Catherine Bumpers passed away at the age of 93 on December 30, 2018, surrounded by family after a short illness. She was born Catherine Louise Rogers on November 24th, 1925 in Clarksville, Arkansas. Her life changed dramatically at age 23 when she went on a blind date with a young man, Carroll Bumpers, who had grown up in in a nearby town and was back in Arkansas on break from Harvard Law School. They married six weeks later. After Carroll’s graduation they moved to Redwood City, California where he worked as an attorney with Standard Oil and they had three children, Bruce, Paula, and Donna.
Catherine was an active mother and volunteered at the local Methodist church. She also caught the fitness bug, becoming an enthusiast of Jack LaLanne on TV. After many years in Redwood City, followed by four years in Chicago, the family moved to Phoenix in 1970. Catherine, in addition to homemaking, was ahead of her time taking aerobics classes at the nearby Biltmore Hotel. She was also active at the Methodist church, including planning and running the Seniors Friendship Club, something she did for the next 30 years. She also volunteered for her sister-in-law Betty Bumper’s organization Peace Links, a non-profit that brought women in the U.S., Russia and China together to lobby their governments to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In 1972, Catherine’s life changed dramatically when Carroll suffered a serious stroke at the age of 52. The focus of Catherine’s life would shift to his care and recovery. She cared for him tirelessly, rarely complaining, until his death at age 87 in 2009. She then moved from the family home to the Terraces, a senior living facility in Phoenix. After many years of caring for others, Catherine took advantage of this opportunity to enjoy new activities and social life. She took up watercolor painting, exercise classes, day trips around Arizona and social activities with other residents. In her final years, despite a failing memory, Catherine stayed active with exercise and other activities. She never lost her sense of humor and her gentle and kind demeanor. She will be greatly missed. She is preceded in death by her husband her son, Bruce, and her brother, Tom Rogers. She is survived by her daughters, Donna Kelly and Paula Bumpers, and Paula’s husband, Tom Hollinshead.
A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church, 5510 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ on Saturday, January 12th at 1pm. In lieu of flowers, please send donations on behalf of Catherine to her beloved First United Methodist Church.
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