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Remembering Cathy Vujasin – With Our Thanks and Gratitude

Cathy working at the registration table at the Eagle Recognition Dinner.

It is with profound sadness that we fondly remember the life and Scouting career of our friend and colleague Cathleen Jo Vujasin, the Council’s Fundraising Administrative Assistant and longest-tenured member of our support staff.  Cathy, 64, passed away at UPMC Pinnacle Community Osteopathic Hospital on Wednesday, September 9.

Cathy first started her career with the former Keystone Area Council from 1975 through 1978.  After a brief hiatus, she was rehired in 1980 and would go on to serve as Administrative Assistant to the Scout Executive until 2010 when the New Birth of Freedom Council was formed.  At that time, Cathy moved to our Fundraising Department, supporting our council-wide special fundraising events, performing fund-raising data entry, and assisting our Director of Development.

I will always remember how Cathy would throw herself into the preparations for our Eagle Scout Recognition Dinner each November.  As you might expect, putting on that event involves many moving parts. Cathy worked incredibly hard gathering and organizing Eagle Scout bios and pictures, tracking contributions and pledges, pulling together the event program, and preparing what must have seemed like dozens of versions of the seating chart for the 700 or so people in attendance, wanting everything at the dinner to be absolutely perfect.  Finally, once everyone was seated at their tables and the program got underway, you could visibly see the tension drain out of Cathy, knowing she could finally relax and enjoy the rest of the evening.

Cathy was also a wealth of institutional knowledge and memories.  Whenever I needed to learn about things that took place in the Keystone Area Council prior to the merger, Cathy was my “go-to” person.  She had terrific recall of events and people and was a tremendous resource whenever I would ask “Cathy, do you remember … ?”  Former Keystone Area Council Scout Executive Jack Carr would jokingly refer to Cathy as “Radar,” most certainly meant as a flattering comparison to the uber-efficient fictional company clerk, Radar O’Reilly, on the television series M*A*S*H.

Cathy was the type of person who would respond with a sincere thank-you note for sending her a birthday card.  She warmly greeted guests at our fundraising events and it was awesome to see so many people (especially our returning donors) respond in kind, like old friends greeting one another after a long time apart.  She had a wonderful sense of humor, was quick to laugh, and cheerfully positive even in challenging times (all while rolling her eyes for dramatic effect).  Cathy and I would joke that she “came with the building,” given her many years of dedicated service to  the Council.  It will be hard not seeing her at her desk every day and she will be sorely missed.

Her current staff leader, Brian DeBease (who worked with Cathy for 15 years) said of Cathy “In reflecting on the Scout Law, the points Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind and Cheerful come to mind.  Whenever she received a call, no matter who it was or what she was doing, she was so genuinely interested and would take the time to interact.  She put the word human in human service.”

Please take a few minutes to read Cathy’s obituary.  Cathy is survived by her mother, Nancy, her brother, George Jr. and his wife Kathy, and a niece, Sara.

Yours in Scouting,

Ron Gardner
Scout Executive & CEO

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