OBITUARY

Catherine Elaine (Tracy) Dickinson

October 28, 1946August 14, 2018
Play Tribute Movie Play Tribute Movie

Catherine Elaine Tracy Dickinson was born in York, Pennsylvania on October 28, 1946, to Edward Earl Tracy, Sr. and Margaret Elinor Tracy. Her father was in the US Army and as a child Cathy and the family moved wherever he was posted. Cathy was living near Mito Japan, when her sister Rosemary “Mimi” Tracy was born. Mimi was followed by another sister Patricia in two more years. The three oldest girls shared a strong bond that lasted many years. Soon more Tracys were born to the family, Edward Earl Jr., John, Joseph, Martin and Margaret. When the younger ones were born, the older children took on duties to help their mother; they have all related stories of being encouraged, scolded, advised or helped by their oldest sister. The family eventually settled in El Paso, Texas, and Cathy attended and later graduated from the Loretto Academy, a school run by the Sisters of Loretto nuns. It was at Loretto that she met David B. Dickinson and they began dating after meeting each other as opponents in a debate competition.

Cathy first went to college in St. Louis, but later transferred to the University of Delaware to be closer to her mother’s family as the Tracy family moved to Germany. She resumed her relationship with David as he joined her at Delaware. She studied Political Science in school, but it was only after graduation that she discovered her true vocation. After she and David were married on August 24, 1968 in El Paso, she started teaching and David took a job with El Paso Natural Gas. In February 1970 they welcomed their daughter Moira. Shortly thereafter they moved to Houston, Texas so David could attend the University of Houston Law Center. In December of 1971, their son Jarad was born. Cathy worked to support the growing family and eventually became a bilingual kindergarten teacher at a small school called Pugh Elementary.

As she continued to teach, David became licensed as an attorney and they moved into the Spring Branch area, purchasing a home there. Cathy changed schools to Memorial Elementary and met wonderful friends, creating many memories over the years. Cathy’s children were enrolled in School of the Woods, a Montessori School, where she trained as well as met long-term friends and colleagues. Cathy was a passionate and dedicated kindergarten teacher who worked to not only improve her own teaching but also those around her. She offered guidance, advice and shared “war stories” with many fellow educators and friends and found a way to bring out the best in each child she taught.

As her children changed schools Cathy met and soon became a “sewing, fixing and problem solver” at the Kinkaid school. Cathy and the other Drama Mamas helped keep the high school drama to a low roar so that the various productions could run without a hitch. The teachers, staff and students all knew that they could rely on the Mamas to solve many problems.

As her children went away for college, Cathy decided she needed a challenge and wanted to be in a smaller, more family-like environment and so took a job at the St. John’s School. There again she met wonderful people to support and was especially close to her fellow kindergarten teachers. She always seemed to understand you make the best music with a trio. During this time she also completed a Master’s in Education from the University of Houston with her husband David sweetly typing all her papers while she dictated. Throughout her career she resisted moving into any job position that would detract from her daily contact and teaching of young children, her “friends.” Many of her former pupils still can recall a lesson, story, or activity they shared with her.

During her time at St. John’s she began having issues with her vision, particularly on the left side. After visiting from one specialist to another her issues with ordering and memory along with the vision problems were eventually diagnosed as Visual Variant Alzheimer’s Disease, an uncommon form of Alzheimer’s that begins in the visual cortex.

Cathy loved people, especially children, and could be your best advocate and a loving friend. She was eternally optimistic (called a “Pollyanna” by many) and could talk to anyone, whether it was an in-depth conversation with the grocery clerk or long, deep and occasionally meandering conversations with friends and loved ones. She was a bright, shiny light and will be missed.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that you consider a tax-deductible gift to School of the Woods, The St. John’s School or the Houston Public Library Foundation. If you are donating to the schools please mark your check “In memory of Catherine Dickinson”, or if you wish to donate to the Houston Public Library Foundation please send your check to their address at 510 McKinney St. Houston TX, 77002 and mark it accordingly or go to https://www.houstonlibraryfoundation.org/. Alternately please consider making a donation to a charity of your choice.

A celebration of Cathy’s life will be held at St. John’s School in the Fine Arts Annex, next to the VST Fine Arts building on Saturday, September 15th from 1-3pm.

https://www.sjs.org/page/quicklinks/campus-map--directions

Please enter Gate 9 on Alabama Rd. security will provide additional directions.

Services

  • Celebration of Life Gathering Saturday, September 15, 2018
REMEMBERING

Catherine Elaine (Tracy) Dickinson

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
Alicia Mercik

September 29, 2018

Our friendship at Loretto is one of my fondest memories. Our mothers were friends and my dear sister Sylvia became a family friend after I moved to the East Coast. I recall how happy she was with each of her children. We shared annual news letters while our kids were young. I see that her loving family has grown by generations. Im happy that Kathy is safely at rest in your hearts.
Kathy is very much miseed

Shinobu Dickinson

September 23, 2018

Jarad and I already wrote, but I still wanted to say something personal.

I remember when I met Mom and Dad for the first time, I wanted to look nice in front of them and didn't layer enough clothing on myself in the cold evening before Christmas in Tokyo. She made several good excuses and reasons to make me borrow her sweater. That was Mom. She took me for a walk to make me feel better when I visited here in Houston for the first time, and showed me many photos of Jarad's childhood to share lots of memories she had of him. On our wedding day, after I got dressed, I became nervous and had to go to the restroom, of couse I needed help but I couldn't see Jarad since he is not supposed to see me in the dress before the ceremony, Mom just came saying, don't worry, I do this all the time at school, winked, and patted me. I can't forget the scream of Mom when Jarad let me tell you we were pregnant, over the phone calling from Tokyo. Mom, you know we have many more memories together, but I want to say thank you for everything.

Jarad and Shinobu Dickinson

September 23, 2018

Mom,
What can we say that has not already been said. Even though J spent a lot of time and energy trying not to listen to you, some of it got through. We miss you. We wish you had been around to see your grandchildren grow up. We know you would be proud of them. We wish you could have read to them and taught them like you had done with so many children through the years. We will of course read all your favorite books to them. We are sorry you did not get to enjoy the life you planned with Dad, and spend your golden years together. Thank you for everything you gave us. Thank you for worrying about, cajoling, needling, teaching, instructing and especially for loving and supporting us and our family. Be sure to give whoever you meet a "Welcome friends" when you get there. We love you.

Mei Dickinson

September 23, 2018

Grammy was always a happy person. Always smiling, always laughing. One of my favorite memories of her is from when I was little, I would come home from school and we would sit on the couch together and sing songs. All Around the Mulberry Bush, Patty Cake, and the Wheels on the Bus were some of my personal favorites. She encourages me to be a generous older sister like she was. She brought so much joy, not only into my life, but many others as well.

We love you Grammy.

Sage Dickinson

September 23, 2018

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️I really did not have a lot of time to spend with Grammy but she was the best Grandmother I ever had.❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Sheila Dickinson

September 23, 2018

I was a baby when Grammy started having Alzheimer's and as far as I can remember we would visit her in her care home but I loved her very much. She was the closest grandmother I had. But I don't think she would want us to be sad or depressed over the loss of her. She isn't really gone because she is still in our hearts.❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Karin Dickinson

September 23, 2018

I have a memory from when I was little my mom was serving ice cream and Grammy,Mei and I started singing "I scream you scream we all scream for Ice cream".We were having so much fun.I will miss her very much.❤️❤️❤️❤️

Moira Dickinson

September 23, 2018

Mom gave me a card once which said, "I carried you under my heart for 9 months and carried you in it ever since." I feel in some way that I carry the best of mom with me. Her generosity, optimism, belief in the best of others, her sense of fairness, and ability to meet every child (and every person) right where they were are gifts that I aspire to have in my own life. She was an amazing, complicated, wonderfully loving woman and I'm so grateful that she was my mother. Now I carry her in my heart too.

Philip and Maurie Cannon

September 19, 2018


Cathy became an integral and important part of the Lower School team shortly after we arrived at St. John’s School in 1991. Cathy impressed us as uncommonly and perfectly suited to be a teacher. She was the Kindergarten teacher we both wish we had experienced.

In thinking about Cathy, the word that comes to mind first is fluency. Cathy’s fluency in Spanish was a metaphor for how she was in other areas. She was fluent with her students and their parents; she was fluent with her colleagues; and she was fluent in living a meaningful life. The word fluent comes from flowing; older meanings include abundance, and profusion. The definition of the fluent quality includes a smoothness, ease, or freedom. It also seems to imply grace, empathy, involvement and understanding. Cathy had all of those things, and while teaching at every opportunity, she subtly passed on those qualities to everyone with whom she interacted. All who knew Cathy benefited from that relationship, and we carry a bit of her in our brains, our hearts, and how we treat others. We miss her, but it is reassuring to know that she rests peacefully.

Mary Jo Wright

September 13, 2018

The world was a much better place because Cathy was in it❣️❣️❣️❣️ She had such a huge,loving, kind heart❣️❣️❣️ When I think of Cathy I think of her sparkling smile and precious laugh❣️❣️❣️ Cathy and David have always been the best example of true love❣️❣️❣️ She will be forever missed❣️❣️❣️ I love you, Cathy🌹

Biography

Catherine Elaine (Tracy) "Cathy" Dickinson was born in York, Pennsylvania on October 28, 1946, to Edward Earl Tracy, Sr. and Margaret Elinor Tracy. Her father was in the United States Army and as a child Cathy and the family moved wherever he was posted. Cathy was living near Mito Japan, when her sister Rosemary “Mimi” Tracy was born. Mimi was followed by another sister Patricia in two more years. The three oldest girls shared a strong bond that lasted many years. Soon more Tracys were born to the family, Edward Earl Jr., John, Joseph, Martin and Margaret. When the younger ones were born, the older children took on duties to help their mother; they have all related stories of being encouraged, scolded, advised or helped by their oldest sister. The family eventually settled in El Paso, Texas, and Cathy attended and later graduated from the Loretto Academy, a school run by the Sisters of Loretto nuns. It was at Loretto that she met David B. Dickinson and they began dating after meeting each other as opponents in a debate competition.

Cathy first went to college in St. Louis, Missouri but later transferred to the University of Delaware to be closer to her mother’s family as the Tracy family moved to Germany. She resumed her relationship with David as he joined her at Delaware. She studied Political Science in school, but it was only after graduation that she discovered her true vocation. After she and David were married on August 24, 1968 in El Paso, she started teaching and David took a job with El Paso Natural Gas. In February 1970 they welcomed their daughter Moira. Shortly thereafter they moved to Houston, Texas so David could attend the University of Houston Law Center. In December of 1971, their son Jarad was born. Cathy worked to support the growing family and eventually became a bilingual kindergarten teacher at a small school called Pugh Elementary.

As she continued to teach, David became licensed as an attorney and they moved into the Spring Branch area, purchasing a home there. Cathy changed schools to Memorial Elementary and met wonderful friends, creating many memories over the years. Cathy’s children were enrolled in School of the Woods, a Montessori School, where she trained as well as met long-term friends and colleagues. Cathy was a passionate and dedicated kindergarten teacher who worked to not only improve her own teaching but also those around her. She offered guidance, advice and shared “war stories” with many fellow educators and friends and found a way to bring out the best in each child she taught.

As her children changed schools Cathy met and soon became a “sewing, fixing and problem solver” at the Kinkaid school. Cathy and the other Drama Mamas helped keep the high school drama to a low roar so that the various productions could run without a hitch. The teachers, staff and students all knew that they could rely on the Mamas to solve many problems.

As her children went away for college, Cathy decided she needed a challenge and wanted to be in a smaller, more family-like environment and so took a job at the St. John’s School. There again she met wonderful people to support and was especially close to her fellow kindergarten teachers. She always seemed to understand you make the best music with a trio. During this time she also completed a Master’s in Education from the University of Houston with her husband David sweetly typing all her papers while she dictated. Throughout her career she resisted moving into any job position that would detract from her daily contact and teaching of young children, her “friends.” Many of her former pupils still can recall a lesson, story, or activity they shared with her.

During her time at St. John’s she began having issues with her vision, particularly on the left side. After visiting from one specialist to another her issues with ordering and memory along with the vision problems were eventually diagnosed as Visual Variant Alzheimer’s Disease, an uncommon form of Alzheimer’s that begins in the visual cortex.

Cathy loved people, especially children, and could be your best advocate and a loving friend. She was eternally optimistic (called a “Pollyanna” by many) and could talk to anyone, whether it was an in-depth conversation with the grocery clerk or long, deep and occasionally meandering conversations with friends and loved ones.

On Tuesday, August 14, 2018, Cathy passed away peacefully. She was a bright, shiny light and will be missed.