Catherine Leslie McNish

September 2, 1957 - September 30, 2018

Catherine Leslie McNish died peacefully at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, Illinois on September 30, 2018 at the age of 61. She is remembered by family for her enormous capacity to endure without complaint the many difficult tests life presented.

            Cathie was known in her early years as a gifted student and athlete who could outrun and outscore competitors in relay races, tennis and badminton matches during school in Schenectady, NY and Oakville, Ontario. At the age of 15 Cathie confronted a much greater challenge when diagnosed with schizophrenia. It was a time when the condition was poorly understood, and medication and treatment were in their infancy.

            She received care from her doctors at The Clarke Institute of Toronto and later from doctors in Illinois, where her family moved in the late 1970s. Throughout the ups and downs of mental illness, Cathie’s outlook on life was unfailingly sunny. No one in her family recalls her ever voicing a single objection to her condition. She accepted it and turned her focus to the things that gave her joy: art, poetry, friends and family.

            Hundreds of sketchbooks and canvases are filled with her brightly colored still life paintings. Her favorite subjects were coffee cups and flowers. She authored many poems and wrote letters so prodigiously that the U.S. Postal Service may need to adjust its revenue to reflect the loss of one of its busiest customers.

            Cathie will be dearly missed by her parents, James and Diana McNish, sisters Jacquie (Stephen), Michelle (Scott) and Rachael (Kelly), nieces Lindsay (Austin), Brianna, Ruth and Eve, nephews Alexander, Harry, Abe, Lewis and Brogan, grandniece Mikayla and a large circle of extended family and friends. The family would like to thank doctors and nurses at Central DuPage ICU and hospice for their tender care during Cathie’s last days.

            A memorial service to celebrate Cathie’s life will be held 11:00 A.M. Saturday, October 13, 2018, at Rejoice Lutheran Church 0N377 North Mill Creek Drive Geneva, IL 60134. 

In lieu of flowers a donation to the Kane County chapter of the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill would be appreciated.

Guest Book

  • The State Bank of Geneva With our deepest sympathy and prayers to all the McNish Family. May Catherine rest in peace happily with our Lord. From all of us at The State Bank of Geneva
  • The State Bank of Geneva Mr. and Mrs. McNish, We did not know Cathie...she sounds like a talented, loving woman. Please accept our sincerest condolences. Your friends at The State Bank of Geneva
  • Lloyd & Lou Ann Cates Jim, Diana and Family, Our thoughts, prayers and love are with you all right now. We are so sorry for your loss and may Cathie forever...RIP. What a beautiful woman and heaven just gained a beautiful Angel! God bless you all...Lloyd, Lou Ann & Family
  • anne quimby(Aikman) It was really saddened to read of Cathy's passing in the Globe and Mail this past weekend. I think of Cathy as a good friend who I truly enjoyed being with. I feel at a loss for words to describe how truly authentic she was as a person. I was very fortunate to have known her and be influenced by her spirit. Thank you Cathy in so many ways. Love Anne