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Katy Waln - June 02, 2013


Catherine Emily (O’Leary) Waln, 92, formerly of Holyoke, died June 2, 2013. Catherine “Katy” was born Sept. 28, 1920, to Daniel and Lillian (Krowl) O’Leary in Manhattan, N.Y. She was first of a family of nine children.

Catherine spent the first 25 years of her life in New York City. She met Buford “Red” M. Waln of Holyoke. Red was stationed in New York City while Catherine was working for the Department of Defense during World War II.

Upon Red’s return from overseas from the war, he and Catherine were united in marriage Aug. 23, 1944, in Holyoke. They then spent the first year together stationed in Miami, Fla., before making their home in Holyoke.

To this union, four children were born: Sandra Lee Goeken and husband David, Daniel Royce Waln and wife Teresa, Allan Merle Waln and wife Betty, and Lonna Jo Willey and husband Jerry. She raised her family in Holyoke before moving to Sterling to be closer to her daughters.

Catherine loved to sing, starting in her early childhood, and was blessed with a beautiful voice that provided enjoyment to all her entire life. She will be greatly missed not only for her songs but her smile that brightened everyone’s day. Her caring and loving nature made each child feel special.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Buford “Red” in 1971; four siblings, Delores, Lillian, Robert and Daniel; and grandchildren, Mitch and Miranda Whittaker, Christopher Smart and Tyler Waln.

Catherine is survived by two sisters, Dorothy and Maureen; two brothers, Walter and Donald; her children; 12 grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; seven great-great-grandchildren; and many relatives and friends.

Funeral services celebrating her life were held June 5 at Gerk Funeral Home with Pastor Gary Rahe officiating. Burial followed at Holyoke Cemetery.

In Katy’s words, “Bye-bye for now.”

Gerk Funeral Home was entrusted with the arrangements.