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“I first met Catherine on her visit to Waterford, Ireland many years ago when she came seeking out Irish relatives. I remember fondly my visit to...Read More »
1 of 12 | Posted by: Sean Dower - Dublin

“Dr. Catherine Dower was one of the biggest influencers in my life. She was an extremely gifted musician, scholar, humanitarian and those of us...Read More »
2 of 12 | Posted by: Susan Burns Van Abs - Canaan, NH

“Catherine Dower has wielded an influence of unusual force and scope in the musical life of our great Westfield State University. It is perhaps as a...Read More »
3 of 12 | Posted by: Peter Demos - Westfield, MA

“I will miss talking to you on the phone dear friend of 47 years and seeing you at different functions. You are one in a million first class highly...Read More »
4 of 12 | Posted by: cheryl paradise - Swampscott, MA

“I regret I am in Florida and unable to attend services for Catherine She and my hysband were classmates at SouthHadley High School.and she and I...Read More »
5 of 12 | Posted by: Barbara Bernard - Holyoke, MA

“Catherine and I met years ago when we learned that we shared the same name. She was an amazing person: kind, witty and generous. She inspired me to...Read More »
6 of 12 | Posted by: Catherine Dower - Berkeley, CA

“Dr. Dower Enriched my life forever! Her passion,knowledge,teachings were incredible. I have more respect and admiration for her than any other...Read More »
7 of 12 | Posted by: Pam Bock - GRANBY, MA

“Catherine was a mentor and friend for many years.I cherish the time I spent with her. ”
8 of 12 | Posted by: Marlene Asselin Curran - Holyoke, MA

“Catherine was an incredibly, strong, passionate, generous and talented woman who impacted thousands of people through her love of music, her passion...Read More »
9 of 12 | Posted by: Kathi Bradford - Westfield, MA

“Dr. Dower was my Music Appreciation professor at Westfield State in 1976. I had the greatest respect for her. She was a fantastic teacher and I told...Read More »
10 of 12 | Posted by: Barbara Rejniak - Southampton, MA

“Catherine's teaching will live on forever through her students. A wonderful lady with a deep commitment to her profession, religion,and to her ethnic...Read More »
11 of 12 | Posted by: george counter - thomaston, CT

“Sorry to learn of Dr. Dower's passing.I was fortunate to be a member of her Westfield State Glee Club. We sang at Rockefeller Center with Richard...Read More »
12 of 12 | Posted by: Janet Stache - chicopee, MA


HOLYOKE: Dr. Catherine A. Dower, beloved sister of Paul W. Dower, passed away peacefully on Friday, February 17, 2017 in Holyoke. Catherine's kind spirit touched so many people, home and abroad, as an educator, scholar, author, poet, social advocate, volunteer, philanthropist and caring individual. She devoted her life to others, and aspired to excellence in all that she did. After graduating from South Hadley High School and spending two years studying piano and organ at the Elms College with her aunt, Sister Lawrence Marie (Catherine I. Dower) SSJ, Catherine went on to earn an undergraduate degree in music composition from Hamline University in 1945, a master of arts degree in musicology from Smith College in 1948, and a Ph.D. degree, with distinction, from Catholic University in 1968. She went on to write several books and articles, and was a passionate researcher of music from Ireland and Puerto Rico, as well as of the early music of the Catholic Church, Gregorian Chant. Catherine enjoyed studying at the Solesmes Benedictine Abby in France where she discovered what she called "the most beautiful music on Earth." Her breadth as a scholar led her to write other books including those of influential yet underrepresented women in music, of Renaissance music from the Sistine Chapel Codices, and of the first 50 years of the Holyoke St. Patrick's Parade, for which she passionately volunteered her time and energy for many years. Catherine maintained a very strong faith, and was active at her church, Our Lady of the Holy Cross, and with its affiliated school, Mater Dolorosa.
Catherine began her close relationship with Westfield State University in 1956, and over the following 60 years built an unmatched legacy of academic and artistic excellence, social justice, gender equality, and selfless kindness. She served as a professor of music history and literature, director of the Glee Club, chair of the Music Department, and professor emerita. She inspired her students to dream big and to expand their world, as she famously traveled with her students to perform in the nation's capital, in New York City, and abroad. Catherine's legacy to Westfield State was further strengthened as she became the first woman to have a campus academic building named in her honor, the Catherine Dower Center for the Performing and Fine Arts. Catherine was a proud member of Phi Beta Kappa, the nations oldest academic honor society, and she belonged to the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. She was a founding member and served as president for the Council for Human Understanding and was recognized with the Human Relations Award in 2016. She was a founding member of the Massachusetts chapter of the Irish American Cultural Institute, and she served on the board of directors for the Hispanic Institute of Holyoke. She has served for many years as president and member of the Friends of the Holyoke Public Library. Catherine is survived by her brother and was predeceased by her mother, Marie (Barber) Dower, her father Lawrence Dower, her sister Frances Dower, and her husband Dr. Arthur Gold. A celebration of Catherine's life will take place at Westfield State University later this spring. Memorial contributions can be made to the Westfield State Foundation Inc., in support of the Catherine Dower Music Scholarship, Office of Institutional Advancement, P.O. Box 1630 Westfield Massachusetts, 01086-1630. Family and friends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial on Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. in Our Lady of the Cross Parish Church, 23 Sycamore Street in Holyoke. Burial will follow in St. Rose Cemetery, South Hadley. There are no calling hours. The Barry J. Farrell Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.