Catherine Carlin (97) passed away November 2, 2016. She was born February 17, 1919, to Tjeerd (George) and Altje (Alice) Nienhuis and was the fourth of eight children in her Dutch immigrant family, homesteaded near Lawton, North Dakota.
In her youth, Catherine studied nursing, worked in a hospital and later in a music store. She and her sisters Fennie and Fencine formed the Sacred Melodies trio, performing in churches, campmeetings, and revivals. Catherine played mandolin, while Fennie played guitar as accompaniment. From their youth to their later years (as late as their eighties), they embraced the opportunity to sing together.
When Catherine’s parents retired to Galt, California, she moved with them. Prior to the move, Catherine met the man she would marry. Their families gathered in North Dakota to study Scripture, sing on the Sabbath, and play games together Saturday night. She appreciated the Carlin family, and especially Albert’s dedication to serving God and interest in music. They married while he was on leave from serving in Japan near the time of the Korean War.
The Carlins lived a short time in Japan, then in Bakersfield, California, where Albert began a residency. In 1952 they traveled across country with Paul, their toddler, to Stanberry, Missouri. Within a month, they welcomed their second child, Janice. Elizabeth and Ann were born in the busy years that followed.
Catherine saw her primary role as wife and mother, and hospitality was a lifelong gift she generously shared, welcoming her children’s friends, family, church members, and Bible college students.
While Catherine loved being a homemaker and rearing her children, she also actively supported her husband in his medical practice. She assisted in the clinic with patient care and office duties, and fielded phone calls in the evenings and on weekends — all while keeping up with gardening, canning, milking cows, and feeding horses and sheep.
Inspired by her great appreciation for music, especially sacred and gospel music, Catherine and her husband sang many duets, often at funeral services. She also recorded an album with her sisters in the Sacred Melodies.
Catherine took her faith in God seriously. In the early days of their marriage, she memorized Scripture at her husband’s encouragement, and she passed that encouragement on to her children and grandchildren. Every breakfast and dinner in their home included a devotional of Bible reading and a chorus sung together.
Throughout her life, Catherine knelt beside her bed nightly to pray for her children, grandchildren and their families, friends in need, as well as for leaders in the church and government. One of her favorite scriptures was 2 Chronicles 7:14.
Catherine was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 55 years, her brothers (Edward and Matthew), and her sisters. She was comforted in her last days as all her children and grandchildren gathered to sing, read Scripture, hold her hand, and share their love.
Catherine is survived by her children Paul (Pat) Carlin, Janice Smith, Elizabeth (Ken) Keim, and Ann Grape, as well as by her sister Alice Sheffield, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.