Today can be the day that this blog became mostly about publishing.
Yesterday, my mother-in-law, Patricia McCarthy, 81, died peacefully at home with her family at her side. Her death followed a brief illness after a fall at home on October 16.
Pat was born in Nutley, NJ, the daughter of Loretta Cloughessy Gavin and William Gavin, both of Brooklyn, NY. She grew up in Conshohocken, PA, where she attended St. Mary’s Academy. She graduated from Chestnut Hill College in 1951 with a degree in French Literature.
Pat met her husband of 53 years, Charles, when they were both working in the research department at Philco Corporation in Philadelphia. They married in 1957 and were blessed with four daughters within five years. They are Loretta van der Bie of Irvine, CA; Maggie Stoeffel of Whitefish Bay, WI; Liz McCarthy of South Orange, NJ; and Kate McCarthy of Chico, CA. In addition to her husband and daughters, Pat is survived by her four sons-in-law and eight grandchildren.
Pat and her family called many communities home during her adult life, including Ambler and Malvern, PA, Boxford, MA; Barrington, IL; Santa Ana, CA; Chagrin Falls, OH; London, England; and Palm Coast, FL. Everywhere she lived, Pat was an active member of her community and her parish, committed to social justice and service. Her home was always open to anyone who needed a place to live, whether it was a multi-year stay by a Vietnamese refugee family or brief visits from her daughters’ college friends too far from home to travel for the holidays.
An amateur historian and a crossword whiz with a remarkably broad storehouse of knowledge, Pat had a successful run as a quiz show champion on two occasions: first on NBC’s Tic-Tac-Dough in the late 1950s and then, with her daughter Liz, on Bill Cullen’s Blockbusters, in 1981. Cullen referred to Pat as the finest quiz show participant he had witnessed in his long career in that field.
Memorial services will be held at Our Divine Savior Church in Chico on Saturday, November 13, and at Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, PA, in mid-December. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Shalom Free Clinic, 1190 East First Ave., Chico, CA 95926.