The eldest of three children, she was 105 years old when she passed away in Devon Manor. Her brother, John V. Norris, who was a writer at Daily Republican and general manager at Phoenix Iron Co., lives in an assisted living facility in Royersford.
"She never wanted to be a burden on people," said her son, Malcolm Deans, a former assistant managing editor at The Bulletin. He lives in Colorado with his wife, Susan Deans, editor at The Daily Camera in Boulder.
Catherine Deans lived at Fourth and Main streets in Phoenixville with her parents before marrying U.S. Navy Commander Malcolm Arnold Deans. The couple and their children moved 15 times before his death in 1942.
Catherine was the oldest living graduate of the class of 1917 at Springside School of Chestnut Hill. In addition, she was a skilled seamstress, gardener, gifted hostess and excellent cook, according to her son, Mal.
Caretaker and granddaughter, Kathryn Deans-Schaub, an attorney with Eckert Seamans in Philadelphia, describes Catherine as private, reserved and fiercely independent. Harry Schaub, husband of Kathryn, is Austrian consul in Philadelphia and a former attorney retired from Montgomery McCracken Walker and Rhoads.
Mrs. Deans lived in an apartment alone until she was 95 and drove her car until she was 90.
"Nothing seemed to bother her," said Malcolm. He relates a family story of his mother when she found a bat in her home. Rather than being afraid of it, she grabbed a lace curtain and trapped it to take it outside.
Mrs. Deans was active at St. Mary's Church in Wayne driving parishioners from church. She also volunteered with the Red Cross during WWII making bandages.
A devoted mother and grandmother, she will be buried in Valley Forge National Cemetery.