Catherine Durley

Private Family Graveside Service

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Obituary of Catherine Joan Durley

Catherine Joan Durley (nee Cowin), of St. Marys, passed away on March 14, 2024 at the age of 91.

Beloved wife of the late John E. Durley (2009). Loving mother of Dave (May Mah), Joy (Matthew Neville), Jane Anne Henderson (Barry), Jennifer (Michael Dover) and Mark. Dear grandmother of Trisha, Isaac (Rebecca), Becca (Matt), Jordan (Matthew), Jessie, Josh (Joniah), Josiah, Kate, and great-grandmother of Benjamin and Liesel. Sister of Herb Cowin and sister-in-law of Gladys Cowin and Barbara Cowin, and fondly remembered by many nieces and nephews.

Predeceased by her parents John James Cowin and Sarah McLaren and siblings Jack, Florence, Stanley, Evelyn, Bruce, Harold, and Ernie and sisters-in- law Dorothy, Joyce, and Donna and brothers-in-law Wib and Lant.

Cathy was born in 1932 in London, Ontario. She was a hard working student and when she was just 17, attended London Normal School to train to be an elementary school teacher. At 18 years of age, Cathy began teaching in a one-room school house near Thorndale, with 35 students in grades 1-8. Her second assignment was at Crampton School, with 2 rooms, where she taught grades 1-4. She finished her teaching career at Ealing School, London before she married her sweetheart, John, in 1959 and began a family. Cathy was a devoted, supportive mother of five children, two of whom were adopted. She was always closely involved in the lives and activities of her children and grandchildren. A faithful Christian, she exemplified the characteristics and actions of a woman who truly loved her Lord and Saviour. She humbly served in her church in a variety of capacities over the years, blessing the lives of so many. Cathy, John and family lived in St. Marys on Elgin St. E. for 58 years. During that time, many special and lasting relationships were established. They made a lasting impact on many families in the neighbourhood. Cathy had an incredible memory and could recite a poem or song for every occasion, many of which she used to teach her students. Her ability to remember hundreds of bible verses was remarkable. She could recreate tap dancing routines from the 50’s and, with the treasured tap shoes that her son Dave bought her, she danced short routines at Strawberry Socials, and at home for her family up until January, 2023, at the age of 90 ! Cathy kept daily journals for years, and hand wrote her memoir, records that her family will cherish forever. She had a sharp, playful wit, and was quick to correct your grammar! Cathy embraced technology, using her laptop to email, and upload pictures on her facebook page, and was a self-proclaimed “high-tech woman”! She was the best “silly grandma” of all time, and could ham it up with the best of them. Her mirror selfies were legendary! Cathy carried on with courage, strength and resilience following John’s death in 2009. She was the glue that held her family together, and even when her health deteriorated and her short term memory declined, she soldiered on with incredible determination. Cathy was a truly remarkable, unique soul who will be cherished, remembered, and missed by her family and the countless people she met and blessed throughout her 91 years.

The family thanks Dr. Gatfield for his years of care; Don Ewert at Better Ways for Seniors; the many caregivers and friends who lovingly supported Cathy at home for the last few years, especially Aida and Christy; the St. Marys Hospital Staff; the many caring PSWs at Waverley Mansion Retirement Home, especially Axyl.

Very special thanks to Cathy's wonderful friends Ruth and Joan, for their devotion and service.

A private family graveside service will be held in St. Marys Cemetery with a Celebration of Life to be held at a later date. 

Memorial donations may be made to

Forest Cliff Camp
985 Adelaide St. S
London, ON
N6E 4A3

or Community Bible Church
24294 Adelaide St. N.,
RR#3 Lucan, ON N0M 2J0 

or charity of choice.


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Click  name of the charities below to donate online

Forest Cliff Camp
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and for the Honoree's email, include the funeral home email:, so that we can inform the family of the donation.

Community Bible Church
Their online options include e-transfer. Please also click on the the above Donate by Check so that we can inform the family of your donation


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