KATHARINE CATO BLACKFORD, 90, of Paris, passed from this life on Sunday January 24, 2010 at Paris Regional Medical Center. Starrett Funeral Home will conduct services at 3:00 p.m. Friday January 29, 2010 in their chapel, with Rev. Beverly Olsen officiating. Private interment will follow in the Mt. Tabor Cemetery.
The family will receive friends from 10:00 a.m. until noon on Friday at the funeral home.
Katharine was born January 25, 1919 in the Cato community of Lamar County, a daughter of Hubbard and Lillie Hall Cato. She was a 1937 graduate of Paris High School, then attended Paris Junior College prior to moving to Washington, DC during WWII to work for the federal government. She was privately tutored in Literature, Journalism and Professional Writing by Professor M. Edmund Spear, of Harvard University. She is a graduate of the Southeastern University of Fashion Modeling, and studied Technical Writing at White Sand Missile Range, New Mexico. She worked for the Corps of Engineers in Washington; helped set up the Arabian American Oil Project in Saudi, Arabia, as a staff member of ARAMCO; the Bituminous Coal Institute; the National Reclamation Association; the Congress of the United States (Senators Robert A. Taft, Sr, Representative Leslie C. Arends, and the U.S. House Armed Services Committee). She also served as a Space Technologist on the APOLLO Project for NASA at White Sands Missle Range in the 1960's. Following her retirement from public service she worked as a licensed Real Estate Agent in Texas, and was a Certified Herbalist with Nature's Sunshine, a marketer of natural herbs. She always said that she needed three more lifetimes to complete her projects. She enjoyed photography, computers, and loved people from all walks of life. She was a member of the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE); a former member of the Texas Press Club; a licensed Ham Radio Operator; the National Association of Retired Federal Employees, Paris Chapter, for which she served as secretary during 2003. She was a member of the Calvary United Methodist Church.
Katharine married Ralph Staggs, who preceded her in death in 1978. She later married Robert Blackford, who died in 1997.
Survivors include a brother, Melvin Cato, of Lamar Point; a sister-in-law, Catherine Cato, of Paris; numerous nieces and nephews, including Dawn Cato, of Caviness, Marcia Ashby, of Paris, Phyllis Jelusich, of Wasougal, WA, Kenny Cato, of Amite, LA, Douglas Cato, of Paris, Kathlyn Guffey, of Lamar Point, Lori Melton, of Paris, and Donna Howard, of Paris; and numerous great-nieces and great-nephews, great-great-nieces and great-great-nephews.
In lieu of usual remembrances, the family requests memorial contributions to the Calvary United Methodist Church.