Catholic 05

Catherine J. Schwab

October 25, 1932

Obituary

Catherine Joachimowski Schwab. Born October 25, 1932 in Wilmington, Delaware Catherine J. Schwab, daughter of Leon Aloysius Joachimowski and Alice Golembiewski Joachimowski, grew up in Wilmington with her brother Leon Jr.

As a young woman, Catherine—known to all as Kitty, loved performance art and was active in the theatre, both at school and church. She was awarded a full scholarship to the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Art in London, but, devoted to her family, home and faith, turned down the scholarship and remained in Wilmington where she entered the convent as a novitiate. Due to a family illness, this was not to be her path, and at the age of 27, she met and married the love of her life, Andy Schwab.   

As a young woman, Kitty fed her passion for helping others as a teacher for the physically disabled at the John G. Leach school. In her later years, she sewed custom prosthetic amendments for breast cancer survivors and was a grief counselor at a local funeral home.

When Andy and Kitty started their family, Kitty stayed home to raise their three children, master the art of homemaking, and tend to her extensive gardens and the wildlife drawn to her backyard. She crafted folk art Teddy Bears from repurposed quilts and feeds sacks with many on display at locations including the Franklin Mint and Winterthur Museum. Eventually, she and Andy became avid collectors of antique furniture.

What her children remember most about Kitty were the many hours she spent with them fishing, catching frogs and mucking about in rain puddles. She cooked nearly every meal from scratch, handmade all the Halloween costumes and did all she could to nurture the children’s creative instincts. When she finally settled down in the evenings, it was to read a novel or to spend quiet time with Andy and the kids.

But it was in her vegetable and flower gardens where you would find Kitty nearly every day. In her yard, she wooed birds to visit with countless feeders and houses, and the pollinators to feed on the seasonal blossoms. The scent of roses, peonies and lavender would stop Kitty in her in her tracks, as would any flower—known to her or new to her. Birds, particularly wrens, always brightened her smile.

Nothing was more important to Kitty than her family. She took devoted care of her mother and father as they aged, and both parents spent their final years living with Kitty and her family.

As the years passed, Kitty stayed close to her grown children and their spouses, and eventually to the grandchildren she looked forward to seeing whenever possible. Through Kitty, her grandchildren learned how to cook and sew, to appreciate the names and scents of all the roses planted in her garden, and to accept others without judgement. Even as she aged, Kitty played endless card games and lovingly read book after book to her grandchildren.

Nature, family, and faith remained Kitty’s anchors throughout her life. She will be remembered for her endless and unconditional love, her creative spirit, and her selfless desire to tend to the needs of others.

Kitty is survived by her three children, Christopher J. Schwab, Deatra S. Patterson and Eric J. Schwab, her grandchildren, Amanda Patterson, Joseph DiMartino, Thomas Crescenzi, Devin DiMartino, Erika Schwab, Wyatt Schwab, and Elijah Schwab.

Her services in St. Patrick Cemetery-Ashland will be private.

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