OBITUARY

Catherine Elaine (Tracy) Dickinson

October 28, 1946August 14, 2018
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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

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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🌹

Sue Dillport

September 1, 2018

I have fond memories of spending time with cousin Cathy when she stayed with John and Margaret at the University of Delaware. We were both political science majors of the same age attending state universities. We quickly discovered that, as disparate as our experiences had been – she the world traveler – me never leaving home in a small town before college – she of the big family – me an only child - we were kindred spirits - it’s a Glackin thing. My condolences to all her family. You are all in my prayers. Rest in peace Cathy.

Camille Springer

August 31, 2018

I am so blessed to have had Cathy in my life. We raised our kids, taught precious children, traveled, laughed and cried together. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and thank God for letting us have her. Bless you sweet friend.

Shelley Lewis

August 31, 2018

When I think of Kathy...I think of grace and dignity...even in the worst circumstances. Her positive spirit and sweet smile made it a joy to be around her and she was a blessing to all who were privileged to know her.

STEPHANIE SHELLENBERGER

August 31, 2018

Sending my sincere condolences on the loss of my cousin, Cathy. My love and prayers to the family.🙏❤

John Tracy

August 31, 2018

Cathy,
You are greatly missed. Thanks to your guidance, 30 years ago, I started teaching. Thanks to you, I had the honor (and hassles!) to teach bilingual kindergarten, like you, for 9 years.
I've met a lot of teachers in 30 years. You were simply the best teacher I ever met , hands down. I miss our talks. I miss taking you to El Rey for breakfast tacos and bacon, and singing Aretha songs with you while we drove around.
The world is a poorer place without you here.
I love you and miss you.
Your brother,
John

Nelma Scoggins

August 31, 2018

Cathy was an outstanding person. She was so kind and caring and loved her family so much. She leaves a hole in this world that cannot be filled but so many good memories are left behind.

Linda Honeyfield

August 28, 2018

We loved her for her gentle ways-
For her caring of everyone
She was a gifted teacher, an amazing sister, daughter, wife, mother and cousin. She was as lovely inside as out. She will be remembered with love.

Gayle Jones

August 26, 2018

Beautiful Cathy! I cannot even imagine the number of lives you touched. You made a difference!!

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.