KALISPELL — Cathy Manning, age 70, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Jan. 9, 2012, at her Kalispell home from congestive heart failure. A celebration of life was held Jan. 11, at the Kalispell Senior Center.
She was born on Feb. 9, 1941, in Livingston. Cathy was the third of four daughters born to Edgar and Mildred McCulloch. Her early years were spent at St. Xavier on the Crow Reservation before the McCulloch family settled on a farm overlooking Foys Lake in 1948.
After graduating from Flathead County High School in 1959 and the Art Institute of York, Pa., Cathy worked as a florist. She returned to Kalispell in 1961 and became reacquainted with Donald Manning, an old high school friend. They married on May 6, 1961, at St. Matthew's Catholic Church where Cathy walked down the aisle wearing a wedding gown she had designed and sewn herself.
As a newlywed, she passed a cold, dark winter in a small Alaskan cabin, returning to the Flathead with a newborn the next year. The Mannings made their home in Kalispell and then Columbia Falls, where Cathy raised four children while Don ran a bakery and donut shop. In 1977, the family moved to Sidney in eastern Montana. There Cathy continued her art education at Dawson County Community College, gave art lessons and managed the office for Don's construction business. They returned to Kalispell in 1987, and Cathy worked a variety of jobs ranging from medical billing to florist and housekeeper before ill health forced her to retire. Cathy and Don marked their 50th anniversary last year with a celebration that reunited family and friends from near and far.
Cathy touched more hearts and inspired more lives than she'll ever know with her kindness, courage, creativity and passion for life. She never did anything halfway, whether baking dozens of cookies for the neighborhood kids, gardening, quilting, handcrafting cards and gifts, playing with her grandkids or sharing a hearty laugh with her sisters and friends. Her passion was art. She left a legacy of eclectic artwork, continually embracing new painting techniques and styles. In her later years, she enjoyed both attending and teaching art classes at the Kalispell Senior Center.
She was preceded in death by her parents and older sister, Barbara Austin. She is survived by her husband, Don; their four children, Hank (Carol) Manning, Ann Kooistra-Manning, Mike (Lee Anne) Manning and Janet Edwards; twelve grandchildren; and her sisters Pat Woodruff and Terry Glenn.