Catherine “Kitty” Mulroe passed away on Feb. 8, three weeks shy of her 90th birthday.
Born on a farm in County Mayo, Ireland, as the second of 11 children, she grew up helping her parents and grandparents tend cattle, fetch well water, foot turf and raise her seven rambunctious younger brothers. After emigrating at age 19 to the U.S. with her husband Peter, she was raising six children in Cedar Grove when the call of the old country caused them to pull up stakes and return to the British Isles aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Arriving in England, Kitty, Peter and the six children were welcomed into the home of Kitty’s sister Mamie, brother-in-law Vic and their three children. However, the challenges of the four adults and nine children sharing a house tiny by American standards, along with living through the most severe winter experienced in England and Ireland in 100 years, caused her Peter to rethink the move.
After decamping England for a holiday in County Mayo, Kitty, Peter and family were once again crossing the Atlantic – this time on the S.S. United States. While her 6 children remembered it as one great adventure, filling them with stories for a lifetime, Kitty was burdened with starting life anew in Montclair with few resources, limited job prospects and a seventh child on the way. Drawing on her strong Catholic faith and her stoic nature, she raised (and more-than-occasionally herded) her seven — and eventually eight — children while husband Peter gutted and rebuilt the home they were living in, while simultaneously holding down a full time job. When later in life she had the opportunity for leisure she enjoyed traveling, whether back home to Ireland or with friends on organized trips. Memorable destinations were Nova Scotia, Germany, Rome, Medugorje, Lourdes and the Holy Land.
Known as “Nana” to her many grandchildre, Kitty would often fix them milkshakes, deviled eggs or her famous “Nana bread.” Her back door was always open to her offsprings’ friends, who would come and go as if the house were their own.
Fiercely proud of her Irish Catholic faith and heritage, she was a parishioner at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Verona and, prior to that, Immaculate Conception Church in Montclair. She was a member of the Rosary Altar Society and the Catholic Daughters of America.
Kitty was predeceased by her husband Peter and her son Robert. She is survived by her children John (Bernadette), Peter (Susan), James (Anna), Michael (Catherine), Patricia Farley (Bob), Joseph (Lisa), Brian (Sheri); daughter-in-law Karen (Bill); grand- and great-grandchildren Michelle, Kyle, Jack, Brent, Ryan, Patrick, Victoria, Vincent, Megan, Conor, Brigid, Fiona, Danny, Katie, Catherine, Robert, Peter Michael, Peter Joseph, Michael, Pierce, Alex, Joseph, Elijah, Adrian and Nicole; sister Sheila; and brothers Jim, Tom and Dermot.
Visitation will be this Sunday, Feb. 16, from 1 to 5 p.m., at the Hugh M. Moriarty Funeral Home, 76 Park St., Montclair. A mass of Christian burial follows Monday, Feb. 17, 10:30 a.m., at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, 30 North Fullerton Ave., Montclair.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, PO Box 302, Maryknoll, NY, 10545. For directions and online condolences visit www.moriartyfh.com.