Cover photo for Catharine Ann Regan's Obituary
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1932 Catharine 2024

Catharine Ann Regan

January 15, 1932 — January 10, 2024

Catharine Ann (“Cathy”) was born January 15, 1932, near her parent’s farm in Massena, New York. Two years later, following her father’s untimely death, the family moved to Canton, OH and lived with her mother’s three sisters. Cathy spent the rest of her childhood in Canton with her aunts. She played the clarinet in the youth orchestra and later in the University of Detroit Marching band, which lead to a lifelong love of classical music.

Catharine developed an interest in language and literature and earned a B.A. in English from the University of Detroit (1954), an M.A. from Marquette University (1956), and a Ph.D. form the University of Illinois, Urbana (1966). Catharine was an Associate Professor of English at Northwestern from 1966 to 1999 where she taught Old and Middle English. She authored articles on typology and orality in literature and commentary notes for the Oxford edition of John Trevisa's translation of Bartholomaeus Anglicus's De proprietatibus rerum. She also developed and taught one of the first web-based classes called History of the English Language, which influenced similar courses at many Universities.

Catharine spent most of her life in Evanston, IL and was a faithful subscriber to both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera. She attended these events with her lifelong friend, housemate, and partner in crime, Ruth McGugan, who she met the first day of graduate school. Ruth, and their mutual friend, Clyde LeBlanc, also shared a love of art. The trio took many memorable trips to art museums, churches, and cultural intuitions across the world, allowing Catharine the opportunity to research religious icons, pilgrimage, and bird imagery of the medieval period.

At the University of Detroit, Catharine was exposed to the Jesuit philosophy of life and spirituality. Her Catholic faith led her to a life of service first as a teacher and later as a family caregiver and hospice volunteer. After retirement, she nursed her sister Mary Margaret though a long illness and took up a second career as a hospice volunteer, following in her brother Jim’s footsteps. Catharine’s strong faith, expertise in death and dying from studying the Dark Ages, and dedication to her patients and their interests, made her an excellent and much appreciated volunteer.

In 2018, Catharine moved to San Diego to be closer to her family. She made great friends at her assisted living (Villa Lorena) and even learned to play blackjack and Texas hold’em. All who played with her can attest to her competitive nature but also her great sense of humor and fun.

Catharine passed away peacefully, under the attentive care of Elizabeth Hospice, on January 10, 2024. Survivors include her niece Ann Regan, nephew Michael Regan, as well as two great-nieces and a grandnephew. Her intense intelligence and tenacious spirit will be missed by all who knew her.

A Funeral mass will be held in the chapel at Holy Cross Cemetery (4470 Hilltop Dr, San Diego, CA 92102) at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 20, 2024. There will be a celebration of Catharine’s life at Villa Lorena Senior Living (14740 Via Fiesta, San Diego, CA 92127) following the services at 12:30 p.m.

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