Cathy’s story is one of impressive education, remarkable career accomplishments, dedication to her family, deep faith in God, and selfless service to her students and her church.
Jack and Cathy Hickey-Williams
Cathy is an intelligent, educated woman who studied microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid sixties earning her PhD, when science was not the conventional career path for women. She speaks lovingly of her years at UPENN, where she met her devoted husband of forty-two years Jack and enjoyed her studies. After graduation, Cathy spent ten years as a researcher for the federal government in Washington, D.C. Although she enjoyed this work, Cathy felt compelled to trade her research careerto pursue the world of academia. While in D.C., she began teaching at the college level. Cathy enjoyed it so much that when she and Jack moved to Connecticut, she was eager to accept a position at Western Connecticut State University where she taught chemistry for the duration of her twenty-eight-year career. Cathy found this work joyous and fulfilling, teaching chemistry to aspiring nursing students and other undergraduates. While her love of chemistry led her to this work, she was most rewarded by her work with students. Jack speaks with pride of the gifts that she often received from her students in appreciation of her mentorship and the lasting friendships that she has made with her faculty colleagues.
A Loving Wife, Sister and Aunt
Cathy and Jack’s love is evident in the way that they look after each other.Their marriage is one of warmth and genrousity. Jack studied ministry at the University of Pennsylvania and, like his wife, has devoted his life to serving others. They speak to one another kindly and gently, continuously checking in with each other to make sure theyare doing okay. Throughout their marriage they have had many adventures together, from their memorable vacations to the precious time spent with their many siblings, nieces and nephews. Together they have visited Cape Cod, New Hampshire, Alaska, Ireland and the Jersey Shore.
Cathy and Jack adore their many siblings (Cathy has two sisters, Jack has five siblings) and speak with love about their many nieces and nephews. Their families are important to them, and it is clear that they are important to their family members. Cathy’s sister organized Christmas this year so the whole family would gather at Cathy and Jack’s house – complete with a pre-made dinner – to make sure they were included in the festivities. Cathy’s eyes smile as she speaks about how humbled she was by the generosity and love her family members showed as they brought the entire meal to their house and continue to visit in droves since the new year to help out.
Leading Her Life by Example
Cathy is a faith-filled person and both she and Jack are active members of Saint Rose of Lima parish in Newtown. She is a Eucharistic minister and a member of the Women’s Club and speaks warmly of the many wonderful friends she made through her involvement in the church. Over the past few months, she has received baskets full of cards from these friends showing their support. These cards mean so much to her. She and Jack consider their trip to Italy with other Saint Rose parishioners as one of the highlights of their lives. They fondly remember seeing the Pope, enjoying a beautiful party thrown for the Saint Rose group and touring the countryside.
Cathy lives her life with passion and enthusiasm and Jack jokes about the fact that she was never one to sit in front of the television. When not volunteering at church or visiting with family and friends, Cathy also enjoys hiking, being outside, and reading a good mystery book. She is not afraid to try new things and has recently taking up crocheting for the first time. Cathy leads by example: she does not observe from the sidelines, but continues to live her life with passion, vitality, generosity and fearlessness. She pauses and smiles when thinking about how blessed she is. After getting to know this incredible woman, I am sure that all who know her have been blessed in return.
Written by Regional Hospice Volunteer Debbie Bodie