Cathy Coleman, a retired attorney in Pittsburgh, passed away on February 22 at age 87. Born in Chicago, IL, the eldest of five children of Robert Parnell Baine and Catherine Maloney, she grew up in an Irish family that included one uncle who was the judge in the famous Leopold and Loeb trial, and another who was Democratic State Chair during the Daley era. A product of the Catholic school system, she attended St. Ignatius School (Chicago), Sacred Heart Academy (Louisville, KY), Xavier High School (St. Louis, MO), and Webster College (Webster Groves, MO). Cathy would have wanted to recognize and thank Baine family friend, the late Fr. Chester Bolling, who helped her through some very difficult times in high school, and who was there for her at many of life's important moments (teaching her to drive with Fr. Joe, co-celebrating her marriage ceremony, and making annual road trips from Louisville to Pittsburgh to visit her and her young family). Cathy's father, a Georgetown law school graduate, strongly discouraged her from pursuing her dream of becoming a lawyer, so Cathy entered the advertising industry upon graduating from college. While working as a copywriter for a St. Louis ad agency, a friend set her up on a blind date with Don Coleman, a fourth year medical student at St. Louis University. On their first date they went to see “Singin' in the Rain,” which featured main characters Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), which they took as kismet. Cathy and Don would go on to share 59 years of marriage. They moved to Pittsburgh in 1959 for Don's medical residency in Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. Cathy raised two children, Mary Kate and Sean, both now attorneys, while leading or being active in a host of community organizations, including AAUW and the Allegheny County Medical Society Auxiliary. Her children couldn't have asked for a better, more loving and supportive mother. They recall her as the kind of mom who handmade Christmas gifts for their teachers at St. Joseph's Elementary School in Verona, who threw fantastic themed birthday parties for them when they were kids, who took gift baskets of food to new neighbors on move-in day, and who, despite fearing driving in the snow, drove her two kids to Tam O'Shanter art classes at Carnegie Museum for eight winters in a row. When Cathy's children were older, they and Don encouraged her to pursue her dream of going to law school. She did so in 1983, entering the University of Pittsburgh School of Law at age 50 (becoming the first mother-son student combination when her son followed her there two years later). After graduating from law school, Cathy began a career in family law with her dear friend, Carol McCarthy. Carol and Cathy founded the family law firm McCarthy & Coleman; now known as McCarthy McDonald Schulberg & Joy, it is one of Pittsburgh's preeminent family law firms. As an attorney, Cathy was active in the Women in the Law Committee of the Bar Association, the Family Law section, as well as Bar Association initiatives to promote networking opportunities for women attorneys. She had a special affinity and sensitivity for children at the center of custody disputes. She was preceded in death by her husband, Don; her sister, Patricia Lorsbach; and her brother, Robert P. Baine, Jr. She leaves behind her two children; her beloved granddog, Roisin; her younger brothers, Larry (St. Louis) and Dick (Philadelphia); and 29 nephews and nieces, all of whom loved and will miss her dearly. Friends will be received at JOHN A. FREYVOGEL SONS, INC., 4900 Centre Avenue at Devonshire St. on Sunday 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Funeral Monday, Mass of Christian Burial St. Paul Cathedral 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, her children request that donations be made to Neighborhood Legal Services Association or KidsVoice.
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PostedFebruary 23, 2018