Cathy Chance, 1942-2018
Little Rock, Arkansas
Published: October 17, 2018
Catherine Chance Mulhollan died on Friday, October 12, 2018. She was beloved by those close to her as a devoted mother and grandmother, a generous teacher, and a deeply loyal friend.
Catherine, who went by Cathy, was born in Little Rock on April 8, 1942, to Jack and Helen Chance, originally from Wells Bayou, Ark. and Dumas Ark., respectively. She grew up in Little Rock's Stifft Station neighborhood, in a small house on Markham St. when Markham was a two-lane road. She graduated from Hall High School in 1960 but spent her sophomore year at Jacksonville High School because Little Rock schools were closed the year following the Central High integration crisis of 1957. She was a cheerleader, an honor student, and (to the chagrin of her parents' generation) a big fan of the young superstar Elvis Presley.
Cathy attended the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She was a member of the Chi Omega sorority, and an English major. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1964. At the University she met her husband, Jim Mulhollan of Fort Smith. The two moved to Memphis, TN, where he completed his training to become an orthopedic surgeon and she worked as a high school history teacher to support the household. It was in Memphis that she had her first child Jimmy in 1968 and her second, Grace Ann, in 1969. The Vietnam War took the family to North Carolina where her husband was drafted to Camp Lejeune. By 1973 the family had returned to Little Rock, where Cathy would live for the rest of her life. In 1973 her third child Jack was born in Little Rock.
The 70's and 80's were Cathy's supermom period. Always on the go, in a giant Chrysler station wagon with faux wood paneling on the sides, she was a perennial homeroom mother, den mother and brownie mother, always for at least two (and sometimes three) kids at the same time. More importantly, she was a wonderful one-on-one mom, ready to drop everything and talk into the wee hours with a child who couldn't fall asleep due to fears about the nature of the universe or a broken heart from a breakup. During these decades she was active in the 20th Century Club, and in Second Presbyterian Church, where she served as a deacon and producer of the annual youth musical for many years.
In the early 90's she found herself single and her kids had left the nest, so she began her next chapter. She earned a certificate in ESL and began teaching English language to foreign students at UALR. Most of her students were from Arab-speaking countries or Latin America. She discovered she was energized by teaching, and by her international friendships. She traveled to Costa Rica, Mexico, and Ecuador to study Spanish and to teach English, sometimes traveling alone for up to 6 months at a time. Back in Little Rock, she taught adult literacy as a volunteer through Literacy Action of Central Arkansas. She padded her empty nest by hosting a high school exchange student from Mexico City who became a lifelong friend.
Cathy's final chapter was a long and happy one. It began in the 2000's, and it was a more private time in her life. She left the big house in which she had raised her family and built for herself a beautiful, small, secluded home in the woods nearby. She began to concentrate on being a grandmother and lived quietly for 17 years with her beloved dog Cricket, a scruffy mutt she adopted as a puppy. She was an avid reader, consuming 3 or more novels per week, and she completed the New York Times crossword puzzle every day. She was famous for the heartfelt, challenging, witty, passionate (and always grammatically correct) emails she sent to close friends. She traveled frequently to be with her grandkids in Las Vegas and Memphis, and her Little Rock grandsons James and Charlie Mulhollan slept over every Saturday night. She was generally successful at getting most-if-not-all of her far-flung children and grandchildren together under the same roof for at least a few nights at Christmas time.
Cathy is survived by her sister, Bobbi Jordan of Little Rock and by her adult children, Jimmy Mulhollan of Brooklyn, N.Y., Grace Ann Gore of Memphis, Tenn. and Jack Mulhollan of Little Rock, Ark. Her grandchildren are: Naomi Mulhollan of Brooklyn; Max and Magdalena Gore of Memphis; Spencer, Alex, and Katherine Gore of Las Vegas, NV; and James and Charlie Mulhollan of Little Rock.
A visitation for Cathy will be held Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Ruebel Funeral Home, 6313 W. Markham St., 72205 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., followed by a private ceremony for family. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Cathy's name to CARE for Animals. Please visit www.ruebelfuneralhome.com to leave online condolences.