Catherine Wood Parker, 70, of Vero Beach, Florida, passed away quietly at her home on January 22, 2014, after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. Her loving husband, Dick LaPorte was at her side.
Cathy was born in Wilmington, Delaware, November 5, 1943, the oldest daughter of H. Dalton and Margaret Mellen Wood. She grew up with her parents and two sisters living on the Sassafras River on Maryland s eastern shore. Living on the eastern shore gave her deep respect for the water which she passed along to her two children. She graduated from Bohemia Manor High School in 1961 and Wake Forest University in 1965.
Those who can, teach; and teach she did. Cathy was an educator for over 30 years, touching thousands of young lives. She started her educational career during college as a camp counselor at Camp Tockwogh on the eastern shore teaching sailing and waterskiing. Following graduation from Wake Forest University, she began teaching in Florida and Georgia before moving to northern Virginia. In Virginia she worked for the National Parks Service and was instrumental in creating and running the Summer in the Parks youth program before putting her professional career on hold to raise her two children.
She returned to teaching in 1976 at Congressional Schools in Falls Church, Va, and then joined the Fairfax County School System to teach science at Henry David Thoreau Middle School. After several years at Thoreau she joined the staff at Joyce Kilmer Middle School in Vienna, VA teaching 7th and 8th grade environmental and physical science. While at Kilmer she also authored the county wide science curriculums. Cathy retired in 1999 from Fairfax County Public Schools in VA after 23 years of service with the County.
As the new school year began in September following her retirement, Cathy took an escorted tour of the Rocky Mountains. She met Dick on the tour coach while travelling in Yellowstone National Park and they married in January 2003. The ceremony was on top of Vail Mountain at the ski resort in Colorado. They travelled extensively over the years on both cruises and land tours, visiting places as far South as Antarctica and as far North as Barrow, Alaska. When in Vero Beach, Cathy was a dedicated volunteer at Sebastian Inlet State Park working nearly 1800 hours as a docent in the Fishing Museum.
Cathy is survived by her two sons - Charles Castleman Bulger III (and his wife Kimberly Guarino Bulger), of Alexandria, VA, and Brian Dalton Bulger (and his wife Jacqueline Marie Bulger), of Crofton, MD, five grand children Lauren Marie Bulger, Kylie Elizabeth Bulger, Luke Dalton Bulger, Cole Castleman Bulger, and Kayla Catherine Bulger, two sisters, Susan Baker, of Ocean City, NJ, and Wendy Thomas, of Ocala, FL.
Arrangements are by Strunk Funeral Home and Crematory, Vero Beach, FL. A guest book is available at www.strunkfuneralhome.com.