Catherine Theresa McMahon, known to friends as Kitty, passed away of natural causes just weeks after celebrating her 97th birthday. Her family and friends were fortunate to have had the love and friendship of such a smart, energetic, and remarkable woman for so many years.
Kitty was born in New York on April 5, 1922, the third child of Patrick & Ellen Trainor. She moved to her San Lorenzo home more than 65 years ago, the only house she and her husband lived in after moving from NY to California.
Kitty met Jerry McMahon in front of a neighborhood candy store in the Bronx. They were engaged in December 1941, just before Jerry joined the Marine Corps. Kitty worked in a defense plant assembling and soldering radios for the Army during the war – she was a real life “Rosie the Riveter.” Since Jerry was wounded while serving and brought back to the states for surgery and to heal, they planned their wedding while Jerry was still in the hospital. Eventually the Marine Corps gave Jerry a weekend leave from the hospital, and they were married in January of 1945.
Kitty was a stay-at-home mom for her nine children. As one could imagine, she had her hands full managing the household. But once her kids were in school, she took a part-time job as a receptionist and telephone operator at a local insurance company. When the job ended, she enrolled in a series of classes: upholstery, sewing, quilting, know your car for women, furniture refinishing, exercise classes and tap dancing, to name a few. Kitty also learned how to crochet purses and hand bags out of the multicolored plastic grocery bags. One was the envy of her friends if they had a “Kitty original.” She was even affectionately given the name “Bag Lady Extraordinaire.” When she wasn’t active with her arts and crafts, she was involved in church clubs, including the Columbian Ladies and St. Gerard’s Women’s club (holding officer roles), and helped with the annual church festival. She also spent time tending her vegetable garden and her flowers (she loved roses and irises) and traveling the world. Kitty and Jerry traveled often, cruising at least once a year with large groups of friends: to Hawaii, Alaska, Europe, and the Caribbean. Some of Kitty’s adventures included riding donkeys in a polo match in Mexico, riding a camel in Egypt to see the pyramids, shaking hands with a kangaroo in Australia, and walking the Great Wall of China. All in all, she and Jerry traveled to over 35 countries.
Kitty will lovingly be remembered in so many ways. She was deeply religious, strong and courageous – someone to be admired. She had a wonderful sense of humor and a laugh that was contagious. She put her family and friends first, always there to offer love and support. She was proud of her kids, grand kids, and great grand kids. She loved to garden and made delicious raspberry and plum jam from the fruit trees in her backyard. She enjoyed making handmade birthday and anniversary cards for family and friends. She enjoyed live theater, even volunteering as an usher for the Hayward Little Theater. She was a great dancer and enjoyed the big band music and barbershop quartet harmony. She was never without a warm smile and a great sense of humor – she was one special lady.
Kitty was preceded in death by Jerry, her husband of 63 years, and her eldest daughter, Kathy. She is survived by Brian, Peter, Vincent, Bob, Terry, Larry, Mary Ellen and Dot; their respective spouses; her 21 grand kids, 18 great grand kids and 2 more great grand kids on the way.
Kitty will be greatly missed by her family and friends, who are thankful to have had her presence in their lives for so long and will look back fondly on their memories with her. Kitty will very much appreciate the sounds of laughter and fellowship as we gather to celebrate her life.
Visitation for Kitty will be 4 pm to 8 pm on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at Grissom’s Chapel & Mortuary, 267 E. Lewelling Blvd., San Lorenzo. The vigil service begins at 7 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 am on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at St. John’s Catholic Church, 264 E. Lewelling Blvd., San Lorenzo. Kitty will be laid to rest with her beloved husband, Jerry, at San Joaquin National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations be made to your favorite charities.
The family extends heartfelt thanks to their Mother’s home care professional, who became like family, and the hospice team.