CATHERINE MCKEON TOPHAM
AUGUST 14, 1947 – JANUARY 20, 2017
Catherine McKeon Topham, beloved wife, daughter, mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt, passed away peacefully at her home on January 20, 2017. Survived by her husband, Ned Topham, two sons, Ned and Christian, twin granddaughters, Elena and Paloma, sister, Eileen, niece Hannah, brothers-in-law, Peter and Jack, daughter-in-law Rachel, her Springer spaniel Tessie, and countless friends and admirers, Cathy's memory will live on through all those who crossed her path. While here, she graced us all with her kind spirit, generous nature, and enchanting laugh. And though taken from us all too early, we are fortunate and joyful for the times we had. And good times she had indeed.
Born in San Francisco to the late George and Elaine McKeon, she spent her childhood in West Portal. She attended St. Cecilia's, Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, and USF, graduating with a BA in English. In 1972, Cathy married her love, life-long confidant and prom date, Ned Topham. After raising a loving family, including two proud sons and two adored granddaughters, and filling their lives with laughter and love, the two would have celebrated their forty-fifth anniversary this year.
A thoughtful and compassionate soul, Cathy spent countless hours on those causes closest to her heart. As a long-time community leader and volunteer, she strove to help parents create a safe world for their children, volunteering for nearly two decades at the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center's TALK Line, a 24/7 phone support line for parents in-crisis. Cathy also lead the Prevention Center's board of directors for many years, helping to steer the organization forward during a critical point in its history.
Cathy was a dedicated supporter and member of the YMCA. As a founding donor of 'Y for Youth' and a continual supporter of 'Kids to Camp', she bolstered youth programs and acted as an advocate for underprivileged youth. She also cherished her morning workouts at the Y with her beloved community of friends there known as the 'Y Rats.'
When her much loved mother Elaine passed away in 2012, Cathy honored her by filling her seat on the steering committee for the FOG art fair. FOG quickly developed into a great passion of hers, and as the fair grew and expended, so too did her vision and sense of purpose. In many ways, she was at the beginning of a new chapter in her life.
But the joy that came from following her heart was nothing new to Cathy. Throughout her life, art and beauty were a constant source of inspiration. From her work with the FOG fair to her countless home and garden projects, Cathy continually filled our lives with so much color and joy. So many still hang her beautiful egg ornaments every holiday season. An enthusiastic planner of trips, she crossed the world with friends and family many times over, always ready with her playful smile and contagious laugher. All the while, she was rarely seen without a camera around her neck.
But it was family that was the true source of Cathy's joy. Never was she happier than in Lake Tahoe or Sonoma, arms filled with grandchildren, picking strawberries or gathering pinecones, Ned and Peter manning the BBQ, Hannah, Neddie, Eileen, and Christian starting up a round of Spite-and-Malice, and her monumental mother Elaine overseeing it all.
Safe travels Cathy. Whenever we hear the song of a wind-chime, we know Cathy is nearby.
A memorial celebrating Cathy's life will held 4 p.m. Fri., at the SF County Fair Building's Hall of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way.
Contributions in Cathy's memory may be made to San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center [http://sfcapc.org].