Cover photo for Catherine Marie Alford's Obituary
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1944 Catherine 2022

Catherine Marie Alford

December 23, 1944 — December 20, 2022

Catherine Marie Alford passed away peacefully on December 20, 2022, just days before her 78th birthday. She was born on December 23, 1944, in Grand Rapids, Michigan to the late Jesse and Marilyn Vandermeer.

Cathy grew up in Michigan and graduated from Grand Valley State University in 1967, which was the University’s first commencement ceremony. She moved to Florida in the late 1960s. As a lifelong scholar, she continued classes in law school, real estate, mental health counseling and later achieved a Master of Science in Psychology from Nova University.

Preceded in death by just over three and a half months, Grant, affectionately named “Julio” by Cathy, was the true love of her life and best friend. We knew they wouldn’t be separated for long. They enjoyed a life together of time with family and friends, years of sailing adventures on the “Wanderer”, and many of their retirement years in the mountains of Gatlinburg, TN.

Cathy was an avid reader and she enjoyed gardening. She also enjoyed spirited, intellectual conversations, and she gave incredible advice and guidance. Cathy always had a dog by her side during her lifetime. Though she was characterized with a bit of sass and a fair amount of fierceness, she was an incredibly sensitive and compassionate person.

Cathy’s professional life included property management, Director of Social Services at Clay Memorial Hospital, mental health counseling, and the Board of Catholic Charities. She helped people through some of the most difficult life situations even buying burial plots for indigent families.

Cathy is survived by her daughter, Anne-Marie (husband Danny; children Jason and Brian) her stepsons: Matt Alford (wife Ana; children Thais and Rodrigo), Kelly Alford, Ian Alford (wife Grace; children Lilly and Isabella), her brothers, Alan Vandermeer (wife Susan) and Bob Vandermeer (wife Lorene).  We must not forget their beloved fur child, Spirit, who brought much happiness to them in their later years.  

May she now Rest in Peace and be with God.

There will be a double internment for Grant and Cathy at Jacksonville National Cemetery in early February. More details are forthcoming. Family and friends are encouraged to share memories of Cathy in the meantime. Donations to Community Hospice or the Humane Society are requested in lieu of flowers.


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