Catherine D. White

Catherine D. White

Catherine D. White

KNOX — Catherine D. White liked to cross stitch.

“She could see that details well done are how you make something,” said her husband of almost 35 years, Eric White. “She wasn’t about getting the big applause. She could see success is a function of lots of details well done.”

A religious woman, Mrs. White was a caring mother, a supportive wife, and a good and steady friend, her husband said.

She died at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany surrounded by her loving family on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, following a long and courageous battle with cancer. She was 55.

She was born near Jacksonville, Florida in 1964, when her father was in the Navy. Her family sees a theme of water throughout her life. She was born at Beaches Hospital and as a girl loved family vacations at Pine Lake in the Adirondacks.

As she grew to womanhood, her husband said, her favorite pastimes included swimming and kayaking or just walking along a creek or looking out at lake water. “It brought her both joy and peace,” he said.

Her mother, Judy Shearer, said the family’s nickname for her was “Sissy Sunshine.” Mrs. Shearer said, “She knew how to smile and make people happy.”

Of the Shearer siblings, her father, Doug Shearer, said, “She was the pivot point of the family … She just never failed.”

And, her father said, she rarely got flustered. He recalled how she was driving home one night on busy Western Avenue in Guilderland in his pickup truck from her job at McDonald’s when the truck’s headlights went out.

“There were no cell phones in those days,” her father said. “She got help on the road.” His daughter never made a fuss, Mr. Shearer said; she just got the job done.

“She knew how to handle life,” Mrs. Shearer agreed. And, Mr. Shearer said, helping her siblings solve problems lasted her whole life long. “They’d call Catherine before us,” he said.

After she graduated from Voorheesville’s high school, she went to the State University of New York at Geneseo. Eric White was a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. They met through a mutual friend.

After they married on June 1, 1985, she moved with her husband to Arlington, Virginia to support his career, and finished her own degree, a bachelor of arts in finance, at Marymount University.

The Whites returned to the Capital District in 1992, first living in Guilderland Center and then building their house in Knox and moving to the Hilltowns in 2002.

Mrs. White dedicated her life to raising and nurturing their three children — David, Christopher, and Jodi. “She was just always supportive and caring, taking care of the kids and developing them,” her husband said. “She put her career on hold to be a full-time mom.”

Mrs. White helped her children learn to read and would sing them. She also taught them a love of the outdoors. When her children were students at rural Berne-Knox-Westerlo, “she was constantly shuttling kids,” said her husband, from one activity to another. “She was as good a mom as anyone could be.”

“My mom was an amazing woman who taught me to always look on the bright side, never stop laughing, and always find a reason to smile,” her 24-year-old daughter, Jodi Moller, wrote in a tribute.

“She was someone who liked to work in the background but see things succeed,” her husband said. “She was shy and gentle with a lovely smile. My heart always goes to her smile.”

Mrs. White stayed active in various community activities including the altar guild and vestry over the years at both Christ Church Duanesburg and more recently, St. Boniface in Guilderland.

“She felt that was really important for her and the kids — to be close to Christ and God,” her husband said. She felt their children learned about giving from the church. “A church doesn’t run itself,” Mr. White went on. “Someone has to clean the church,” he said, noting that was a chore for which his wife would volunteer.

No task was beneath her if it helped the greater good. At Christmas time, she would ring a bell to raise funds for the Salvation Army. She was a sports volunteer at BKW, and helped with coaching youth soccer, and with Girl Scouts, too.

Over the years, she worked in various bookkeeping, accounting, and office roles — at Angiodynamics, Sears, and The College of Saint Rose. She worked, too, on Thursdays, getting The Altamont Enterprise into the hands of its readers. “She was an absolutely beautiful person — thoughtful, conscientious,” said Publisher Emeritus James E. Gardner.

Two years ago, Mrs. White was diagnosed with lung cancer. “She’s been fighting cancer for two years,” said her husband. “There was a ton of pain. She kept a really good mindset. It taught us all a lot.” Even through her pain and approaching death, he said, “She showed what inner strength really is, always finding a way to smile, think of others first, and show she cared.”

“Even when she knew she was dying,” her daughter wrote, “she said to me that us knowing was a blessing. A blessing that we could spend a little more time together. A blessing that we had time to get our family together. A blessing to have time to say our goodbyes.

“To say the cancer won would imply that she stopped fighting and that would not give my mom the credit she deserves. My mom fought so hard over the last couple years and continued to fight all the way till the very end. Although we lost her a little sooner than we expected, I will find comfort knowing that she is finally out of pain and able to be in peace.

“So while I may no longer have my best friend by my side physically, I know that I will forever carry a piece of her in my heart. I lost my mom but I gained a beautiful guardian angel.”

****

Catherine D. (née Shearer) White is survived by her husband, Eric; their three children David White and his wife, Victoria, of Longmont, Colorado, Christopher White of Grand Island, New York, and Jodi  Moller and her husband, Wyatt, also of Knox; by her parents, Doug and Judy Shearer of Florida; by her sister Laura Senecal and her husband, John; by her brothers Wayne Shearer and his wife, Eliz, Andrew Shearer and his wife, Melissa, and Matt Shearer and his wife, Kathy; by her sister-in-law, Kathy Norton and her husband, Tim; by her brother-in-law, Randy White and his wife, Peg; and by several nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, and uncles, and many friends.

Calling hours will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 12, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Fredendall Funeral Home at 199 Main Street in Altamont. A memorial service will be held at St. Boniface Episcopal Church in Guilderland on Thursday, Feb. 13, at 11 a.m.

Memorial messages may be left at www.altamontenterprise.com/milestones.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Boniface Episcopal Church, 5148 Western Ave., Guilderland, NY 12084.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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