Obituary of Katie May McCarthy
Loving wife of Thomas; mother of Martha (Doug), Peter (Janet) and Patrick; grandmother of Madelyn, Thomas and Peter Kirby, Hannah and Molly McCarthy, and Luke McCarthy; sister of Gail Burns (Tony), the late Byrnes Weir, Nick Weir, Bill Weir and Norah Oulahen (Paul).
Katie May was born on February 19, 1942 to Madelyn Weir (nee Byrnes) and Jack Weir (of Weir & Foulds) and was the eldest of six children. She was born just before Jack went off to war and she was four when he returned. She was a serious and dutiful child and an excellent student, selected as valedictorian for both her Loretto Abbey and her Brescia College graduations. She married Tom in 1963 at 21, and devoted her life thereafter to him and their children.
Katie May learned to ski at a young age and used to tell stories of taking the ski train to Collingwood with her father. She is the original skier in the McCarthy clan, teaching her husband and children and a few cousins for good measure, and was the moving party for many fantastic ski trips. Although she was unable to ski for many years, she left us all with a passion for the sport that is as much about family as it is about mountains and speed.
Katie May adored her father Jack and was deeply affected by his death at the young age of 62. She was great friends with her mother throughout her life, as they were cut from the same cloth in so many ways. She was particularly close with her sister Gail and had a special, nurturing relationship with her sister Norah, who was 14 years her junior.
Katie May was an accomplished board member and all-round competent organizer of people and ideas. She served as the President of the Garden Club of Toronto, the World Association of Flower Arrangers and Muskoka Lakes Golf and Country Club. Few people could match her intellect, love of learning and reading, or her talents in the kitchen. Hosting a dinner, for five or fifty, was child's play for Katie May. She was a celebrated flower arranger and won countless red ribbons including several first place wins at world shows. She could also count cards and was a formidable opponent with her dear bridge friends in Toronto and Muskoka.
Although the word was not fashionable in her time, Katie May curated her life. She was a glamorous dresser and had exceptional taste and style. She always knew the best new places to get fresh vegetables or the best book on a given topic or the best way to remove a particular laundry stain. She was a researcher and a collector of data, she was genuinely inquisitive, and she was almost always right.
Katie May was enormously proud of her children and grandchildren and taught them many things, especially about nature: birds, wildflowers, pancakes on the beach and nature walks were her favourites. She was a Muskoka girl at heart and until she became ill she knew the lakes like the back of her hand. She was most at peace there, and she welcomed many hundreds of visitors to her cottage over the years.
Katie May died peacefully on July 8, 2017, surrounded by her family at Toronto Rehab Hospital. Although she suffered from dementia, her family still recognized her core values until the very end. She was blessed with some unexpected lucidity in her final days, which was a gift and comfort to all.
We are grateful for the empathy and kindness of Dr. Ron Keren and Dr. Bachir Tazkaji; Katie May's nurses Kauthar, Mila, Joanne and Linda; and all of the exceptional staff at Toronto Rehab who gave the whole family such compassionate care. A huge thanks to Ann Skinner, Emmy Pacis and Cora Mesina who gave Katie May and Tom so much love and support.
The family will receive friends at the HUMPHREY FUNERAL HOME A.W. MILES – NEWBIGGING CHAPEL, 1403 Bayview Avenue (south of Davisville Avenue) from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, July 10th. A Mass will be celebrated at 10 o’clock on Tuesday, July 11th in OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP CHURCH, 78 Clifton Road. Following the interment at Mount Hope Cemetery, a reception will be held at Rosedale Golf Club. Donations may be made in Katie May's name to the Toronto Rehab Innovation for Dementia Design project.