We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home, Inc.
Catherine “Kay” Toto, 96 of Lower Gwynedd, PA passed away surrounded by her children on Monday, May 23, 2022 at Abington Memorial Hospital in Abington.
Catherine was the wife of the late Lawrence P. Toto
Born February 11, 1926 in Philadelphia, PA she was the daughter of Clement George and Marie Sanzoni George.
Catherine grew up in West Philadelphia and graduated from Overbrook High School in 1944 and then attended Drexel Institute of Technology.
In addition to being a dedicated mother and home maker, Catherine was a Realtor for many years serving Havertown and the surrounding areas and later worked for Wells Fargo bank.
She was a member of St. Laurence parish in Upper Darby, PA and was a member of the Laurentians Club, a social group for retired members of the community.
Catherine enjoyed many varied activities in her younger years and reminisced at times about bowling, archery and playing tennis with her husband. Catherine clipped and saved many hundreds of articles during World War II, creating a series of large scrapbooks detailing the progress during the war years, which the family has retained. She was a very capable pinochle player and frequently gathered with friends at a player’s home. Catherine loved going to the beach in Ocean City, NJ every summer. She enjoyed spending time sitting in the garden during her final years while living at Springhouse Estates in Lower Gwynedd, PA.
She is survived by her daughter, Karen Hockenberry and husband John, son Larry Toto and wife Gail, son Chris Toto & wife Cheryl as well as her grandchildren Daniel & David Hockenberry, Matthew Toto and Rebecca, Justin & Brian Toto along with her brother, Clement George and her sister, Rose Wood.
Relatives and friends are invited to her visitation on Friday, May 27, 2022 from 10:00 am - 11:15 am at SS. Simon & Jude Church 8 Cavanaugh Court West Chester, PA 19382; followed by her Funeral Service at 11:30 am.
Interment will be in SS. Peter & Paul Cemetery Springfield PA.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105
Arrangements by DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home, Inc. of West Chester, PA 610-696-1181; www.DellaFH.com.
Eulogy – Catherine George Toto
On Feb 11, 1926, a bright light came into this world, Catherine George, born to immigrant parents who came from Italy. She is one of four siblings – Her sister, Rose is 94 and her brother, Clem is 90. Her older brother Mackey passed on at age 84. They definitely come from hearty Italian stock.
How would we describe our mom? Words that come to mind right away - the sweetest, gentle, caring, loving, happy – a very positive person. Mom often saw the upside of things when others did not- the glass was always half full, not half empty.
And how she loved to dance. She confided in Karen that as a child she wanted to take dance lessons, but being a depression-era baby, it just wasn’t feasible. But every chance she got, she would dance, whether it was at a party or a wedding or wherever… She was quick to the dance floor. When she was 82, she was dancing at a party when her heal got stuck in a crack in the dance platform and she fell and broke her hip. She spent time in a rehab facility and amazed everyone there with her rapid and complete recovery. Soon she was back to her usual energetic self.
Mom was extremely social. She loved to have fun and could be the life of the party. In her younger years, she loved to get together with her “lady friends”, as she called them, for weekly bowling or weekly pinochle games. She was very active in the “Laurentians”, a social group at church and was their President for a term. She was a “people person”.
Mom was not a parent that spoiled her children, but she always encouraged them to pursue their dreams. When one of them wanted to pursue something out of the ordinary with which dad had an issue - like me wanting to take flying lessons or Karen moving to NYC to pursue musical theatre or Chris hiking out West - Mom would say to dad “Lawrence, let them do it - it makes them happy”. Dad would ultimately give in.
When mom was living in her home in Havertown she took special pride in three pictures hanging on the wall, a picture of each of her children doing what they enjoyed most – Larry next to a plane, Karen in a ballerina pose and Chris at Boat House Row holding an oar. Our dad took each of these pictures. If a visitor came in, mom would point to the wall and tell everyone that these are her children. When mom moved out of the house and into the ACTS facility in Media, those pictures went with her and she continued to show these to everyone.
Our family spent a week in Ocean City every summer since we were children. We were planning to go again this year in July and mom was really looking forward to it. She enjoyed the Ocean City beaches and walking on the boardwalk. She often said, “God willing, we will all return next year” with her hands in praying position….and we did. I suspect the children and grandchildren will meet there again this year and reminisce about mom, dad and family.
In more recent times, between the three children, mom was seen every day while in assisted care and skilled care, which was the last couple of years. She loved to take walks to the garden and sit to chat. Her disposition was still so positive. She commented often on the beauty of things we often take for granted, like the clouds, blue sky, the tree we were sitting under and the beautiful flowers in the planter. When we informed the nurses and aides of her death this week they all had pretty much the same reaction – one of sadness but also praise for what a great person mom was - always content, patient and full of compliments.
Mom’s children and grandchildren were her pride and joy. That was evident in all her conversations with others. She continued to be the same joyous happy person right up to the day she passed. We were so blessed and privileged to have her as our mom and will cherish our beautiful memories of her.
Mom, you often spoke of joining dad one day. You prayed to Jesus and told us often that your prayers were always answered. We know that you are at peace now with Jesus and with dad and that you are dancing in heaven amongst the real stars.
Mom, you will be missed dearly. We all love you very much.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105