May 252012

Catherine Layfield Luhn Cavanagh, 90, passed away after a long illness on May 23, 2012 at the New Britain Hospital for Special Care. Born on February 22, 1922 in Baltimore MD, Catherine was the daughter of the late John Andrew and Hannah Catherine Layfield Luhn.

She went to Hollywood at age 17, where she modeled, took dramatics training and met her future husband, the late Paul Michael Cavanagh, also an actor. They married in 1946, and had one daughter, Joan Katharine Margaret. The Cavanaghs moved to Baltimore in 1960, where Catherine renewed old friendships and family ties. She was widowed in 1964 and struggled to raise her daughter alone.

She enjoyed seeing movies and plays; taking her daughter and friends on trips to New York, Atlantic City, Ocean City, and New England; and dining out.

She presided over a large brood of felines and saved one of them from the jaws of a fierce German Shepherd, literally snatching the cat out of its mouth.

She moved to New Haven CT in 1978. She worked for several years at , making many friends and becoming a familiar figure selling flowers at her station outside Yale New Haven Hospital.

Her illness began with a series of small strokes at age 70, but she overcame some of their debilitating effects and continued to try to enjoy her life until facing ever more serious challenges in recent years.

In addition to her daughter, Catherine is survived by dear friends Doris Neumann, Sal Scafidi, Andrew Calandrelli, Paula and Frank Panzarella and Debbie Elkin; as well as many others whose lives she touched.

She was predeceased by two other friends, Christine Kokolakis and Dennis Hamilton. Catherine fought as long and hard as she could to live. She was supported in that struggle by her friends and caretakers over the years.

Her daughter gives special thanks to her compassionate and insightful cardiologist, Dr. Douglas Israel; the excellent and caring staff at the Hospital for Special Care; many of the caregivers at Orange Health Care Center, especially Kathy Komlos, Wendy Ormond and Linda Mebane; and all others who helped ease her way to “feel herself beloved on this earth.”

Services at 11 a.m. on May 25th at Erickson-Hansen Funeral Home, 411 S. Main, New Britain CT. Interment at Lorraine Park Mausoleum, 5608 Dogwood, Woodlawn, MD, at 11 a.m. on May 26th. Memorial contributions may be sent in Catherine’s name to the Hospital for Special Care Foundation, 2150 Corbin Ave., New Britain CT 06053 and/or Tara Farm Rescue, c/o Bonnie Jeanne Gorden, 670 Babcock Hill Rd., Coventry CT 06238.

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