Obituary: Nancy Cathcart, 1950-2018 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Nancy Cathcart, 1950-2018

Published January 22, 2018 at 5:30 a.m.
Updated January 22, 2018 at 11:03 a.m.

Nancy Cathcart
  • Nancy Cathcart

On January 13, 2018, Nancy Griffith Cathcart moved on to her next adventure, leaving her legacy of love and passion with all of us.

Nancy was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., and always had a warm place in her heart for that city and the rich family memories from her youth in and around Pittsburgh and her nearby and beloved Indian Lake.

The University of Vermont brought her to Vermont in her undergraduate days, and she fell in love with Burlington, leaving only briefly for graduate school in Oregon, and then returning to Vermont for the rest of her life. Although most recently she lived in Colchester, she was and will always be a true Burlingtonian. It was nearly impossible for her to walk down Church Street without stopping for a hug and a long chat with a friend every few feet of the way.

Nancy began her career in early childhood education at Trinity College Child Care Center and then Addison County Parent Child Center. But a move to Vermont Public Television began the career that we all know her for: brilliantly and passionately fundraising and grant writing for nonprofit institutions with missions that she believed in. Nancy conducted this work for a number of other local institutions, including Trinity College and Fletcher Allen Health Care, as well as serving as chair of the board of directors at Vermont CARES. Eventually she formed her own consultancy providing financial resource development strategies for nonprofits.

The next step in her career focused on passing on this legacy to the next generation as the founder and director of Champlain College’s Center for Service and Civic Engagement. This was the role and period of time where Nancy most flourished. Working with young, intelligent and passionate students, many lifelong friendships and relationships began. Nancy later worked as VP of development and community relations at the Greater Burlington YMCA, director of development at Boys & Girls Club of Burlington, and most recently as the president and CEO of the Humane Society of Chittenden County.

Throughout this time, Nancy raised her two sons, Hunter and Sam, cheering far too loudly (in her boys’ teenage opinions) at their basketball games and always showing up anytime and anyplace in their lives to help them through hard times and to help them celebrate the good times. She was a wonderful mother and a role model in the delicate mixture of compassion combined with strength of character and self-confidence. Most importantly, she made sure that her sons knew the value of following their hearts.

She leaves behind her three siblings and her mother, Lucy, as well as her two sons, their wives, and two young grandkids, whom she was only just beginning to enjoy and spoil for what we all thought would be much more time to come in the truly perfect role for her, that of grandmother.

After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer a little over a year ago and undergoing treatment with the love, support and care of her true love and partner, Casey, she was recently feeling healed, rested, and ready to get back to a life of fun and big plans. Sadly, her cancer recurred and took her from us suddenly. But her remaining days were full of family, friends, love and light, and many conversations about how she will somehow, with the help of us all, find the window in the universe to keep looking down and touching us as she did for the magical period of time when her energy was all gathered here in one place and time.

In the true spirit of Nancy, she wished for us all to celebrate her life when the warm sun returns this summer, rather than gathering to mourn her death in the darkness of winter. You will all know when this celebration happens, and you will all be welcome to join us in fulfilling this wish.

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