Catherine Cole Miller passed away peacefully at her New Bern, N.C., home Dec. 16, 2018, surrounded by love after a fierce battle with metastatic breast cancer.
Born Sept. 3, 1945, in Seattle to William Edward Cole II and Mary Caroline Kane, she lived most of her life on the West Coast before relocating to New Bern in 2010 to be closer to family.
She is survived by her daughters Stephanie Watters and husband Jason of New Bern, and Christina Miller and husband Capt. Danny Mason, USN (ret.), of Papillion, Neb.; grandchildren Gavin Watters, Aaron Mason and spouse Amy, Patrick Mason and spouse Briana, Natasha Mason, Evangeline Mason and Dorthea Mason; great-grandchildren Ayden, Austyn and Adysn; as well as her brothers James Cole of Seattle and William E. Cole III of Issaquah, Wash.
Catherine was a brilliant women who graduated magna cum laude from Western Washington University after studying sociology and criminal justice and later attended Chapman University where she obtained a Master of Science in Human Resources.
Her passion for justice and advocacy paved her path to the Department of Defense, U.S. Navy, where she was appointed the first Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
She oversaw the Sexual Assault Victim Intervention Advocate program, referred to today as the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program, and worked as consultant to military leadership and as a liaison between military and civilian communities. Catherine was dedicated to and passionate about the importance of victim care, evident through the success of her program and the trust of her clients.
Catherine’s hard work and devotion earned her the respect of military and civilian leadership and the recognition as the first Department of Defense Navy Exceptional SARC of the year.
Her efforts, motivation and commitment were genuine and sincere, never giving up on fighting for what is right and inspiring hundreds of sexual assault survivors. Her work lives on today through the SARCs and advocates she trained and mentored.
Prior to her career with the DoD, she worked for the state of Washington’s Child Protective Services.
In 1975 while living in Japan, she was awarded a Base Commander’s Award following the formation of a committee to combat violence on the buses, recruiting adults to accompany and supervise children on the bus to and from school.
She wholeheartedly lived her life, giving a voice to those that needed it most, including people as well as animals, always opening her home and heart to rescue dogs and cats.
Catherine had an amazing sense of humor, an appreciation for deep, meaningful conversation and unwavering beliefs and ideologies.
She had a passion for adventure and traveled to many beautiful places throughout her life and also loved being in the crowd cheering at her grandson Gavin’s lacrosse games and wrestling matches. She will be greatly missed, but her family and friends find peace in knowing her advocacy work for those she touched and cared so deeply for lives on today.
A celebration of life was held on Thursday, Dec. 20, at Pollock Best Funeral Home, New Bern.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Catherine’s memory to Colonial Capital Humane Society in New Bern.
Her family would like to thank Dr. Bonnie Goodwin and the staff of New Bern/Pollocksville Cancer Care, Dr. Richard Gorman as well as Sabrina Gaskins with Craven County Hospice for their compassion.
Online condolences may be directed to www.pollockbest.com