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1932 Catherine 2022

Catherine Anne Johnson

March 30, 1932 — May 26, 2022

Catherine Anne Holmes Johnson, age 90, passed away peacefully on May 26, 2022.

Kate (known as Cathy in her earlier years), was born on March 30, 1932 to Hannah and Carroll Holmes in Hertford, North Carolina. Kate’s childhood friends and the Hertford community were dear to her. She had fond memories of playing basketball in high school and marching as chief majorette of her drill team. Kate was a proud graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was captain of her debate team.

Always an adventurous and independent young woman, she left the South to pursue a career and experience the culture of 1950's New York City. There she worked at a brokerage firm, made many lifelong friends and met her future husband. For the rest of her life she enjoyed investing in the stock market. Kate married Robert Hains Johnson (deceased, ex-husband), and they raised their four children in Princeton, New Jersey. 

Kate had a personality that was bigger than life. She could and would talk to anyone and everyone, often embarrassing her children, but just as often helping them get to know the humanity of those around us. To Kate, there were no strangers, only people that she had yet to meet and to delight with her wit and friendliness. Kate was famous for putting people at ease and making them so comfortable with her that they often shared their life story. She would always start with “When’s your birthday?” and then launch into an analysis of their personality based on their astrological sign. With her lovely Southern drawl, her warm personality and desire to truly know people, she forged wonderful, lifelong relationships. Kate was empathetic and generous and sought ways to make a positive difference in peoples’ lives.

+She was a feminist and a long-term supporter of and volunteer for Planned Parenthood. With an abundance of common sense and practical know-how, Kate worked at her children’s schools and many non-profits over the course of her life. She was a self-described ‘tomboy’ but also a Southern Belle – able to give advice on everything from how to avoid a water moccasin snake while fishing, to baking an award-winning lemon meringue pie. Kate spent many summers in Little Compton, Rhode Island, where she introduced her children to two of her favorite sports -- tennis and sailing– - and enjoyed epic family croquet matches and long walks on Brigg’s beach. Kate’s curiosity was boundless – she was an avid reader, lifelong learner and world traveler.  Although she would often travel by herself, she would always return with new friends she had made along her journey.

While raising her family she went back to school for her Masters in Counseling and provided free counseling to single mothers. She also became a substitute teacher and later became a successful real estate broker. Kate always had time for a long conversation with her family and friends, or, a willing stranger. In her later years she moved to Sandpoint, Idaho to be closer to family. Kate immediately became a part of the community by volunteering as a teacher’s aide and working with other charitable organizations. She loved the outdoors and was able to share it with her dear friend, Fritz Holz, while traveling, camping, boating and fishing. She adored her kids and being ‘Grandma Kate’ – she was always there to cheer us on, or cheer us up, or just curl up on a sofa and talk.  Kate, with her optimistic outlook, supportive nature, and comforting aura, will be missed by all of us who loved her.

Our family extends our deepest thanks to Kate’s caregivers at Luther Park who took such good care of her in her final years.

Kate is survived by her children:  Carol Johnson (and husband David Schindler and grandchildren Nicki Schindler and Alex Schindler); Bruce Johnson; Neil Johnson (and wife Rosemary and granddaughter Julianna Johnson); and Paul Johnson (and wife Sera and grandchildren Hains Johnson, Grace Johnson and Charlie Johnson). 

In lieu of flowers, Kate would have loved a donation to or

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