Cathryn Carlyle Thompson

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Cathryn Carlyle Thompson ~ October 23, 1944 - April 9, 2021

The family is deeply saddened to announce that Cathryn died peacefully at Ed’s House Hospice in Cobourg on Friday April 9, 2021.  She is loved and will be greatly missed by her son Rory Thompson-Woodburn; her grandsons Bishop and Kingston (she was their “CC”); her partner Ian Woodburn; her brothers and sisters Janet Cover, John Cover (Maureen), Martha Cover (David), Anne Waldon (Peter), Jeff Cover, Mary Cover (Paul); her eight nieces and nephews; her seven great-nieces and great-nephews; and her many friends and business associates.

Cathryn grew up in Long Branch and Richmond Hill – the eldest of a close-knit family of seven children.  She began her career as a Customer Service representative at Bell Canada, where she was quickly promoted to levels of increasing responsibility.  After twenty years, she left Bell to pursue a successful career as a corporate headhunter. 

Although she excelled in these roles, her true passion was for the culinary arts.  She bravely left the corporate world after launching her catering business, offering delicious and inventive menus.  A favourite among her popular  frozen dinners for busy people was  “Big Mama Chicken”, an especially spicy dish which was not for the faint of heart.  The business quickly grew to include intimate dinners for two, corporate functions, and splendid affairs for hundreds of guests.

In 1993, wishing to raise their son Rory away from Toronto, she purchased an 1840’s Heritage House in Cobourg where Ian undertook significant renovations.  Throughout, she personally selected every detail of the décor, cleverly incorporating modern elements while respecting the traditional character of the home.

In 1994, she opened the doors to her B&B, the newly restored MacKechnie House.  Her guests – many of whom became repeat visitors – were always particularly delighted by her imaginative breakfasts.  Almost concurrently  she established Cathryn Thompson Catering, where functions ranged from rustic picnics to elegant, formal weddings.

Cathryn also loved to travel.  Recent trips included Barcelona with her sister Martha, where she enjoyed experiencing the beautiful settings, visiting food markets, eating delicious tapas and drinking red wine; and Vancouver, where she danced the night away with her siblings and their spouses at her niece’s wedding.

Cathryn very much loved her family and was especially delighted when son Rory became a devoted father. She treasured her time with her grandsons Bishop (December 2017) and Kingston (January 2019), whom she adored – especially when they enthusiastically devoured  whatever she cooked for them!

Because of her genuine respect and regard, Cathryn inspired loyalty and devotion in her family, friends, co-workers, and employees. She was a gracious hostess and adept conversationalist, able to put anyone at ease.  Cathryn was also an avid reader, was especially fond of cats and horses, loved music, and had a wicked sense of humour.  “Intelligent, industrious, creative, quirky, artistic, bohemian, loving, unstoppable”  are just some of the adjectives that recur in the recollections of all who knew her.  Perhaps her dad, who affectionately nicknamed her “Stormy”,  came close to capturing her essence when he commented that “Cathryn lives life on the front burners.”

Cathryn approached her work and life with an unrelenting passion and sense of purpose.  The following description  fits her well:

The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both.                           (James A. Michener)

We are grateful to have had such a wonderful soul in our lives.   We will miss you, Cathryn.

Service Information

In accordance with Cathryn’s wishes, cremation has taken place. The family hopes to honour and celebrate her later this year, once the threat of Covid no longer prevails. In lieu of flowers, if you wish to make a donation in Cathryn’s memory, please consider Ed’s House Hospice Care Centre in Cobourg or an organization of your choice. Thank you to the kind staff at Ed’s House who were so gentle and caring with Cathryn in her final days.

Arrangements are entrusted to Fallis & Shields Funeral Home in Millbrook. To leave a message or remembrance of Cathryn, or to make a donation, please go to


My heart aches when i think of how much i miss you . You were like the sister i never had. There were no secrets. We had 50 years of a wonderful friendship. You were kind, compassionate, loving and supportive. Be at peace and we will meet again Love Beth.

Beth Rumble

So very missed. So much loved by so many. Always a part of my heart Kate. Sherry

Sherry Griffiths

My sincere condolences to Ian, Rory and extended families. May the happy memories of Cathryn sustain you all in your loss at this sad time.

Suzanne Lanctot

I was saddened to see that Cathryn had passed away. We have lost a truly wonderful soul. I remember Cathryn from her MacKechnie House days. She was such an unbelievable host. She had an air of confidence while entertaining large and small groups. Cathryn opened up her home so music lovers could lounge comfortably on her wingback chairs and enjoy intimate concerts. She left a positive impact on everyone she met. I'm so glad I had the pleasure of meeting her. Rest In Peace Cathryn

Bryan Marjoram

To Cathryn's family, I offer my condolences. Your loss is felt in so many ways as you live on... I love the pictures you chose to honour her; each one capturing the sparkle that she always aimed to generate in her work and with all those she interacted with. I have MANY special memories of our time together and much respect and admiration for her strength and courage when faced with challenges. A beautiful soul has been set free, Rest in peace Cathryn. The stories will endure.

Madeleine Thibault-Smith

Cathryn was a good friend to the annual Vintage Film Festival. In addition to publicizing our event which takes place in Port Hope and Cobourg, she also donated weekend gift certificates to her B&B for the event in the Fall. Her support was much appreciated

Frederick George Atto

Cathryn was the most beautiful loving soul. There are no words exquisite enough to express just how loved she was. Her kindness, her class, her cleverness and her caring go unrivalled. Cathryn, I will miss you deeply. Your friendship all Cherish. Your love I’ll continue to savour. My heart goes out to Rory, Ian and the little ones. Sending prayers. She was a gift to all who arrived at her door. Much love. Kimmie

Kimberly McBride

This was such a beautifully written obituary, capturing Cathryn's personable nature, her passion for the culinary arts and her love of family. We were blessed to work with her many times on staff events and weddings in our family. We will miss her.

Anne & Bill Cross

Rest well my friend, and I hope there's wine in heaven - or at least grapes, because we all know that you can work magic when you have the right ingredients.

Kevin Ward

What an beautifully written tribute to a wonderful woman. We too remember some of the amazing events we attended with Catherine at the helm. She will truly be missed.

Kim and Tom Rudd

My dearest Cathryn we had so much fun together over the last 30 years. I can still feel the touch of your hand in mine on my last visit to you. I will miss you and love you forever. See you on the other side my friend. Jayne

Jayne Duncan

My sincerest sympathies to the family of Cathryn. I remember meeting her at a function many years ago.-a beautiful soul. Hold tight to your memories. Hugs

Jayne Atkinson

I am so sorry for your lost, Ian, Rory, and all Cathryn's family and loved ones. I had the pleasure of being Cathryn and Ian's neighbour one street over for many years. I so appreciated Ian's work on my place, and their kindness and many a good conversation. I so enjoyed getting to know Cathryn and am so sad she is gone. She was a wonderfully unique and lovely person.

Moira Farr

With Broken Hearts, treasured memories come rushing back as young cousins. We fondly remember Cathryn and her brothers and sisters at the many Sunday get-togethers in Long Branch and Hamilton. Wonderful times they always were. Cathryn has been welcomed with open arms by Grandma Channing, her Mom and Dad ( Aunt Louise and Uncle Evan) and our Mom and Dad ( Aunt June and Uncle Jack). We too share in the deepest sorrow and the great loss of such an accomplished Lady, Cathryn. With sincerest condolences to the entire family. Susan, Keith and Valerie Stuart

Susan, Keith and Valerie Stuart

to Rory and Ian Shannon and I will be holding you in our thoughts and the many wonderful times the two of You spent growing up next door to each other. Your Mother contributed much and touched the lives of so many. She was so very proud of You Rory, God bless You and Your family going forward.

marcia atkinson

Dear Rory...and sons Bishop and Kingston also Ian And Cathrines family I know there are no words to dry your eyes, nor words to mend your broken hearts, so I can not give you words , empty and void of relief, for your grief. I can give you love and friendship and a faithful heart. I will be here if needed. Rory I loved your mother from the first time we met. We shared love, laughter, tears and a deep friendship!!!! I will always love her and miss her. She was my Catherine! with much love Antoinette Antoinette McBride

Murray and Antoinette McBride

Thinking of you as you mourn the loss of a wonderful, bright, hardworking and beautiful lady. We had the pleasure of dining at Mackechnie House and were always in awe of Cathryn's culinary and hosting prowess. May her kind soul rest in peace.

Rob and Lori Majdell

MacKechnie House formerly was a family property, known as Mount Fortune. Soon after Cathryn and Ian took ownership, I stopped by, aged parents in tow. I never will forget Cathryn's graciousness in the face of a busy day interrupted by strangers. I returned many times as a guest, always bringing friends or family to savour the warm hospitality of that special place. My grandaunts, maiden ladies both, ran a tea room at Mount Fortune for many years. I know they would have been delighted to feel Cathryn's warm spirit of hospitality infusing their beloved home. I offer heartfelt sympathy to Ian, Rory and all the loved ones Cathryn has left behind.

Heather Burnet

Always remembered. Always grateful. With sincere sympathy, Kate Beck & Family

Kate Beck

My heartfelt condolences to Covers near and far on the passing of your dear sister.

Lisa Jackson

You were one of my favourite people, Catherine. You are terribly missed by so many. That, I think, says it all.

Diana Cohen