June 29, 1925 – October 3, 2017
Born in Madison, WI
Resided in Lincoln, NE
Catherine Sellers Angle
Catherine Sellers Angle
June 29, 1925 – October 3rd, 2017
Catherine was born in Madison, WI to professor James L. Sellers and Nellie Kennedy Sellers, a nurse. The family soon relocated to Lincoln, where Prof. Sellers worked for the UNL history department. After graduating as a 16-year-old class valedictorian from Lincoln High, Catherine went on to study at Smith College. In her senior year of college in Northhampton, MA, Catherine’s high school sweetheart John Angle received his papers for deployment in the Army Air Force. This precipitated a hastily organized wedding on October 4th, 1945 in Catherine’s family home in Lincoln. John’s deployment was then cancelled. Catherine graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1946. The Angles then rented their first apartment in their hometown of Lincoln.
In Lincoln, Catherine split her time between volunteering and being a dedicated homemaker, while John split his time between studying to become an actuary and working at Union National Life Insurance Co. After their second child was born in 1950, the Army Air Force ordered John to deploy to Iceland as a meteorologist for over a year during the Korean War. Catherine single-handedly maintained the family home throughout this time. John subsequently worked at Woodmen Accident and Life Insurance for 20 years.
Catherine went on to become a board member of several organizations including Lincoln City Library (1959-66), Nebraska Arts Association (‘71-73), and the Head Start Committee. She was the president of the Junior League, Child Guidance Center, and volunteered with the League of Women Voters and Lincoln Public Schools. Catherine dedicated herself to remediating dyslexia throughout her lifetime; she noted, “I am thankful that my interest in children’s reading problems has given a meaningful focus in my life.”
In 1967, Catherine was elected to the Lincoln Board of Education, serving as the only female member from 1967-73. A Lincoln Journal Star article from 2015 notes that Catherine was the very first woman elected to the board. She lent her expertise to many projects therein, including: Lancaster County School Reorganization Committee, Nebraska State School Boards Association Convention Chairwoman (1971), Learning Disabilities Advisory Committee, TTT Steering Committee, Association for Children with Reading Disabilities, and Title III Reading Project, to name a few. She reluctantly resigned from her board chair to allow John to assume an executive position at Guardian Life Insurance in New York City. The Lincoln Journal Star lamented the couple’s departure in an article titled, “Moving to New York City, John Angles are Leaving Lincoln.” The author writes,“Lincoln will lose two lifetime residents and community leaders in July.”
Catherine pursued a master’s degree in Reading and Educational Psychology at NYU in addition to relentless volunteer work. Her numerous positions included: Chairwoman of Activities at Smith College Club of NYC, Jefferson Market Garden Chairwoman of Volunteers, NY School Volunteers’ Program tutor (1974-86) and most notably, active volunteer at the Orton Dyslexia Society. She took on many responsibilities within that organization, becoming president of its 1600-member New York branch, and serving on the organization’s national board. Catherine and John rejected the notion of commuting during their stay in NYC, electing instead to live within walking distance of John’s office at Guardian Life Insurance. The restrictive nature of apartment living kept Catherine from her love of gardening.
The Angles bought a home in 1988 and returned to Lincoln in ‘89. Their new home provided ample space in which to entertain their Nebraska friends and cultivate an extensive garden. Catherine continued to volunteer with Orton Dyslexia Society in their Nebraska Branch–she sponsored a parent support group for five years that hosted monthly programming at the Gere Library. Catherine, herself an expert gardener, founded and presided over UNL’s Garden Friends, part of the Nebraska Arboretum. Catherine and John were UNL foundation Trustees, establishing two endowed chairs in the history department in honor of Catherine’s father. The two were also avid supporters of Nebraska Trails.
Catherine moved to The Landing Retirement Residence following John’s death in 2008. She remained a member of many clubs including Copper Kettle, the Fortnightly, Book and Coffee, the Lighthouse, NE Statewide Arboretum, and the Wachiska Audubon Society. She revived her interest in bridge, and enjoyed Nebraska Chamber Player concerts. Catherine is survived by her daughter Margy, granddaughters Gladys and Alicia, son Jim and his wife Kate, Jim’s daughter, and her three children.
Catherine’s memorial service will occur Saturday November 18th at 11AM at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Reception to follow.
Memorials may be given to Horizon Community Foundation (https://www.horisunfoundation.org/), or the John and Catherine Angle Special Purpose Fund, c/o Lincoln Community Foundation.
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