood memories I have is walking through those doors of showtime and just having so much fun! My thoughts are with your family during this difficult time. Heaven is a richer place now that your are there...
Danielle Downes (Pires)
August 5, 2009
We are grateful to Cathy for the amazing opportunities that were offered to our daughters, Maureen, Eileen, and Emily at Showtime. The dance, the guidance, the encouragement to live by a positive attitude have had a significant impact on each of them. After a lifetime filled with a love for dance, Maureen is now a Neo-Natal Intensive Care nurse at Winnie Palmer, working with Dr. Alexander. She took Kick for Kare to heart. We will remember Cathy with love.
Kathleen Sheeran
August 5, 2009
I was one of Mrs. Cathy's dance students. I havent seen her for years but she always held a special place in my heart. She was such a bright, loving, free-spirited, spiritual woman. I will never forget her. Everytime I saw her she always had a smile on her face. If i came in and she saw I had a bad day she would instantly change that. I miss her dearly. But now she is with our Father in heaven. I know she is. No doubt about it. R.I.P. Mrs. Cathy. I love you.
Lauren Nunez
August 5, 2009
It is hard to describe in words just how important Showtime and Cathy have been in my life. In all the time I knew her, Cathy was always cheerful, supportive, and spreading a love of dance and art. She touched so many people in her lifetime her influence is beyond measure. Her spirit will live on forever.
Kate Bonaparte (Bauder)
August 5, 2009
I will miss Cathy at BSF. Her smile, fun-loving nature and joy for the Lord were such blessings to me. I'll never forget how she rested in the peace of the Lord through her treatment. It has made a lasting mark on my life.
Lynette Stokes
August 5, 2009
Cathy,thank you for wonderful memories starting when Jennifer was 2 in Tiny Dance (now
she's 23!!) and on thru Competion years. Your
radiant smile will definitely be missed!
Teresa Atwell
August 5, 2009
I was one of Ms. Gillaspie's first dance students at Showtime in the early 80s. One of my first memories as a child was Ms. Gillaspie ....she always called me Shirley Temple because I had ringlets like Shirley Temple. She was such a great person and I admired her so much. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.

Sincerely Megan (Petrosky) Costanza
August 5, 2009
Miss Cathy was such a blessing in Grace's life. She taught with love and laughter and inspired us with the valuable lesson ..."the show must go on."
Tracy Gore
August 5, 2009
Cathy and I both opened our studios around the same time. She in the Orlando area and I just east of Tampa. I just saw Cathy in November in Hollywood, FL at yet another dance convention and was thrilled to "reconnect" once again. I was devasted in early May, when I was texting Cathy to hook up with her at Showstoppers' only to be told by one of "her dance moms" that Cathy was undergoing surgery as we spoke. Cathy was and will continue to be an inspiration to me as a dance teacher, choreographer, business woman, but most of all....a loving, devout Christian who, while praying with my daughter and I asking God for help with our ongoing health problems had no idea that she would soon be facing the fight of her life.
Cathy, I will miss you terribly, I feel blessed that the Lord let us have our visit in November and that He gave me the priviledge of being your friend. You will be sadly missed. With much love,
Kim Hall
August 4, 2009
Cathy and to your family,

To your family, we thank you for sharing Cathy with all of us, giving us photographs and memories of our times with her in each one of our relationships with her. Jon and Billy, she will always shine with you both, she was so proud of you both.

To Cathy, you are so going to be missed. Every day at Showtime, you shared your smile and your spirit.
I cannot believe you will not be there physically each day; but your spirit and smile will shine over Showtime every day through your friends, staff and dancers at Showtime and the rainbow that always seems to shine.

Twelve years of friendship, it is hard to believe; seems like just yesterday you took Jessica under your wings as your little dancer at age 3.

Now at 15, she dreams to be just like you. To own a dance studio, to be a teacher, to inspire, so many lives you have enlightened by your spirit and smile.

We shall live your legacy each day. The heavens have our Cathy, each dancer shall be enlightened by your spirit and smile as they look to the heavens knowing you are having dance class among the angels.

You will always be a part of our lives and our future. We shall see you again.

Our love,
Lanie and Dan Tarr ,
Jessica,Kevin, Thomas and Daniel
Dan & Lanie Tarr
August 4, 2009
"I'll always be greatful for the opportunity and dance instruction your studio provided for my granddaughter.We watched her grow and blossom with talent and grace...the embodiment of your mission at your studio.May God's grace and peace be with her family and friends that grieve in her passing". PF (Orl.,Fla.)
Peggy Friel
August 4, 2009
We were so sorry to hear about Cathy's passing. She was an inspiration to all. When we moved from Virginia to Florida in 1988 the 1st thing I looked for was a great dance studio that my children could continue to dance. Fortunate for us we found Showtime. Miss Cathy made us feel welcome and I ended up also working for her. We enjoyed many happy memories with Showtime and Cathy! Truly she is dancing in Heaven!

Paula Humphrey Pickwick, Tony Humphrey and Mandy Humphrey Kimmel
Paula Pickwick
August 4, 2009
"All Dancer go to Heaven" where Cathy will be dancing with the Angels. As a teacher, she touched the lives of thousands. To give of yourself to help others is the life we teachers love as we share our love of dance with others. You were taken away too soon, but your memories and teachings will live on in the lives of all that you touched. They are so blessed. We shared so many things in life, although we never met. But we will meet & dance together when it is my time to join you. May your family and friends embrace your love and memories and know that you are at peace with your God in Heaven. Thank You for all that you gave and shared with others.

Linda Caldwell, Dance Teacher
and our entire N'styl Staff
Linda Caldwell
August 4, 2009
We have lost a dear friend, one who welcomed our family with open arms when we first moved to Florida 22 years ago. . A teacher to both of our children, and ultimately, also my boss for 12 years.
While we are all so sad, we can all be certain that Heaven has a new, Beautiful, Vibrant, Dancing Angel! Thank you my friend for many years of laughter & friendship. You will be greatly missed by us all.
Much Love, Deb, Bill, Chris and Jen Garaffa
August 4, 2009
My thoughts and heart are filled with sweet memories of you. I will remember always with love. Ms. Pat
August 4, 2009
I've been many places met people all the world round. I consider myself blessed to have met, worked with and cared about Cathy. The time that I spent working for Cathy at Showtime changed me fundementally. Our experiences and the people that we build bonds with form us as human beings. I am more humble, steadfast, honest and positive because of Cathy's influence. "Above the clouds there is blue sky." This is a message that Cathy shared with me about life, people and what motivates us. Regardless of what temptest test we are moving through today the blue sky is above the storm and the sun will shine through. I will love you always Cathy and I will miss you deeply.
Denise Pare
August 4, 2009
Peace, love, and greetings from Texas. As I am visiting my granddaughters in Dallas, I was informed of Cathy's passing. I never had the occasion to meet her, but the impact she has had on my niece Gina, greatniece Lexy, and my sister Susan, have made her an important part of my heart and prayers. My prayers continue to be with all of you, her family, and the thousands of lives she has influenced. What a legacy she leaves with her heart and colors of yellow!
Elaine Adcock Monroe Ga Union Chapel United Meth Church
Elaine Adcock
August 4, 2009
What a huge impact Miss Cathy Made on my life. She made me the dancer I am today. I wanna put all my thoughts and prayers out to her. She meant everything to me. It is heartbreaking for me to know that she is no longer with us. I will never forget what a huge part of my life she was. I will never forget her.
Ashleigh Hambleton
August 4, 2009
What a blessing Cathy was to all who knew her. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel. Not only did she have a beautifully powerful impact on my life and the life of my daughter but she had an equally remarkable impact on our community. Our fond memories of Cathy and Showtime will stay with us always. With great love and admiration...always
Emily Hambleton
August 4, 2009
Miss Cathy will be remmembered and talked about by the generations of children whose lives were touched by her at Showtime. I am sure you will be dancing in Heaven Miss Cathy.
Family Casteel
August 4, 2009
May you carry the beautiful memories of your mother with you always.
We are so very sorry for your loss. Our thoughts, prayers, and hearts go out to you at this very sad time.

Ryan & Brandy Lynn Antrup
Ryan & Brandy Lynn Antrup
August 4, 2009
Several years of memories from Showtime. One of the best times of my life! Thank you Miss Cathy!
Katie Curry
August 4, 2009
You are blessed to be in heaven----my sorrow is for the future dancers of Orlando. They will have to go on without you. Thank you for all your talent and love that you have shared.
Peggy Waller
August 4, 2009
Miss Cathy was such a great role model for me during my adolescence. She was a fantastic teacher and mentor not just to me but to so many young girls. I will never forget all of my many hours at Showtime. I was so blessed to be taught by her. She will be greatly missed.
Jana Newkerk
Jana Newkerk
August 4, 2009
No bond is as great as that between a parent and child. Our deepest condolences are with you as you grieve.
Lynn Swagerman
August 4, 2009