CATHRYN ANN (GRAYSON) CLARK was born on October 8, 1943 in Memphis, Tennessee to the union of Clayton and Bessie Grayson. Her parents moved to Detroit when Cathryn was six months old. She was affectionately known as Cat and was the only child of this union.
Her parents preceded her in death.
Cat’s parents simply adored their daughter and they saw to it that she had the best they could give her. Cat attended the Detroit High School of Commerce, a premier high school in the city during that time. Cathryn earned her high school diploma in January, 1961. She used her business training to obtain various positions. She worked as a medical secretary at a doctor’s office, not realizing that one of the patients would become her future mother-in-law. This patient insisted that Cat had to meet her son who had been in the Navy. Earl accompanied his mother, Alma, to one of her doctor’s appointments and soon after began the courtship of EARL AND CATHRYN and the rest is history.
Cat was hired by the Ford Motor Company—The Glass House in Dearborn, Michigan. She was one of the first African American women to work in a corporate office at Ford. Many of the young ladies who graduated from Commerce were the first wave of African American professionals hired in the automotive industry as well in City, County, and State government offices. Cathryn furthered her education by attending the Detroit College of Business, which is now known as Davenport University, where she received a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1986.
As a child, Cat joined Friendship Baptist church under the leadership of Pastor Louis Johnson. Cat participated in many church auxiliaries: Usher Board, the College Boosters and was Chairperson of the Pastors Aide. Cathryn worked as secretary to Pastor White and the church.
On October 16, 1971, Cathryn Grayson was united in Holy Matrimony with Earl LaMar Clark at Friendship Baptist Church. Even though they did not have any children, over the years they mentored and nurtured many young people. Cat has several God children who affectionately refer to her as “Aunt Cat.”
Over the years, Cat experienced several illnesses. During these times, Earl cared for her and took her to her appointments. Earl would smile and say, “I’m driving Miss Daisy”. Cat eventually regained her health and strength. During this time, Cat began working at Friendship Baptist Church. She and Earl travelled and entertained family & friends and they thoroughly enjoyed their life together. Earl was Cat’s devoted husband until his death in 2009.
Cat’s friends always looked forward to attending the Annual Boat Race parties which she and Earl hosted during the summer. She also hosted an annual Christmas brunch for friends and her Commerce classmates. For many years, Cat and Earl, along with their Berry Subdivision neighbors hosted an all-day Sunday brunch. This brunch began as Cat’s idea. She literally turned their back yard into a festival of food, beverages, and games for the kids and adults. Cat’s brunch was lovingly referred to as the “Fiske Catering Company”.
After Earl’s passing, Cat commemorated each anniversary by doing something special as not to forget his devotion to her. Cathryn often would say how much she missed Earl.
On the evening of May 2, 2018, Cathryn and Earl were reunited. Cat leaves to cherish her memory: her Friendship Baptist Church family, The Davita Dialysis team, The High School of Commerce Alumni Association and Classmates of the Class of 1961, friends and neighbors of the Berry Subdivision, SWAV (Sisters With A Vision), God children: Alicia Ozier, Wellesley Ozier, and Monica Kleszcz, care-givers: Ann Clark, Chris Sims, and Emma White, her devoted housekeeper: Panola Henderson, The Clark family, and many, many special friends whom she loved.
In lieu of flowers:
Donations would be appreciated on behalf of Cathryn Ann Clark to:
Friendship Baptist Church Culinary Department
Friendship Baptist Church Herman Jackson Scholarship Fund
Commerce High School Alumni Association