A Tribute To Cathy Talmadge

Countless Westporters know and love Cathy Talmadge.

Those who don’t, should. Every resident’s life has been touched, and impacted, by hers.

Cathy’s longtime friend Amy Ancel calls her “a passionate, tireless volunteer and leader with Wakeman Town Farm, Earthplace and Friends of Sherwood Island.”

Cathy is also a member of Westport’s Representative Town Meeting. Over the past 15 years she has served on the RTM’s Public Works and Environment Committees.

She works quietly yet doggedly to help make Westport a better place to live.

Cathy Talmadge.

Cathy is now seriously ill.

Her friends at Wakeman Town Farm want her to know what an inspiration she has been to them, and so many others. Cathy’s friend and colleague Christy Colasurdo writes: 

When I met you more than  15 years ago, I was in awe. You were a wonderful cook, gardener, traveler, swimmer, environmentalist, and served on at least 2 town boards.

And that’s just skimming the surface.

You clearly relished your role as a conduit between the players in town and the organizations you served. You knew everyone who was anyone, and they obviously knew and respected you.

But the thing that impressed me the most was how you were always the first to quietly jump in to lend a hand, whether it was wrangling permits from the liquor control board, rolling up your sleeves to sew masks during COVID or dropping off used file folders to cut down on paper waste.

When I think of you, I picture you in your sunny kitchen with a soup bubbling on the stove and a golden retriever and Siamese cat at your feet, switching out your seasonal planters, or working away at your sewing table. You befriended and surrounded yourself with local environmental “greats” like Sal Gilbertie and Norm Bloom, and you were viewed as a civic leader on par with these giants for your commitment to Earthplace, Sherwood Island, the RTM, Wakeman Town Farm and other local organizations fighting for a more sustainable environment.

Cathy Talmadge, at Wakeman Town Farm.

At the Farm you were one of the pioneers, putting yourself in the mix to ensure a successful initial renovation of the aging Wakeman residence to provide a cozy and warm welcome to the first caretaking family.

After this you took on the dual roles of town liaison and farm treasurer, helping create accounting systems, guiding budget decisions, managing the Farm’s first audit and so much more.

To many of us at the Farm you were a valued team player and, more than this: family.

I was deeply affected by your fight through serious illnesses, leading to your kidney transplant last year.

Thank you for your friendship, and for being such a wonderful person. Please know that you have always been an inspiration to me and many others. and that we are with you now.

27 responses to “A Tribute To Cathy Talmadge

  1. J. Scott Broder

    What a beautiful tribute Amy❗️

    Cathy’s daughter and our daughter were best friends in nursery school together and we have been friends since then. Cathy and Tom are two of the kindest people we have known living here in Westport. Both my wife and I send our love to Cathy and her family ❤️

  2. Andrew Colabella

    A true fighter ❤️ Love you Cathy. I remember first meeting you while working at the main gate when I was 16 with your daughter Carolyn. Since then, it’s been nothing but a pleasure working along side you on the rtm and when time allows it, just having general discussion about pollinators and Westport history. See you soon Cathy, fight the god fight like you always have 🤘🏻

  3. Cathy is wonderful, a true Westport treasure

  4. Cathy, you’ve been such an inspiration for this town…and beyond.. I first met you at the Sherwood Island Nature Center and felt your spirit of immediate friendship and talent.

  5. Cathy is a great inspiration to all of us. She quietly works so hard for Westport. Love you, Cathy.

  6. Cathy has made such an impact on this town and inspired so many. Cathy – we are all behind you in this fight!

  7. Cathy is a force of nature. I’ve never known anyone with her level of energy and passion for the many things she cares about. Her love for her family and friends is boundless, and her dedication to sustainability, protecting the environment and animal welfare, both wild and domestic, is a driving force in her life. Most of all, Cathy is a true friend and the most compassionate and empathetic person I’ve ever known. She will always be my best friend and I’ll always love her with all my heart!

  8. Sending you healing and strength. Thank you for your service to Westport.

  9. Bill Constantino

    Cathy, you’re truly an inspiration to all of us as you pour your heart and soul into making our town better. I love working with you at Wakeman Town Farm and we are in a better place having you on our team!

  10. Cathy, your dedication and service to Westport has been such an inspiration to me and so many others. I’ve so missed your presence at our recent RTM meetings. Thank you for your tireless passion for the Town, environment, and so many organizations who have been so lucky to have your advocacy. Sending you love, strength and admiration always. Warmly, Lisa

  11. Cathy , we’ve known each other since the kids were little. I’ve always admired your strength and all the love and commitment you show all that you love and care about
    The town and all that know you are better for having you in our lives . Sending love and healing thoughts to you
    Best , Karen

  12. Dear Cathy, You were a pleasure to work with during the years we served together on the RTM and always there to help. I hope you will recover and return to health and continue so for many happy years. You are a giver, and I wish you the goodness that you have given to others. Sending you warm thoughts and best wishes,
    Judy

  13. Cathy is a tireless, committed volunteer who continues to make Westport a great place. On the RTM she has been a powerful influence, among other things continuing as a sponsor of the leaf blower ordinance. She is a fighter and an inspiration.

  14. Wendy Goldwyn Batteau

    Cathy is a great warm-hearted smart and creative-thinking person who has devoted herself in an unassuming way to make Westport the town that people now find so great. She has worked so hard through her time here to better everything. We began serving on the RTM at the same time – almost 16 years ago – and she never once flinched from the hard work of putting her great ideas into action, standing her ground but never seeking recognition. She is a wonder of a model. Love you, Cathy.

  15. Cathy is one of the finest people I have met through the RTM or otherwise. She has given so much to so many for so long. Wishing her all the best.

  16. Cathy has inspired me and countless others to give back to our community. With a bright smile and full of optimism-you can count on her to achieve anything. You’ve got this Cathy-we are here for you!!

  17. Seth Braunstein

    Cathy is a great example for our community. She has stepped up to serve over and over again simply to help make things better. She has been a driving force in helping make WTF a town jewel and has served on the RTM over many years as one of the most respected and admired voices! Cathy has inspired me and most of all I feel fortunate to have her as a friend.

  18. I will never forget my first interaction with Cathy. It was Family Fun Day at Wakeman Town Farm many years ago when she welcomed me with the warmest smile and a BBQ spatula and we slung burgers and buns all day. I remember thinking, “this lady is one helluva force”, but I had yet to see her in full action as such a powerful leader at WTF. She may even be considered one of the first ‘Influencers’ given how deeply respected she continues to be by our entire WTF team. And we continue to be with you,Cathy❤️

  19. This is a fitting tribute to a wonderful person. Cathy is the epitome of the “WoW” factor – Women of Westport – who quietly gets things done to make our community a great place to live. Her devotion to Wakeman Town Farm and the RTM are just a few examples of her many contributions to Westport. We are fortunate to have her.

  20. Kristin Schneeman

    Cathy, we’ve missed you at RTM meetings, where you are always a quiet bit firm moral compass for the rest of us. I hope you feel the love and support of so many people, some of whom you know well and some not at all. We have all benefitted from your compassion, tireless work, and dedication to making our town better.

  21. Cathy – RTM members like you are such incredible role models for newbies like me! Thinking of you and sending you best wishes for healing and strength.

  22. Cathy, beyond being an all around kind, terrific, “get things done” kind of person, you exemplify the power and impact that a devoted committed individual can bring to a community. And as you see from all the comments here, that community loves you back and stands with you. Thank you for all you do and take good care.

  23. Cathy, I became friends with you, through our both being members of the Board of the Friends of Sherwood Island State Park. My first awareness of your quiet tenacious work style was your challenging 2010 creation with Liz Milwe of the educational Three Sisters Garden that continues to thrive outside the Park’s Nature Center. During your multiple terms, you were a liaison and shared insights from your important work with other local environmental venues, including Earthplace and Wakeman Town Farm. Above all, I treasure our golden personal friendsip that has evolved to include Tom and your pets!

  24. You are leaving quite a mark on this town, Cathy.. and on me
    Love and Strength and PEACE to one ( very cool chick!)
    Wakeman Town Farm will always remind me of you✨✨✨

  25. Cathy has been an important person in my life for over forty years. First as a fellow student in business school where she was a top student and always my first choice as a project partner. We were together at Time Warner for twenty years where she was a most talented and respected colleague. Most of all Cathy is a splendid human being who has brought joy to my life. She is a treasured friend.
    Cathy, I love you.
    Michael Ancel

  26. Cathy you will always be the person that I aspire to be: kind, smart, insightful, filled with humor and above all full of grace. Thank you for your friendship! Xoxo Susan

  27. Anne Burmeister

    Cathy, you are a mentor and a friend. I aspire to emulate your conviction in your beliefs, your leadership within your community and your grace among us all. One of my special memories with you was when we once went on a road trip to, literally, see a man about a sheep. We met a good farmer and took care of the sheep, but what I remember about that trip is the hours we got to talk. Sometimes life brings you these special gifts, the serendipitous opportunity to connect with a wonderful human, fall into a lovely conversation and arrive at the place you are going knowing it was the journey that counted. much love, Anne

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