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Catherine Lynch-Sadler

October 27, 1939 - October 1, 2021

A funeral mass, officiated by Father Paul Redmond, will be held on Monday, October 4, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. at St. Thomas More Parish Church, 421 Monroe Street, Kalamazoo, MI.  Memorial contributions in honor of Catherine Lynch-Sadler’s commitment to improving the educational prospects of students from underserved communities can be made to the Eugene and Dorothy Lynch Memorial Scholarship at Penn State – Greater Allegheny.

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Catherine M. “Cathy” Lynch-Sadler, scholar, teacher, adventurer, poet, cherished wife, beloved sister, valued friend, age 81, passed away at her home in North Woods Village October 1, 2021. Cathy was born October 27, 1939, in Port Arthur, TX, to Eugene F. Lynch, Sr., and Dorothy Mary (Moriaty) Lynch. As a young child Cathy adjusted to new schools and neighborhoods in Ohio, Virginia, Delaware, and Massachusetts, until her family finally settled in Pennsylvania, where she graduated, as an honor roll student, from Mt. Lebanon High School in 1957. Cathy was a math major at Marymount College, Tarrytown NY, receiving a BA in 1961. While teaching science and math at Har Brack High School in Natrona Heights, PA, she attended Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, receiving a MEd in 1965. Striving for a more challenging role in education and acting upon a life-long love of English literature, Cathy received her MA in English from the University of Pittsburgh in 1967 and culminated her career as a student with a PhD in English from the University of Pittsburgh in 1974. She was elected to Pi Lambda Theta.

After finishing her studies at Pitt, Cathy joined the Penn State faculty, attained the rank of full professor, and labored to instill a passion for the art of writing well and a love of Jane Austen in all her students until her retirement.

An adventurer at heart, Cathy joined the AYH, where she enjoyed many years of hiking, kayaking, canoeing, cycling and leadership. Her adventures included cycling around the Lake District in the UK, hosteling in Morocco (while keeping her younger sister in check), learning enough Russian to tour the former Soviet Union alone, reforesting a fire-ravaged section of the Black Forest in Germany, and many white-water kayaking trips down the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle, PA.

In mid-life Cathy met the love of her life, David F. Sadler, former chair of the English Department at Western Michigan University. They shared an enthusiasm for the English language, Jane Austen, adventure and a love of the natural world. Cathy brought renewed joy, camaraderie and kayaking to Dave’s life. Dave, in turn, brought the pleasure of family, especially grandchildren, to brighten Cathy’s existence. Cathy and Dave traveled widely, enjoyed discussing literature at length, spent long summer days reading and walking along the beach at South Haven, and every year spent weeks sea kayaking along the rocky coast and islands of Maine.

Together Cathy and Dave read and reread their favorite books. One day as they were reading Jane Austen, Cathy failed to recognize the words, even though Jane Austen had been the subject of her PhD thesis. The diagnosis was early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Dave created daily schedules, menus and memory aids to compensate for Cathy’s short term memory loss. After it was necessary for Cathy to give up driving her cherished peacock-blue car, Dave continued to drive her to Mass each Sunday

Dave and Cathy moved to Wyndham West (Heritage Complex) in Kalamazoo when it became apparent that they would need more assistance as they aged. They continued to travel. Their last trip was a cruise to Alaska, which had been a life-long goal for Cathy. As Cathy’s mental acuity deceased, sudoku and online mah jongg replaced reading and crossword puzzles; outings to South Bend and Grand Rapids replaced international travel. Dave lovingly cared for Cathy, even when she could no longer recall his name, until he passed away on March 5, 2016, at the age of 93. Dave arranged for Cathy to continue in memory care at Amber Way, where she remained until she recently joined the caring community of North Woods Village.

Cathy’s last years were spent enjoying the aviary and, when the weather was fair, the courtyard at Amber Way. Her life was enriched by the diverse activities directed by Paige Hayes, the tender care rendered by the long-term night staff at Amber Way and favorite daytime aide, Winnie Jackson, and the musical joy and kindness of Caitlyn Bodine. Thanks to the companionship and care of long-time friend and aide, AnnaMaria Richardson, Cathy continued to enjoy outings when, even in the time of pandemic, a dental appointment could become an adventure in a park or a trip to the dermatologist meant a Starbucks latte grande.

Cathy lived much longer than predicted when she was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008. Carpe Diem was her motto, and she made the most of every day until the end. Cathy’s main strength was resilience. She used to be a brilliant wordsmith but became non-verbal; she used to be physically active (kayaking, skiing, hiking, ice skating, cycling) but lost the ability to walk; she used to be creative (lampworking, jewelry making, writing poetry, cooking and baking, painting, crocheting, and embroidering) but could barely manage a simple line drawing in the end.  However, through the progression of loss, Cathy continued to smile at those with whom she came in contact; she continued to try to make the best of a hopeless situation; and she continued to keep her faith in God and enjoyed listening to sacred music and attending Mass when AnnaMaria could arrange for her to do so. And, in keeping with the Lynch family tradition, Cathy loved and enjoyed Ice cream to the very end of her life.

Cathy’s love of cats needs to be mentioned. Although for the last 15 years she had been deprived of feline friendship, her much-loved cat companions over the course of 40 years included Yang, Fah-Jah, Ling and Susan. If there really is a “rainbow bridge” they will surely be waiting on the other side for Cathy to provide a rub behind the ears and treats.

Cathy is predeceased by her parents Eugene F. Lynch, Sr., and Dorothy M. (Moriaty) Lynch, her beloved husband, David F. Sadler, and dear stepson, Richard Sadler.

Left to take joy and comfort in her memory are brother Gene (Judy) Lynch, sister Dorothy (Stephen) Earley, nieces Erin Harnish and Stephanie Earley, nephew Patrick Lynch, grand-nieces McKenna and Danielle, and grand-nephew Brandon, as well as the Moriaty cousins: David, Gail, Anita, Tommy, and MaryAnn, cousin Michael Lynch, step-daughters Deborah (Merle) Johnson and Judy Paolucci, step-son Robert Sadler, and many true, fast friends, including the Margerum family, Lois and Jerry Gibson, Linnea Freeburg, Victor Hill and Louis Lunardini.

Although her time at North Woods Village was a short 8 weeks, Cathy’s family is forever indebted for the care, compassion and kindness extended to her by all the North Woods Village staff during her brief stay. Cathy’s loved ones are also grateful for the end-of-life care graciously extended to her by Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.