Obituary of Catherine Michalski (née Tobin)
Catherine passed away peacefully at Providence Manor in Kingston on Monday, February 25, 2019, at age 98. Predeceased by her beloved husband Wacław Michalski and by her dear daughter Jadwiga Michalska. Cherished mother of Stefan (Catherine) and Andrew (Kate). Proud grandmother of Andrew (Cynthia), Antera, John-Paul, Warren (Erin), Nicholas, Virginia (Eric) and Theadora (Matthew) and great-grandmother of eleven.
Daughter of the late Patrick and Catherine Tobin and the eldest of six. Sister to brothers George, Joseph, Frank, James and Nicholas.
A life well lived is a precious gift. Catherine served with the Women’s Royal Naval Services ('Wrens') during World War II, having trained as a motorcycle dispatch rider and radio technician. She met her husband, a Polish soldier, at a dance in London, during the Blitz.
In 1958, she moved from England to Canada with her family. She obtained her teacher’s certificate in 1959, and began a long career in education, first in Toronto, later in Kingston. In 1969, she became a program consultant with the Ministry of Education. While still working full-time, she enrolled at Queen’s University, obtaining a BA, 1968, and MEd, 1974. In 1979, she was the first woman appointed Superintendent, responsible for the Sir James Whitney School, Belleville (formerly known as the Ontario School for the Deaf), where she introduced the use of sign language. In 1984, she became coordinator of all the province’s special education schools. After the passing of her husband in 1984, she permanently moved to Bethel Road, Camden East.
She officially retired in 1986 and then began volunteerism, initially leading the Diocese of Kingston’s committee to fund raise and restore St. Mary’s Cathedral. After completion, she volunteered at the Lennox and Addington County Hospital and with the Catholic Women’s League.
During her final years, she was known as “the woman who walks” on account of her daily treks with a walker down County Rd. 4 to Camden East.
Funeral Mass at St. Anthony of Padua (4116 County Road 4, Centreville) on Friday, March 8, 2019 at 11 a.m., with visitation at the church from 10-11 a.m. Interment Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto on March 11, 2019. For those desiring, memorial donations to the Lennox and Addington County General Hospital would be appreciated by the family.
Arrangements entrusted to the Paul G. Payne Funeral Home, 178 Main Street, Odessa, Ontario K0H 2H0 (613-386-7373). Please share your memories and condolences to the family at www.paynefuneralhome.com