October 28, 2020
Cathleen Clements, beloved mother, mother-in-law, sister, aunt, great-aunt, niece, friend and life partner, died unexpectedly on October 23, 2020, at the age of 74, in Madison, WI. Cathy was born and raised in Cashton, a small farming community in southwestern Wisconsin. Her parents were John and Beulah (Swanson) Clements. She had many aunts and uncles and had a special relationship with her aunt Beverly Swanson. She majored in English at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse where she also received master's degrees in English and special education. She minored in singing in a rock band – her big numbers being "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love." Cathy continued to sing with her Cashton friends, Mary and Theo, whenever she was back in Wisconsin. She was a special education teacher in Wisconsin and Minnesota before moving to Northfield, Minnesota with her young son, Leif Johnson, to become the chemical dependency counselor at the high school.
In 1982, Cathy attended a party in Northfield which was also attended by another of the hosts' friends, David Preminger, who was visiting from New York City. Two years later, Cathy, Leif and David moved into an apartment in Brooklyn Heights.
Cathy's first job in NYC was with the Freedom Institute for which she directed a private school program for chemically dependent students and their parents. After a few years, Cathy attended law school and upon graduating worked for Brooklyn Legal Services assisting poor families to receive public assistance benefits. Cathy then worked for the Children's Aid Society as Director of the Office of Client Advocacy and later as Deputy Director of Child Welfare and Family Services. Cathy retired a few years ago. Somewhere in there the family moved to Greenwich Village which they all loved.
Cathy was a gourmet cook and loved throwing dinner parties – large and small - but was perfectly willing to go to a restaurant at the drop of a hat. She was a voracious reader, an avid crossword puzzle solver, and loved attending theater, opera and concerts (especially John Prine and Emmylou Harris). Cathy loved her siblings and spending time with them whenever she could, in particular get-togethers with her sisters. Cathy also loved her trips to Europe with David and their annual trips to Provincetown with their Scottish terriers – Dudes, Thor, Emily Lou and Liliane.
Cathy and David had been staying in Wisconsin since March due to the pandemic when she was stricken. She is survived by Leif and his wife Heewon Sohn, her sisters Jane Clements and Christine Clements, her brothers Bob Clements and Jim Clements, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, innumerable cousins and friends, and David who cannot imagine life without her.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later day and time. The Torkelson Funeral Home of Cashton, WI, is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be offered at http://www.torkelsonfuneralhome.com.