Catherine Corrinne Reid Bedecarre
Nov. 1, 1926 – July 13, 2011
Resident of Concord
Catherine Corrinne Reid Bedecarre passed away peacefully July 13 surrounded by her husband, children, sister, brother-in-law and grandchildren following an extended illness. Her “million dollar smile”, unfailing optimism and deep faith were with her until the end.
She was an award-winning fourth grade teacher in the Oakley Union Elementary School District for 20 years and then educated and mentored teaching credential candidates at St. Mary’s College for another 10 years with her husband John, also a retired school teacher. Prior to entering teaching she was a homemaker raising six children, entrepreneur starting her own business greeting newcomers to Concord and surrounding cities and small businesswoman running Park & Shop Cleaners while John went back to school for his teaching credential.
Cathy is survived by her wonderful husband and partner of nearly 63 years, John Bedecarre, her beloved younger sister Eleanor Ann Hastings with whom she spoke nearly every day of her life and her husband William Hastings and her brother-in-law Neal Remnant. Cathy and John had six children and 17 grandchildren: John Jay Bedecarre and children Jason, Justin, Juliene, Jared; Catherine Diane Bedecarre (Henry White) and children Lydia, Andy; Corrinne Marie Bedecarre and children Dorothy, Patrick, Ellen; Thomas Hamilton Bedecarre (Maggie) and children Madeline, Kathryn (Uni Hodelin), John; William Clark Bedecarre (Nancy) and children Claire, Ella, Grace; Albert Pierre Bedecarre (Claire Ernst) and children Sophie, Alden. She was so looking forward to her oldest grandson Jason getting married this summer and her oldest granddaughter Dorothy next June. “Aunt Caka” is also survived by 13 adoring nieces and nephews plus cousins, friends and colleagues.
She was predeceased by her parents Lemuel Albert Reid and Winifred Sloyan Reid, her brother Walter Raney Reid and his wife Alice Reid, her sister Mamie Reid Miller and her husband Stephen Miller, her father- and mother-in-law John and Dorothy Bedecarre, her sister-in-law Barbara Bedecarre Remnant and her daughter-in-law Jill Cogan Bedecarre.
She was born in Memphis, TN, the third of four children. As a young child her father was transferred to California by the Ford Motor Co. and the family settled in the Bay Area. She attended School of the Madeline, Holy Names High School in Oakland and UC Berkeley, where she was the Cal Gal columnist for the Oakland Tribune. At Cal she was city editor of the Daily Cal newspaper, 1948 senior class secretary, member of Mortar Board, vice president Prytanean, Theta Sigma Phi and Delta Zeta sorority. She became a lifelong Golden Bear and there met her future husband John, a returning G.I. from San Francisco who also worked on the Daily Cal. As was her nature, Cathy arranged to sit next to John at a Daily Cal dinner dance at the Claremont Hotel. Their first date was at an Oakland Oaks minor league baseball game.
They were married in 1948 at St. Jerome’s Catholic Church in Berkeley and began their married life in San Francisco. They moved to Orinda a few years later and then to Concord where they opened a laundry and dry cleaning business in the new Park & Shop Center in 1955. They have resided in Concord ever since.
Cathy and John started The Greeters business in the 1960s as the population of Concord exploded. She eventually followed him to get her teaching credential at Cal State Hayward and secured a job teaching English as a second languor to Spanish-speaking students, primarily the children of farm workers, in Oakley. It was a surprise to all when she applied for that position since her family wasn’t aware of her ability to speak Spanish. As always, she said, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Before retiring from Oakland she was recipient of the WHO Award, Oakley Teacher of the Year and Outstanding Elementary School Teacher State of California. Education was her passion and vocation. She treasured attending graduations from preschool through college and was so proud of the numerous degrees earned by her children, grandchildren and students.
Her family and church were always at the center of her universe. The family belonged to Queen of All Saints Parish in Concord for many years before John and Cathy moved to their current Concord home in 1973 and joined a young St. Agnes Church Parish. She was the long-time head of the St. Agnes Christian Service Committee, Social Justice Committee and helped John edit the Herald newspaper.
The couple was deeply interested in politics and government. They registered hundreds, if not thousands, of voters and volunteered on many campaigns. She took her oldest son Jay to the Martinez train station for a 1960 whistle stop by John F. Kennedy even though her husband was campaigning for Richard Nixon. Eventually John “came around” and they were ardent Democrats for four decades.
After their first date Cathy became aware of John’s love of baseball. They became San Francisco Giants season ticket holders with their youngest son Al when Pac Bell Park opened in 2000. They celebrated like no other when the Giants won the World Series last fall. They also loved their Cal Bears.
Cathy and John were leaders of the Mt. Diablo Genealogical Society and traveled the country and world in quest of more information on their family ancestry while helping so many others do the same. She was especially proud of her Southern heritage and maintained contact with her relatives there.
The family requests donations in Catherine Bedecarre’s name can be made to the League of Women Voters (lwv.org) and St. Agnes Church Social Justice Committee, 3966 Chestnut Ave., Concord, CA 94519.
Rosary will be held Friday, July 15, 7 p.m. Ouimet Bros-Concord Funeral Chapel, 4125 Clayton Rd., Concord. Funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday, July 16, 10 a.m. St. Agnes Church, 3966 Chestnut Ave., Concord. Private interment at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma will be at a later date.
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