Catherine Wood Pember, 90, of Valdosta, GA, passed away September 26, 2013. She and her late husband, Joseph W. Pember, both resided their final years at the Fellowship Home at Brookside senior living facility in Valdosta. Mrs. Pember was the youngest daughter of Mary Treanor Wood and James Herbert Wood of Athens, GA.
Many early endeavors shaped Catherine's colorful life. Several women in the family, including older sister Margaret Wood Miller, joined the war effort of WWII. Catherine joined the ranks and put her college studies on hold to serve in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) as an Air Operations Specialist, preparing flight schedules for pilots. During her service she was awarded the World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. Her period of service was July 1944 to June 1948. In conversation, she often recalled stories from this extraordinary period.
Catherine returned to civilian life in summer of 1948 and earned a degree in Home Economics and Child Development from the University of Georgia. She went on to teach elementary school in the towns of Douglas, Morven, and Valdosta, GA. While in Douglas, she was distinguished for teaching the first-ever-classes for handicapped children in the State of Georgia. She often gave the encouragement to students and family, "It's your life, do what you feel is right."
During this period of teaching, she met her late husband Joseph, a Professor at Valdosta State College. Mrs. Pember is survived by her four children: James Pember (and wife Patricia) of Denver, CO; Berta Pember Bennett of Valdosta; Mary Pember Dennis of Madison, FL; and Tom Salter Pember of Panama City FL. Five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren include: Joshua Irvin Bennett, his wife Kimberly, and their two children Logan and Alexis; Joseph Orion Bennett, Shawn Jacob Bennett of Valdosta; Christopher Normandeau Dennis of Asheville, NC; Catherine McKinley Dennis of Valdosta. Other survivors include cousin Joseph Miller of Athens, GA.
A small, private memorial service will be held in Valdosta. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Mission by the Sea church in Alligator Point (772 Alligator Drive, Alligator Point, FL 32346) or the Fellowship Home at Brookside senior living facility in Valdosta (470 Fellowship Home Road #303, Valdosta, GA 31602-6008). Carson McLane Funeral Home is in serving the family of Mrs. Pember. Condolences may be made online at www.mclanecares.com.
Carson McLane Funeral Home
2215 North Patterson Street