Catharine Elizabeth Smith Soderquist, age 101, of Geneva, passed away Wednesday, October 31st, 2018.
She was born February 25, 1917, at the Colonial Hospital in Geneva, Illinois the only child of Carl Herman (Harry) Smith and Elizabeth Kohler Smith.
She attended Geneva schools and graduated from Geneva High School in 1934. Over the next 20 years, Catharine’s life was full of adventures and opportunities atypical for women at that time. Driving with her mother and cousin, Helen Smith (Hoelscher) along the newly created Lincoln Highway to San Francisco they returned via Route 66. She attended Augustana College in Rock Island, took classes at the Art Institute and Vogue Fashion School in Chicago. Following her education, she spent a summer on a classmate’s family plantation near New Orleans. Liking New Orleans, Catharine found a job and lived in the French Quarter for a few years until World War II, returning once again to Geneva.
During the war years, she commuted to Chicago. She was an executive secretary at Grand Union Tea Company. In 1947, they closed their Chicago office and relocated chief employees to New York City. For the next 6 years, Catharine lived and loved the challenges of a single woman living in New York. When her mother became gravely ill, she moved back to the family home to care for her.
Catharine’s second life also began in Geneva, where she met her soul mate, Russell Soderquist. They married in 1960. Together they pursued shared interests. They collected antiques, rare books, and music boxes and traveled around the US for many of their 55 years together. They lived in Geneva, Milwaukee, and Denver until they settled in Grand Junction, Colorado. Both were very active and respected by the community. Catharine always maintained her sense of fashion, loved oil painting and was an avid reader. Upon Russell’s death in 2015, Catharine decided to leave her cherished mountains and return to family in her beloved Geneva.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Russell, cousins, Robert Smith (Geraldine), Mary Margaret Kaman (Frank), Helen Hoelscher (E. Martin), William (Patricia). Many Hoelscher, Kaman, Smith cousins, as well as several Soderquist nieces and nephews survive her.
A memorial service for Catharine will be held Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 11:00 at Malone Funeral Home, 324 E. State Street (Route 38), Geneva with Pastor Trudy Stoffel officiating.
Burial will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery in Geneva.
For information 630-232-8233 or visit malonefh.com.
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