KLINGAMAN, Catherine Anne died November 4, 2011

Catherine Anne Klingaman

Cathy Klingaman, 51, of Lewistown, died peacefully at home on Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. 

Cathy Palastra was born at Fort Benning, Ga., on Dec. 31, 1959, the daughter of a career Army Officer, Joseph Palastra and his wife, Anne. As a young girl Cathy moved with her family to many locations where her father was stationed with the Army. In 1978 she graduated from West Springfield High School in Springfield, Va. Cathy then attended a single semester at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. After experiencing the arctic cold of Fairbanks she transferred to the University’s Anchorage campus, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing in 1983. Cathy paid for college largely herself, by working summers at fish canneries on the Alaska coast and through student loans. After college she moved to Homer, Alaska, where she worked for many years in the small local hospital, primarily in the ER and ACU/ICU. In 1991 Cathy moved to Columbus, Ga., to live with her sister and work at Doctor’s Hospital. In Georgia she met and married Jim Klingaman, a career Army Officer. Moving around the country with her husband over the years, Cathy nursed in every community in which she lived. Cathy’s nursing interest throughout her career was ACU/ICU nursing. In 2007, Cathy and her children moved to Lewistown while Jim did his final tour in Afghanistan. Cathy worked in the Acute Care Unit at the Central Montana Medical Center and taught Sunday School at the First Presbyterian Church. Jim joined Cathy and the family in late 2008 after retiring from the Army.

Cathy was forced to stop working in September 2010 due to neurological problems in her left leg. In January 2011 Cathy was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Cathy’s ALS progression was extremely fast and she died at the family’s home in Lewistown on Nov. 4.

Cathy is the mother of two children, Jennifer, who was born in Alaska in 1996, and Jacob, who was born at Fort Benning, Ga., in 1997 at the same hospital where Cathy was born.

Cathy’s interests outside of nursing included bird-watching, walking with her black lab, “Hunter,” NFL football, traveling, and her two children.

She is survived by her husband, Jim, and their two children, Jenny, 15 and Jake, 14; her parents, General and Mrs. Joseph Palastra of Myrtle, Mo.; and her four siblings, Margaret Simpson, Elizabeth DeVita, Tom Palastra, and Anne-Marie Rosselli.

A memorial service for Cathy will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12 at the First Presbyterian Church in Lewistown.

Cathy’s in-home care during her long illness was exceptional and inspiring. To sustain such care for others in the future, her wish was to support local students’ desires to enter the field of nursing. Before her death, Jim worked closely with Cathy to establish the “Cathy Klingaman Memorial Scholarship Fund,” a permanent endowment at Montana State University College of Nursing. This endowment will provide scholarship assistance to selected nursing students from Fergus County who wish to pursue a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. Anyone who would like to contribute to this worthy cause may send donations to the MSU Foundation, 1501 South 11th Ave., PO Box 172750, Bozeman, MT 59717-2750. Please enclose a note designating the gift for the “Cathy Klingaman Memorial Scholarship Fund.” Contributions are fully tax-deductible.
Published: Monday, November 14, 2011 8:41 AM MST in Lewistown News-Argus, Lewistown, Montana
Cathy is the great-granddaughter of Anna Gleaves and John Robert Rich, Sr.