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Catherine Anna (Hassig) Burns
July 16, 1935 ~ October 24, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old
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Catherine Anna Hassig Burns, age 88 and resident of Huntsville for 67 years, died Tuesday at Huntsville Hospital Hospice Family Care. She was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on July 16, 1935 and married Rowland Edward Burns of New Castle, PA in Signal Mountain, TN on June 13, 1959.
Cathy was a 1953 graduate of Chattanooga High School. She graduated from the University of Chattanooga in 1957 with a B.A. in Chemistry, where she was mentored by Dr. Irvine W. Grote, inventor of the active ingredient in Rolaids. At UC, Cathy was a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, Beta Beta Beta, and Gamma Sigma Epsilon honor societies. She was a member of Alpha Delta Pi, serving as President, and was The Pi Kappa Alpha Dream Girl.
She moved to Huntsville in 1956, initially to work as a summer student with Morton Thiokol, eventually accepting a full-time position as a research chemist developing solid rocket propellant for the first lunar landing mission. When her children were born, she stayed home to raise them and taught night classes in Chemistry at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She returned to school to do post-graduate work in computer science at Alabama A&M University. She finished her career as a computer systems analyst, working for several defense contractors on Redstone Arsenal.
From a very young age, Cathy was an avid lover of music, playing the cello in several orchestras. She especially loved opera, and fondly recalled her childhood summers when she attended outdoor operas with her family in Cincinnati, OH. In her later years, she was a season ticket holder with the Atlanta Opera. She loved to cook, experimenting and inventing recipes with the spirit of a true chemist, and she never passed up an opportunity to partake of good German food and dark beer. She published a cookbook, “West Georgia Cooking,” once she retired.
Cathy also loved the outdoors, and spent many years cultivating an organic garden which was showcased on Huntsville’s Organic Garden Tour. She was happiest when she was hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or walking on quiet beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and Gulf Coast. Cathy was passionately committed to environmental protection working extensively for the preservation of the Sipsey Wilderness.
She was a member of Saint Joseph’s Catholic Mission / Church and was active in the civil rights movement in conjunction with Catholic Family Services.
She is survived by her children, Catherine Gertrude Burns Bryan and her husband Wesley Emmett (Richland, WA), Rowland Michael Burns and his wife Mary Kay (Woodville), and Susan Elizabeth Burns and her husband Kenneth Elvert Lemons (Johns Creek, GA); her grandchildren, Forrest Edward Burns, Thomas Andrew Bryan, John William Bryan, Catherine Magdalena Lemons, and Madeline Sylvie Lemons; her sister, Martha Gertrude Hassig Huskins of Chattanooga, Tn., and many nieces and nephews.
Catherine was preceded in death by her husband of 47 years, her parents Carl Herman Hassig and Catherine Magdalena Dorst Hassig Meacham, and her brother, Carl Warren Hassig.
Arrangements are being handled by Spry Funeral Home of Huntsville with burial at a later date in Chattanooga Memorial Park in Chattanooga, TN.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to:
the North Alabama Chapter of the Autism Society of America, PO Box 2902, Huntsville, Alabama 35804 or
the Land Trust of Huntsville and North Alabama, 907 Franklin Street, Huntsville, Alabama 35801 or The Shepard Stroke Rehabilitation and Therapy Center, 2020 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, Ga., 30309.
The family wishes to thank the staffs of Huntsville Hospital ICU, Orthopedic, and Hospice Family Care for their compassionate care.