Catherine J. O’Brien 97, of Pardeeville, passed away peacefully on February 27, 2020, while receiving loving care at Agrace Hospice in Fitchburg, WI.
Catherine Josephine O’Brien was born on February 19, 1923 at the family homestead, located in the rolling farmland between the village of Pardeeville and the Township of Buffalo, Wisconsin in Marquette County. Catherine was the eldest daughter of John and Joanna (Kenney) O’Brien.
Catherine graduated from Portage High School and received a two-year degree from Edgewood College in Madison. She then went on to the University of Wisconsin in Madison where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in 1946 and her Master’s Degree in Science in 1950. While pursuing her Master degree, Catherine taught at Rio High School and attended summer graduate school. Catherine taught science and other subjects to the high school children of U.S. Military families stationed overseas. Over the years, she held teaching roles at military stations in Morocco, Spain and Newfoundland. After that, Catherine became a guidance counselor at Lincoln High School in Milwaukee. In 1991, Catherine retired from her teaching career at age 68.
But of course, retirement for Catherine would prove to be an active time, with engagement continuing with her church, political affiliations, educational institutions, and community as a whole. She remained a member of the Catholic Church that her Grandfather Edward helped to build in the Township of Buffalo, St. Andrews, as well as the Catholic Churches of St. Faustina in Pardeeville and St. Mary’s in Portage.
Catherine was a frequent volunteer at the Divine Savior Hospital and Clinic in Portage and she was a very active volunteer for the Democratic Party. Catherine was also a very engaged member of the Women’s Civic League, the Portage Center for the Arts, and numerous other organizations.
Catherine is survived by many cousins, for whom she remains a role model and a shining example of a life well lived. Her parents, John and Joanna, and sister Elizabeth preceded her in death.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday, March 4 at 11 AM at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Township of Buffalo with Father Mark Miller presiding. Burial will follow at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church cemetery. Visitation will be held Tuesday, March 3 from 5 to 7 PM at Grasse Funeral Home, 119 Industrial Drive, Pardeeville and again from 10 AM until the time of service at the church Wednesday. A reception will follow at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Pardeeville. Catherine’s family expresses deep gratitude to Agrace Hospice, whose loving and attentive care helped Catherine to pass naturally and in accordance with her wishes. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to either St. Andrew’s Catholic Church or to Agrace Hospice Care would be appreciated.
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