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April 26, 2013

Catherine Louise Kaufmann Harwood White

Catherine Louise Kaufmann Harwood White

CORNELL HOLLOW — Catherine Louise Kaufmann Harwood White, 89, of Cornell Hollow, Schoharie County, departed this world on Dec. 15, 2012, to be with her beloved Lord.

Catherine was born May 3, 1923, in Oneonta, to William and Florence (Cornell) Kaufmann. She graduated from Stamford Central School, Class of 1940, and then went to comptometer school in Albany, where she worked for Bell Telephone Company.

When World War II broke out, Catherine enlisted in the United States Marines Corps. She was sent to Camp LeJeune, N.C., for basic training, where she was chosen to receive the Bulldog Award. She was assigned to duty in Philadelphia, where she chauffeured the “Brass,” including Douglass MacArthur and Admirals Halsay and Nimitz. She was squad leader and rose to the rank of lieutenant.

At the end of the war she met returning Marine Hubert Harwood who had fought his way from Guadalcanal to Okinawa with the 1st Marine Division. They were married in uniform at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and returned to the farm in Cornell Hollow.

Blessed with two children, Susan and John, Catherine continued to work throughout her life. She was a corrections officer at the Bedford Women’s Correctional Institution, and Director of Christian Education at the Bedford Presbyterian Church, Westchester County.

She was assistant administrator at the Community Hospital in Stamford. She was also employed at Scotch Valley, Stamford Central School, and at the Cyr Center.

She became an administrator at the Schoharie County Office for the Aging and was a delegate to two Washington conferences on Aging during the George H. W. Bush administration. She became ombudsman, overseeing conditions for care of the rural elderly, and advocating for their rights. She was instrumental in bringing the Meals on Wheels program to Schoharie County.

Catherine had an intense love of the environment. With her small group of “tree huggers” she helped form VECCA to promote awareness of environmental issues, which later evolved into her association with the Schoharie County Land Trust.

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