Catherine Quinlan McKinney departed peacefully from this world on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at the age of 95.
“Cathy,” as she is referred to lovingly, is greatly missed by her surviving children, Tom, Sue, JC and John and her broad network of extended family and friends.
Born in Meriden, Connecticut on Sept. 7, 1925, to Harold and Della Quinlan, Cathy loved spending her summers in Madison, Connecticut with her siblings, Bud, Dorothy and Barbara. She graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania with a dental hygiene degree and became a member of Tri Delta sorority. During this time, she met the love of her life, James Curtis McKinney, of Titusville, Pennsylvania, a pilot and student at Rutgers University, who served as an aircraft mechanic in the Army. Cathy married Curtis in 1950 and settled in Titusville to raise a family. Summers were spent in Madison, her “Happy Place,” where a family home has been maintained for the past 50 years. Winter vacations commonly happened in Florida and Cathy ultimately spent winters in Stuart, Florida near family and friends. Wherever Cathy was, she regularly entertained family, friends and neighbors. Her loving heart had no bounds.
A true matriarch, Cathy led the family with compassion and unwavering stability after the tragic passing of her husband, Curtis, in 1977. This included multiple family gatherings each year, despite her children living in the far reaches of the U.S. She loved to travel and hosted family adventures abroad to Europe, Thailand, Greece, Alaska, the Caribbean and many U.S. states.
Cathy was a devout Catholic who rarely failed to miss Sunday mass. Throughout her life, she demonstrated the Christian values of generosity, kindness and compassion. She generously supported various organizations in the Titusville community including the University of Pittsburgh, the Saint Titus church and numerous others. Cathy also served on the Pennbank board of directors for many years.
Cathy was always quick to smile and welcome old friends and new acquaintances. She made people feel welcome and at ease in her presence. At rare times, when required as a parent to address bad behavior, she could render her children apologetic with a few well-placed words and a stern look.
In 1993, Cathy became one of the first members of the Beachwalk Community at Indian River Plantation on Hutchinson Island near Stuart. She forged many close relationships within the community and cherished spending her time there each year with family, friends and neighbors.
Cathy enjoyed swimming throughout her entire life and would regularly swim laps for an hour, regardless of the weather. She was also an avid tennis player in Madison and during the winter months would take the family skiing. She also enjoyed golfing, long walks with friends, reading, cooking, bridge, music, puzzles and needlepoint. Throughout her life, Cathy rarely complained, even in her final years when “getting around” was difficult. The closest she came to complaining was to say “Getting old ain’t for sissies”.
Beyond all, Cathy was a classy woman while being understated. She was a consummate host and could comfortably mingle with the upper echelon while being kind and compassionate to the less fortunate. Always well-spoken and well-dressed, she was loved by many and will be missed dearly for her charm, wit, grace and generosity. May we celebrate Cathy’s life and strive to lead our own lives with similar values and integrity.
Cathy’s surviving family members include; Tom McKinney and spouse, Judy McKinney, and their daughter, Megan, Susan Dumke and her children, Kate and Sean, JC McKinney and spouse, Donna, and their children, Lauren and James, and John McKinney and spouse, Betsy, and their daughter, Maria.
A private Mass will be held at St Joseph Catholic Church in Stuart. Additional celebrations of Cathy’s life will be held at a later time. If you wish to share a memory or condolence, please visit: Catherine McKinney Obituary - Stuart, Florida (dignitymemorial.com).