Sunday, November 25, 2001

Century-old woman active
in community

Catharine Field / 1898-2001


By Diana Leone

John D. Field was one of Catharine Pratt Field's biggest fans when in 1928 she helped start Central Union Church's "cooperative kindergarten," which became today's Central Union Preschool.

After all, as her second son, he was able to go to school and be with his mom at the same time, Field recalled yesterday. "She was always there for me," he said.

Catharine Pratt Field, 103, died Thursday at Arcadia Retirement Residence. She was a descendant of Dr. Gerritt Judd, who came to the islands from Massachusetts with the early missionaries.

Central Union Church honored her on her 102nd birthday as its longest-standing member, having joined in 1913.

Field was known as a devoted mother, gardener, hostess and volunteer. She assembled historical data for the University of Hawaii Library after World War II, served as an American Association of University Women president and chaired the Community Chest islandwide fund drive. She was a graduate of Punahou School and Smith College in Massachusetts.

In a late 1999 interview, then-101-year-old Field called the prospect of living in three centuries "amazing."

"I've seen a lot of changes. The electronic age came about since I was born," she said.

She was born in June 1898, the same year her family's summer home "Makaalamihi" was built.

Summers at Kapunahala were among Field's fondest childhood memories.

"We walked along telephone ridge over the Pali from Nuuanu to Kaneohe," Field said.

In addition to John, Field is survived by her other son, Harry P. Jr., brother Kenneth Pratt, seven grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Graveside services will be held 11 a.m. Wednesday at Oahu Cemetery.

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