Catherine Walsh Harmon, age 96, passed away Tuesday, April 28, 2020, of complications from the coronavirus. She currently resided in Geneva, IL, but had been an active participant in the communities of Ottawa (IL), Utica (IL), Elburn (IL), Mt. Home (AR) and Plano (IL).
Born March 12, 1924, to John and Mary (O’Donnell) Walsh of Ottawa, IL, she dearly loved her large Irish family consisting of Mary Irene Walsh, Rita Pillion (dec.), Thomas/Bud Walsh (dec.), Marge Aubry and JoAnn Stortz. She attended St. Xavier’s Academy and graduated with the class of 1941. After high school Catherine stepped forward to fill a wartime need for teachers by working in a one room schoolhouse for the Waltham Township School. Though she never formally entered a teaching career, her love and dedication to education continued throughout her life.
Catherine married the love of her life, Donald Harmon, from Utica, on April 11, 1944 and started their life and a family in Utica. They then moved about an hour away to Elburn, IL where they continued to farm and raise children and became active in the community there. Catherine was an active member of St. Gall’s in Elburn where she served as president and other roles in the Altar & Rosary Society and as a CCD teacher. She was also active in the PTA of every school their seven children attended.
Catherine and Don moved to Arkansas where they retired from farming in 1987. During this semi-retirement Catherine worked for St. Peter’s Catholic Church as Rectory Manager. Catherine enjoyed managing a different type of household, but used her skills as a talented chef, event manager and outstanding hostess to many guests and the church staff.
The call of family brought them back to Illinois where the built a lovely home, assisted in working at Harmon Builders, and again dove in to help at the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Plano. She stayed incredibly busy with family, church and, as at every stage of their lives, offering warm hospitality to friends and family.
Throughout her life Catherine held many roles- wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, mother-in-law, and grandmother. She was well known as an amazing cook, baker and event planner. She drove tractors on the farm and planted amazing gardens. She kissed bruised knees and organized the implementation of large church events. She played a mean hand of euchre and entertained international guests at their research farm in Elburn. These are not titles on her resume, but accomplishments of a full, rich life well-lived. There are literally hundreds of family and friends who can attest to how her amazing apple pies, cinnamon rolls, hearty meals in the fields for farm crews, or lavish Christmas cookie baskets were a blessing to them. She gave food for the body and soul. Her love lives on in each of those whose lives she touched.
Her memory will be cherished and kept alive by her Children/Spouses: Greg/Mandy Harmon (Batavia,IL) Dennis/Sheila Harmon (Plano, IL), Marty/Paula Harmon (Sugar Grove, IL), Sharon/Dennis Neylon (Madison, WI) and Susan/Andre Astorga (Madison, WI) and daughter-in-law Ruth Harmon (Batavia, IL), her 12 grandchildren/spouses: Michael/Laura Harmon, Michelle/Chris Winkler, Nicole/Peter Corken, Rebecca/Jason Langlois, Sarah/Hussein Alahmadi, Erin/Aaron Balder, Robert/Sandra Harmon, Kelly/Mathew Quinn, Andrea Harmon, Samuel Neylon, Nicholas Neylon, Ashley Harmon, and 14 great grandchildren: Piper Winkler, Donald Harmon, Joshua Harmon, Ben Winkler, Riley Corken, Brady Corken, Nola Quinn, Caden Snelllar, Kelsey Corken, Molly Quinn, Cooper Losic, Sadie Losic, Zulema Harmon and Nora Alahmadi.
Catherine is preceded in death by husband Donald Harmon, daughter Colleen Rita Harmon, son Richard (Dick) Harmon, son-in-law Albert D’Ossche, and many other beloved family and friends.
A Celebration of Life mass and memorial will be scheduled later in the year as conditions allow.
In lieu of flowers or gifts please consider honoring Catherine’s memory with a donation to the following organizations: St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Plano, IL, https://www.saintmaryplano.com or Northern Illinois Food Bank, https://solvehungertoday.org/
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