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E. Katherine (Babe) Kavanagh

E. Katherine (Babe)  Kavanagh

Passed on: October 27th, 2017

Katherine, known affectionately to all as ‘Babe’, was the daughter of the late George and Margaret Shears of Table Head and was the last of her siblings to pass away. She had recently moved, and was happy in her new apartment, but, sadly, died peacefully in her sleep under medical care after a heart attack last Thursday.
Babe grew up in Table Head and was educated in Glace Bay and later at Normal School (teachers’ college), and later completed her degree from St. Francis Xavier University. She taught for over 35 years in Cape Breton Schools, most notably Woodill and Ashby in Sydney. She also spent one school year (1984-85) on a teaching exchange at Norquay Elementary in Vancouver where she made many friends. Babe made a lasting impression as an adored teacher, and even taught the children and grandchildren of some former students.
Babe was an avid participant in many sports: basketball, badminton, tennis, curling, skiing, swimming and golf. She was even an early adherent of yoga in Sydney. When health and mobility became an issue, she still kept up with yoga and walking. She passed this love of athletics to her children and grandchildren. Other loves included reading - especially a good mystery – travel, bridge, movie nights, and hearing how everyone’s kids were doing. She also loved her Cape Breton and Newfoundland heritage and the rich cultural traditions and natural beauty of this part of the world.
An active member of diverse communities throughout her life, Babe was at times President of the Vincent Massey Chapter of the I.O.D.E., member of the Cape Breton University Board of Governors, member of the Board of Directors for Cape Breton Community Housing and a member of the retired teachers association. Lately she has been active with Parkinson's Canada, encouraging support for the local Parkinson’s SuperWalk. She was also a founding member of United Heritage Church.
Babe’s friends were legion. Whether they were friends for 75 years, like Marge Butts, or friends for decades, like Terry McCluskey, for a year, or a simply vacation trip – age was no impediment to the gift of Babe’s friendship. Wherever she travelled, lived, or worked, their numbers grew. Be it colleagues, sports enthusiasts, card players, travelers, Florida snowbirds in St. Pete’s Beach with she and Cy, Saturday breakfasts at local churches (and occasionally the casino), those she met in her many homes from Glace Bay to Sydney to Vancouver, and of course her wonderful neighbours at Moxham Place, where she lived for the past several years. She was even making new friends in her last apartment in Parkland, Cape Breton these past few weeks.
Babe also had the joy and love that comes from being a part of an enormous extended family made up of Shears, MacLeans, MacLeods, and Kavanaghs and all their friends and relations. In many cases, she was not only and aunt or an in-law: she was also a dear friend.
Babe was predeceased by her siblings, Russell (Evelyn), Angus and Arthur Shears, and Jean (Dick) Porter; husband, Cyril Kavanagh, and in-laws, Leroy,
Madeleine, Clarence, Bud, Donnie, Louis, Bernadette, John, and stepsons, Peter Kavanagh and Dan McCurdy, also by husband, Donald MacLeod, and in-laws, Hal Norton, Norma (Doug) MacLeod.
Babe (also Mom, Grammy, and Nana) is survived by many loving children and step-children and their families (as listed together, parents first),
Isabelle (Pete) and the dogs; Ross (Beth) and Rory and Colin MacLeod; Ian (Andrea) and Miranda MacLeod; Mary and Josh McCurdy; Kathy and Jennifer, Nolan and Ava, Adam (Patrice) and Lily Martin; John (Ann) and Rhys (Sam), Eliot (Taylor) and Nella, Byron and Owen Kavanagh; Paul (Barb) Kavanagh and Melinda (Tyler) and Landon, Hunter and Declan Beckett; Doug (Chantelle) and Abel Rough, and Debi and Jane Goodwin.
She is survived, as well, by several in-laws, Evelyn and Dorothy Shears, Eileen Norton, Gladys Gorey, Earl and Joan, Al and Corrine, Tom and Denise, Kevin and Betty Anne, Joyce, and Laurencia Kavanagh, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Paul Morrison, the E.R. Staff of the Regional Hospital, and the EMT personnel who made Babe’s final hours peaceful, calm and hopeful. And the family also thanks Dr. John Archibald for his many years of care.
A final special note of thanks from all who loved Babe to Keith and Ann Shears, and to Kathy Martin for their tremendous affection, companionship, and help they gave Babe through the years, and especially in her final days.
There will be a Celebration of Life from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, November 1 at Chant’s Funeral Home, 564 Alexandra St., Sydney. There will be a private memorial service for family and close friends on Thursday, November 2.
Donations in loving memory of Katherine ‘Babe’ Kavanagh may be made to your charity of choice, such as Parkinson’s Canada, or the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Online condolences may be made by visiting www.chantfuneralhome.ca.
October 20, 1928, Glace Bay, NS - October 26, 2017, Sydney, NS
-Eighty-nine incredible years



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