Day & Deremiah-Frye Funeral Home

4150 East Third St, Bloomington, IN


Catherine A. Smith

October 27, 1924January 2, 2019

Dr. Catherine A. Smith, distinguished faculty emerita, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Illinois, passed away January 2 at Meadowood. She was born in LaPorte, Indiana, on October 27, 1925, to H. Myron and Marie (Burgoon) Smith. Cay graduated from Bloomington High School and received her B.M. and M.M. with distinction from the I.U. School of Music. She earned her A.D. Music degree from Florida State University under the tutelage of Ernst Von Dohnanyi. She was the first woman in the U.S. to earn a doctorate in piano performance. Cay taught piano for some 40 years, most of which were at Eastern Illinois University. She also taught classes and performed piano programs around the world. She led music and art European tours. At Eastern Illinois University she received the Distinguished Faculty Award, served as chairman of the Keyboard Department and was involved in faculty governance. She served on the Faculty Senate, Council on Academic Affairs. Cay served two terms as President of the Illinois Music Teachers Association. After retiring in 1988, Cay returned to Bloomington. She served as president of the National Society of Arts and Letters and the Community Chamber Music Association. She served on the boards of the Friends of Music, the Bloomington Adult Community Center, Meals on Wheels and the Indiana State Music Association. Cay was also involved with Sigma Alpha Iota, Community Kitchen, Catholic Social Services, Friday Musicale and the St. Charles Peace and Justice Committee. She was also an avid duplicate bridge player; sometimes playing with three different groups a week. Kay is survived by her sister, Marie Mitchell and 19 nieces and nephews. Several nieces and nephews live in Bloomington: Cathy Carter, Steve Carter, Mike Carter, Sally Carter, John Carter, and Susie McGlasson. She was preceded in death by her parents; three brothers, Henry Myron Smith, Jr, Joseph Smith, and Patrick Smith; and one sister, Margaret Carter. A mass of Catholic Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 am on Tuesday, January 8, at St. Charles Borromeo Church. Visitation will be from 10:00 am to 11:00 am at the Church prior to the mass. Day & Deremiah-Frye Funeral Home, 4150 E. Third St., Bloomington, Indiana 47401 is entrusted with arrangements. Online condolences may be given to the family at www.DayDeremiahFrye.com


  • Visitation

    Tuesday, January 8, 2019

  • A Mass of Catholic Burial

    Tuesday, January 8, 2019


Catherine A. Smith

have a memory or condolence to add?

Cheryl and Mike Engber

January 8, 2019

We wanted to send our sympathy for your loss. We are former neighbors of Cay's from Greenfield Court. She was a warm and friendly person and a delightful neighbor. She will be missed.

Cheryl and Mike Engber

Alice Jayne (Morris) Swickard

January 7, 2019

I first met Catherine when I was a freshman piano major at EIU in 1954. I soon realized what a fantastic teacher she was. Her way of challenging me always to become not only a better pianist, but also a better human being was life-changing. She impacted me in ways that I have appreciated all my life. She was the consummate musician, and it was a blessing and a privilege to be her student.

Suellyn G

January 5, 2019

I have hundreds of memories of the brilliant pianist, the early feminist, the inspiring teacher, the world traveler and most importantly a good friend. She has been in my landscape since 1959. I miss her. Suellyn Lindsey Garner

Carol Stephens

January 5, 2019

Cay Smith was an important person in my childhood and a great friend of my parents, Martha and Lavern Hamand who were both on the faculty of EIU. They socialized often with Cay. She was important to me in that she was a true professional woman in a era, the 1950s and 1960s, when there weren't too many. Cay was always so elegant, talented, poised, kind, and personable. I am very thankful to have had her as a role model, though few could equal her stature. My condolences to the family.

Sheryl Rincker

January 4, 2019

During one of my freshman music classes at EIU, Dr. Smith visited. She impressed the entire class by plucking the strings of the piano to produce a melody.
In 2015, I was privileged to attend a celebration of music and memories hosted by many of Dr. Smith's former university students in honor of her birthday. At 90, she retained her stunning attractiveness, agile mind, and boundless enthusiasm for life and humanity.
What a blessing to have known her! What an empty space in our universe.

Kathreen Ryan

January 4, 2019

I met Catherine in Charleston. She accompanied me on several occasions. She was such a fine pianist, a great musician to perform with. I also found her to be a great person. She had a good sense of humor, was very generous and was a great friend. I lost touch with her after she moved to Bloomington. She will always have a special place in my heart. My condolences to her family and close ones.

Learn more about the Smith name