If you were lucky enough to know Catherine Ann Gentile Danforth at any point during her 85 years, you were fortunate to encounter nuggets of happiness, strength, resilience, and love that her presence quietly emanated. Catherine entered eternal life on Monday, February 7, 2022. Her lovely spirit lives through her family, including her sister, stepsons, step-grandchildren, goddaughters, and friends from all walks of life.
Catherine was born to Paul Falbo Gentile and Pauline Garza Gentile in 1936 and early in life she amassed valuable lessons, such as being strong and independent. After graduating from Ursuline Academy in San Antonio, Texas and St. Thomas University in Houston, Catherine headed to Washington, DC where she worked at Ursell's Scandinavian store in Georgetown. Her work ethic and artistic talent were so respected, she was asked to manage a similar shop in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
While most of us think of the Virgin Islands as a tropical paradise, for Catherine it was about the work. Although she worked diligently running the daily business of the shop, Catherine’s statuesque beauty could not be missed. She had many suitors, but it was a friend who set her up on a blind date. While she waited for him to arrive, the love of her life swept her off her feet: Danny.
Soon Frank W. “Danny” Danforth and Catherine spent as much time together as they could while he worked at construction and renovations, and she at the store. Shortly after they married in 1966, the couple decided to return to his hometown in Bath, Maine, where Catherine and Danny lived at Birch Point and High Street.
This Texas gal easily rooted herself in Maine as a teacher of Distributive Education at the Bath Regional Vocational Center. Later she shared her love of the Spanish language and culture with students at Morse High School as well as Bath Middle School and, even after her retirement, in Wiscasset as a long-term substitute.
Her teaching expanded beyond the classroom: she created the Ships Chandler at Morse as a hands-on experience in retail for her Distributive Education Clubs of America students, took them to yearly national conferences, and served as a faculty member of Morse’s School-Community Liaison Council.
Catherine also extended her care for her stepsons, Danny and Tom. It was important to her to create a blended, cohesive family. Often you would see Danny and Catherine supporting Danny’s football and Tom’s basketball games at Morse and attending many of their grandchildren’s and great grandchildren’s sporting events throughout the state.
When she wasn’t teaching or with her family, Catherine also volunteered at Mid Coast Hospital, sharing over 1500 hours of devoted work. Upon retirement in 2001, she also enjoyed serving as secretary of the Bath-Brunswick Retired Teachers Association.
Catherine’s laughter and kindness will be deeply missed by her family: her younger sister, Yolanda Rose (Yoli) Gentile of San Antonio, Texas; her nephew Tony Patz and wife Alexandria and daughter, Eva; her stepsons Frank W. Danforth III and wife Karen of South Paris and Thomas J. Danforth and wife Karen of Rangeley. She also leaves her step grandchildren: Nathan Danforth and wife Allyson, Aimée Danforth and husband Greg Brunelle of Rangeley, Frank W. Danforth IV and his wife Tia of So. Paris, ME, and step grandson Sean Danforth of Waterville; great grandchildren Trevor, Kylie and Kaylin of South Paris; Rory and London of Moose River; and goddaughters Carmel Lee of Ithaca, NY, Jessica Grenier of Lisbon Falls and Khristine Rideout of Bowdoin, Maine.
Catherine’s family extends their gratitude to the staff at MidCoast Hospital.
There will be a Mass of Christian Burial at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Bath at 11a.m. followed by a Celebration of Life at Maine Maritime Museum at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, 2022.
Memorial contributions may be made in Catherine’s memory to Saint Jude’s Research Hospital for Children at stjude.org.
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