Catherine A. McLaughlin, force of nature

September 10, 2019

Catherine A. McLaughlin, 88, of Milton passed away after a short illness Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. 

Kate, as everyone knew her, was a true force of nature. She was born Catherine King and raised in “the Meadows” of Southwest Philadelphia in the 1930s – back then, a rural area at the edge of the city, where the family kept chickens and a pig. She grew up next door to her beloved grandparents, Joseph and Catherine Anna Harper, and attended St. Raphael's Elementary School, where she was crowned May Queen in the eighth grade.

She lost her mother at 13 and fought fiercely -  and successfully - to keep her family together through her adolescence.

She met her husband, Thomas, on a rainy day outside a library in Philadelphia: She dropped a stack of books, he offered a hand, and the rest was history. They would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary next year. Together, they devotedly raised four children, Thomas, Christine, Valerie and Kathleen, in Southwest Philadelphia, later moving the family to Aldan in Delaware County. Kate doted on her six grandchildren and one great-grandson. Her enthusiasm and encouragement for them was unflagging.

Though the tragedy in her early life prevented her from finishing high school, Kate went to night school and earned her GED as an adult. She worked as the head cashier in the medical billing department at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. Later, she was the head bookkeeper for the family milk delivery business, T&K Dairies.

An avid reader and history buff, Kate was gifted with a deep intellectual curiosity. She loved old films; was a self-taught pianist, organist and accordionist; and wrote her own poetry. Her inner beauty was matched by a beautiful smile. She donated to veterans' causes and to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Kate and Thomas retired to Milton in their later years. A devout Catholic, she was active at St. Jude the Apostle Parish in nearby Lewes, where she and Thomas participated in the adoration of the Eucharist every week. In her last days, she was praying to St. Pio of Petrelcina and to St. Rita, the patron of impossible dreams.

Kate was preceded in death by her grandparents; her mother, Anna Catherine King (née Harper); her father, Edward King; and five brothers: Charles Bradley, Joseph Bradley, Edward King, William King, and Frank King. She is survived by her husband, Thomas McLaughlin; her sisters Elizabeth Camperson (John), Emma London (Jack) and Anna Feudale; her children Thomas McLaughlin (Gail), Christine Clover (Ray), Valerie McLaughlin and Kathleen Whelan (Mark); her grandchildren, John Heisler (Natalie), Kate Heisler, Christy Heisler, Aubrey Whelan, Ian Whelan and Elizabeth Whelan; her great-grandson, Ethan Heisler; and many nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, Sept. 16, at 11 a.m., at St. Jude the Apostle Church, 152 Tulip Drive, Lewes, where friends may call beginning at 10 a.m.  Interment will take place Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 11 a.m., at Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery, 1600 South Sproul Road, Springfield, Pa.  Arrangements are being handled by Parsell Funeral Homes and Crematorium, Atkins-Lodge Chapel, Lewes.

Please visit Kate’s Life Memorial Webpage and sign her online guestbook at

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