Cathleen Joan Merritt, late of Pangman, SK passed away October 29, 2021 at the age of 63 years.
She was predeceased by her father Edwin Yates, mother and father-in-law Tom and Loretta Merritt and nephew Thomas Miles Merritt.
Cathy is survived by her husband Norman Merritt; her mother Ileen Yates; brothers: Joe (Marion) Yates and daughter Krista, Rod Yates (Frances Kelly), Thomas Yates (Laura Zink) and family Lyla Yates and Eleanor Yates (Lea Lamp), Jeff (Janet) Yates and family Jillian and Ari; brothers and sisters-in-law: Neil (Bonnie) Merritt and family Amber (Steve) Bewcyk and daughter Arya, Vickie Merritt (Dion Woodcock) and family Wil and Davina, Edna (Dave) Petersen and Krystal; as well as numerous cousins and friends.
What you need to know about Cathy is that she was selfless, she was kind and she was honest, almost to a fault. She would always tell you the truth, but would maybe hold back a little because she was worried she would cause hurt feelings. Her empathy for people was one of her most valued traits.
She loved working on the farm and on the land and she especially loved animals. She would give cows and calf names and she let a lucky couple of farm cats stay in the house, particularly the three legged ones and ones with frostbitten ears. Of course dogs were welcome too, even though Norman thought the dogs should live outside and be devoted to him.Another example of her love of animals was the fox family that had a den in the floor of an abandoned farm house next door. Cathy would become their personal caterer and deliver food to their door every day. Not a bad deal for the fox family.
Cathy was equally concerned for people. She was always interested in their stories and their problems. She was a great listener. Cathy loved having company and having people visit. She always made sure everyone was comfortable and fed – plying people with coffee, her amazing baking and big suppers. She never seemed to sit still or relax, always putting other people’s comfort before her own.
Cathy worked many interesting jobs over the years and was never afraid of hard work. One of her very first jobs was to babysit the local kids in Qu’Appelle. Later she worked as a waitress at a nearby restaurant in the gas station. After completing high school, she worked in a retail fabric store in Regina. While in university, she worked in the Regina General Hospital cleaning operating room instruments. One summer she worked as a camp counselor in Northern Saskatchewan.
She finished her education degree in 1981, having completed an internship at Mayfield. Her first teaching position was at Langenburg and then she took a position in Pangman in 1982. After teaching in the Pangman School she worked as a librarian at the public library in Weyburn. Following that she took more training to specialize in teaching kids with special needs and she worked in special education at the school in Ceylon. For many years, she worked as a substitute teacher in both Pangman and Weyburn schools as well as other local schools including Avonlea.
Teaching in Pangman is where she met Norman. The story was like something out of a romantic comedy. She had a flat tire and Norman happened to drive by and stopped to help her out. Que the happy ending! However the real story it turns out is they met playing cards with mutual friends. It may not be a Hollywood story but it sure is a Saskatchewan one.
Cathy and Norman married in 1985 and moved to the Merritt family farm a few years later. Cathy loved being a part of the local farming community, she became a regular volunteer with local community groups, such as the Kinettes. She also participated in community sports, like baseball and curling and of course was a dedicated MS Walk fundraiser.
Cathy raised chickens, fed pigs and cattle, she helped with calving and crops. She also had the unenviable task of bookkeeping and bill paying. Idle was never good adjective to use when describing Cathy. She cheered for the underdog, she disliked bullies, she stood up for her brothers, she stood up for animals and she stood up to injustice.
Cathy had great strength – physically, morally and emotionally. She loved to laugh and lived life to the fullest. She will never be gone because she will always live in our hearts.
A Service of Remembrance was held on Thursday, November 4, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. from RD Family Funeral Chapel, Weyburn, SK. Interment followed at the Pangman Cemetery, Pangman, SK with luncheon at the Pangman Community Centre.
For family and friends so wishing, charitable donations in memory of Cathleen may be made to Canadian Cancer Society, 1910 McIntyre Street, Regina, SK, S4P 2R3 or the MS Society of Saskatchewan, 150 Albert Street, Regina, SK, S4R 2N2 or Deep South Personal Care Home, Box 150, Pangman, SK, S0C 2C0.
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