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Obituary of Catherine McDonald


Catherine D. McDonald, of McGraw, New York, passed away on January 18, 2020. She was born on May 17, 1933, in Greene, N. Y., to the late James Delaney and Mary Sykora Delaney.

Catherine attended a one room school house on King Road, graduated salutatorian from Greene High School, and went on to be a maxima cum laude graduate of Union University School of Nursing to receive her RN at Albany Medical Center. She then received her BS in education at SUNY Plattsburgh, and an MS in education with graduate work at Syracuse University. She worked throughout Syracuse, Plattsburgh, and Cortland as a school nurse, school nurse teacher, hospital charge nurse, and emergency room nurse manager. She worked in the Cortland County Health Department from 1973 until her retirement, and became a public health nurse coordinator, and supervisor of public health nursing. She was always a very strong advocate for those with mental and physical challenges, and became the director of Early Intervention and prior to that, sat on a task force to develop early intervention. She was a charter member of Children with Physical Handicaps of Cortland County, she was president of the Council of Nursing Practitioners, she developed and was a charter member and president of the parents group of Rome Developmental Center, and a charter member of Cortland County youth group.

Catherine was also on the Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society, and the first female legislator and deputy mayor for the village of McGraw. She had been active in her parish of Saint Joseph’s of McGraw, and later St Mary’s of Cortland, serving on both parish councils. She continued to be active in the McGraw Historical Society and was the co-author of a book on St. Joseph’s Church.

Some of her many memberships and awards included New York State Nurses Association, New York State Teachers Association, Certificate of Accomplishment by the New York State planning Council for “furthering available services for those with disabilities and their families,” and the New York State Nurse of Distinction award. She was also on the ARC Board of Directors for Rome Developmental Center.

Her interests included hiking, snowshoeing, canoeing/kayaking music and theater, but most important to her however, was raising her children and spending time with her grandchildren. She made every moment count, supporting and encouraging them, and was an amazing mother and grandmother.

Catherine was predeceased by her husband John Paul McDonald in 1980, her son Michael Patrick McDonald, her sister Mary Wilcox, her brothers Thomas and Martin Delaney, sister-in-law Pat Delaney, brother-in-law Lindy (James) McDonald, and her nephew Thomas Delaney.

She is survived by her son John (Susan) McDonald of Bronxville, N.Y., her daughter Kathleen (John) McDonald-Dabney of Fayetteville, P.A., her grandchildren Melissa, James, and John William McDonald, and Katie Dabney, her brother James Delaney, her two sister-in-laws, Anita and Marion Delaney, a brother-in-law Roger Wilcox, as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Calling hours will be held on Friday, January 24 from 6-8pm at the Wright -Beard Funeral Home, 9 Lincoln Ave, Cortland, New York. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, January 25 at 10:30 AM at St. Mary’s Church. Interment will be announced at a later date in the spring at McGraw cemetery.

To honor her memory, contributions can be made to the American Cancer Society , Rome D. C. Chapter, NYSARC, Inc 98 Utica St., Clinton, NY 13323, or Catholic Charities.

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