On September 8, 1935 a vibrant and bold spirit in the name of Catherine Dudley was born to William McKinley and Retha Bellamy Dudley. With a quiet submission to the call of God, Catherine transitioned on July 3, 2021.
Catherine’s parents, Retha and William Dudley preceded her in death. Her sisters, Rosetta Dudley, Ella Gertrude Duncan, Etta Mae Dudley, Sarah Gibbs, Hallease Walker, Gatha Williams, Retha Mae Armstrong, and brother William Dudley also preceded her in death. Our late aunt Ella Mae Jarman was an inspiration to all of us.
Catherine Dudley leaves to cherish her memory: Deloise Dudley-Mayfield (Cary, N.C.), Patricia Bethel Oglesby and Sharon Oglesby (Bronx, New York), Russell Joseph Dudley (Hope) (Jacksonville, N.C.), Ernest Gilliam (New York), Bernard Dudley (Keri) (Maricopa, Arizona), Docval Oglesby (Daisy) (Charlotte, N.C.). Catherine extended her love, laughter and wisdom to her grandchildren: Russell Rachid Dudley, Jonnathan Gainyard, Berniya Dudley, Jordan Dudley, Bernard Dudley II, Brieawna Dudley, Shanell Bethel, Ramel Bethel, Tiearra Oglesby, Docval Oglesby Jr., Daijah Oglesby, Dezirre Oglesby, Denayjah Oglesby, Danita Oglesby, Donna Oglesby, and her great grandchildren, Camille Dudley, James Gainyard, and Amiya Gainyard. Catherine’s legacy will also continue to live on in the lives of her many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. Over the years Catherine remained very close to her sister-in-law, Christine Dudley.
Catherine spent her early years in Maysville, North Carolina. She was educated in the Jones County school system. Catherine joined Myrtle Grove Christian Church at an early age. She was always friendly and outgoing, and she made personal connections easily. Catherine was fun loving and carried herself with a youthful spirit. Her friends and family affectionately knew Catherine as “Cat.”
As a young adult, Catherine moved to New York. She found a kindred spirit with the city. We, her children, will never be able to look at an “I love New York” shirt or picture without thinking about Momma.
The city was where Catherine thrived. She spent her years in New York working, raising her children, and caring for and sharing with the people in her apartment community. She was well loved by her fellow New Yorkers. Catherine always had a word of advice to share, too. Sometimes her advice was given with a spoonful of sugar and at other times, it was brutally honest. Her counsel always came from a place of care.
Catherine had a generous spirit and often credited that character trait as a gift from her mother, Retha. She told stories about how she watched her mother share an item of food or give financial support to help someone in need. She also spoke of how her mother offered each person she met the dignity they deserved, and she could always look past their behavior and see their humanity. This example of unselfish giving and love for her fellow man had a lifetime effect on Catherine. She tried to imitate it in her personal interactions.
Catherine made Union Baptist Church in New York, her place of worship. She talked fondly about her pastor, Reverend Brian D. Scott, and her fellow church members. Catherine served on the usher’s ministry, the hospitality committee, and was a member of the Young At Heart senior’s group. After a spontaneous rendition of the hymn “Blessed Assurance” one Sunday, her singing voice was revealed. She did not join a choir but joyfully lifted her voice. “Blessed Assurance” was Momma’s favorite hymn. She would always encourage us to have a song in our hearts. She was a strong advocate of singing your troubles away. Many of us have been serenaded with her version of the happy birthday song on our birthday as well.
Momma talked joyfully about the goodness of the Lord to whoever would listen. As much as she enjoyed and cherished life, Momma spoke confidently about being ready to go when it was her appointed time. She admonished us not to worry or be sad about her leaving, because she was ready for the call. Our hearts are heavy but we will tell her stories and feel the joy and laughter they once brought us. We will miss you Momma, but your stories will remind us that you are always with us.
Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday July 17, 2021, at Myrtle Grove Christian Church with Pastor Gayeloyce Willis and Bishop Alphonso Dudley officiating. Burial will follow the service at White Oak Cemetery, Gibson Bridge Road in Maysville. The family will receive friends from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, on Friday July 16, 2021 at Kahlert Funeral Chapel.