Catherine J. Batsford of Stow Massachusetts died peacefully in the evening of January 22, 2024.
Catherine was predeceased by her husband William G. Batsford. She is survived by her siblings Philip Herring, and Cynthia Herring Salvetti, her son William Batsford Jr. and his partner Rosalinda Batsford, her son David Batsford and partner Sarah Cleary, her grandchildren Sarah Batsford and her partner Ross Beyeler, Jessica Batsford and William Batsford Ill as well as her great grandchild Desmond Beyeler.
On February 2, 1932, in West Palm Beach Florida, Eugene and Nona Herring celebrated the birth of their daughter Catherine. Vocal from the start, with a notable swath of curls, the delivering doctor dubbed her a little Poochie. A nickname her southern family still lovingly call her.
Poochie spent her childhood living in Florida and Alabama. As a small child she often sat under the kitchen table, hidden beneath her mother's long home sewn tablecloth, playing with the fringe, and listening as her mom and aunts laughed, and told stories not meant for young ears. Catherine carried the importance of that jovial sisterhood with her throughout her life and shared it with the generations to come.
After being tragically hit by a truck, a significant portion of her childhood was spent in the hospital. It was during this time that Catherine, now called Kitty by her friends, developed a resilience to life's difficulties and a sense of humor through hard times.
Kitty's life profoundly changed with the discovery of reading. She was often found with her nose between the pages of a book. This paired well with her love of movies. Growing up, she read her way through her dad's crime stories and her mom's romances.
Kitty's own creative mind was commonly in use telling jokes, stories, and sometimes even making elaborate justifications for her mischievous behavior.
As a young adult in Florida, Kitty worked in retail and sang in a jazz band. It is almost impossible to overstate Kitty's love of music. There was rarely a moment where she could not be heard humming a tune, singing a song, or giggling an inappropriate limerick.
At age 20, after three dates, she married William Batsford and moved to his hometown of Stow Massachusetts, where they raised their two sons. Kitty said that she knew Bill was the one for her because he sang beautifully and spoke with love and care about his family.
As a young bride, Kitty had a habit of hiding the evidence of her burnt cooking by tossing it outside. Notable items to fly over the stone wall included pancakes, pork chops and one cooking pan with a melted spatula fused to its surface. It's safe to say cooking never became a beloved hobby of hers. She perfected several recipes however and became known for her baked beans and potato salad.
Eventually, Kitty and Bill retired back to Florida. When the day's work was done, Kitty and Bill would usually be found at the kitchen table harmonizing and laughing over a hand of playing cards. Their song of choice was If I Had My Way by James Kendis and Lou Klein. Kitty and Bill built a life and shared 68 years together.
After Bill's passing in 2020, Kitty lived with her family in Stow MA. Most mornings Kitty welcomed the day with a hot coffee and a rendition of Debbie Reynolds' Good Morning. She would sit at breakfast and instigate giggles and silliness with her 3-year-old great grandson who lovingly calls her GiGi.
Tales of crime and romance continued to fill her days. If not reading her Kindle, she was often found blowing kisses at the screen of a romcom or solving murders with Murdock (a tv detective who bore a striking resemblance to her late husband.)
Catherine spent her last days surrounded by family and music and passed peacefully two weeks before her 92nd birthday.
It is the hope of Catherine's family that readers will take a moment to sit with loved ones around the kitchen table, raise a glass (preferably a margarita), and toast to the songs, stories and laughter of a life well lived and a heart well loved.
The family will have a private burial at Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Winchendon MA. A celebration of Catherine's life will be held in June.