Catherine's Story

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Catherine M. "Kate" (Murphy) Bennick, 88, of Danville, passed away peacefully on Saturday, April 16, 2016, at her Vintage Knolls residence.
She was born Dec. 29, 1927, in Danville, a daughter of the late Julia (Murphy) Witmer and Harlem Witmer. Kate was the last living member of the Bernard and Catherine (Wiggerman) Murphy family.
Kate was a lifetime member of Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, where she was a Eucharistic Minister and Parish Council Board Member for a number of years. She attended Saint Joseph's School and graduated from Danville High School.
Kate was a strong, independent woman, who let no obstacle stand in her way. Kate accomplished a lot in her life. She worked as an licensed practical nurse at the Danville State Hospital for 26 years. During her time there, she headed the AFSCME Local 1513 (largest trade union for public employees) and was the former president of AFSCME sub-chapter 8604, fighting to bring better benefits to state employees.
Kate was a member of the AARP Chapter of State Retirees. For many years Kate held the title of "Committee Woman" for 1st Ward in Danville. She also was a former vice president of the Danville Elkettes. She was on the board for the Red Cross and was the head of the Disaster Relief for the Red Cross in Montour County. One of her biggest accomplishments in this role was prominent when the flood of 1972 (Agnes) hit Montour County. Kate took charge of the situation, turning the Danville Junior High School into an evacuation center for hundreds of families. Kate worked with the National Guard to recruit disaster help and food for the victims. For her tremendous work during this difficult time, her service to her community was noticed, when she was bestowed as an honorary member of the National Guard. After retiring from the Danville State Hospital, Kate opened "Bennick's Family Daycare" that she operated from her home; later she worked as a librarian at the Thomas Beaver Free Library. The Danville Elks recognized Kate's achievements by presenting her with the Citizen of the Year Award, due to her outstanding service to her home, Montour County.
Kate was a uniquely loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend. Kate enjoyed camping and spending time with family on vacations. One of Kate's greatest passions was traveling. She was blessed to have had the opportunity to travel the world including: England, Rome, Vatican City, and Venice. She also had a love for making various crafts for friends and family. Even in later years, Kate never backed down from a challenge...even if it was just a friendly game of BINGO.
Surviving Kate are her four children, Barbara Ann, wife of David Maneval, of Bloomsburg; Kathleen Diane Smith, of Los Angeles; Charlotte Marie, wife of Mark Wertman, of Catawissa; and Stephen Robert, husband of Vicki Bennick, of Danville; seven granddaughters, Kristin Maneval of Lancaster; Stacey Townsend, Lynn McKay, and Stephanie Angle, all of California, Brittany and Mackenzie Wertman, of Catawissa, and Melissa Walsh, of Throop; seven great-grandchildren, Avery, Julian, and Quinn Townsend, Charlie and Parker McKay, and Liam and Logan Angle.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 63 years, Stephen Bennick; and her two siblings, Robert Witmer and Ann (Witmer) Gerst.
A vibrant and colorful service for Kate's Celebration of Life will be held 11 a.m. Friday, April 22, at St. Joseph Church, 18 E. Center St., Danville, with her pastor, the Rev. James E. Lease celebrating Mass. Friends may call from 10 to 11 a.m. at St. Hubert's Chapel, located in the annex of St. Joseph Church prior to the service.
The burial will follow in the parish cemetery.
Donations in Kate's memory may be made to the Thomas Beaver Free Library, 205 Ferry St., Danville, PA 17821.
The family would like to thank the staff at Vintage Knolls for their compassionate, kind, and loving service that was provided to Kate at her time there and to the residents for their welcoming and loyal friendship.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Brady Funeral Home of Danville.
Please send online condolences to BradyFuneralHome.com
Published on April 18, 2016
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