We regret to inform you of the passing of Rev. Dr. Shirley Cathie. Dr. Cathie was the Co-Founder and Co-Pastor with her husband Rev. Burton Cathie, of the Plainfield, New Jersey Community Church of God. She was a tireless servant in her community and a champion of higher education and equal opportunity.
Rev. Dr. Cathie participated in and faithfully supported the work and ministry of the National Association of the Church of God.
Please pray for Rev. Dr. Cathie’s family and the saints she loved and served across the nation. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Psalms 116:15
Rev. Dr. Shirley Seabrook – Cathie
August 5,1926 – October 16, 2017
Rev. Dr. Shirley B. Cathie was born to Govan and Matilda Thigpen-Seabrook in Baltimore, Maryland on August 5, 1926. She was the fifth of twelve children. At an early age, the family moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey where Rev. Cathie attended “segregated, but excellent schools.” On March 27, 1941, Shirley B. Seabrook and the late Rev. Burton Chadwick Cathie were united in marriage and enjoyed sixty-plus years of marital bliss before the love of her life passed away. Burton affectionately referred to his beloved wife, both privately and publicly as his “Queen.” To this union, two daughters were born: Rev. Carolyn Patricia Cathie-Waddy-Reid and Chaplain Shirley Bernice Cathie-Garrett. Both daughters followed their parents by establishing successful ministries of their own.
Dr. Cathie believed in educational excellence and lifelong learning. She earned her G.E.D., followed by a Bachelor of Science degree from New Jersey State’s Rutgers University; a Master of Arts in Education from Montclair State University and a Doctorate in Education from Rutgers University. Dr. Cathie continued her studies and in May 1993, she received a Master of Theology degree from Drew University, graduating Cum laude from this institution. After graduation from Drew, Dr. Cathie enrolled in and completed the Graduate Study Program at Blanton Peal Institute for Religion and Health in New York City.
A woman of diverse and multiple talents, Dr. Cathie was a full-time instructor for Rutgers, the State University, Douglass College and University College. She also served as both state and regional Education Consultant for the New Jersey State Department of Education and the New York City School District that included securing funding for numerous projects and programs through her proposal writing skills. Dr. Cathie was appointed by then Plainfield Mayor Richard L. Taylor and the Union County College Board as the first Director of the Plainfield Branch of Union County College, which still exists today from her initial work as its Director.
A deeply spiritual woman, Rev. Dr. Shirley Cathie served as Co-Pastor/Co-Founder of the Plainfield New Jersey Community Church of God with her late husband, Pastor Burton Cathie, for more than fifty years. In the early days, she faithfully/joyfully served the church as Chief Custodian, Cook, Choir Director/Vocalist, Sunday School Teacher and First Lady. Needless to say, Pastors Burton and Shirley served the Lord and his people with loyal hearts and were an awesome twosome!!! In addition, in the early 1970’s Dr. Cathie recorded two albums entitled “The Cathie Trio Sings Hymns of Faith and Trust” and “Lord I Need You – Walk With Me” with her daughters. They traveled and sang together as “The Cathie Trio.” “Dad often accompanied us – preaching the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and occasionally, proudly singing the solo part of one of his favorite songs entitled “Where Could I Go but to the Lord?”
Ultimately upon Pastor Burton Cathie’s retirement, Dr. Shirley Cathie accepted the challenge to serve the church as Pastor. On January 2, 1994, Rev. Dr. Cathie was installed as Senior Pastor of the Plainfield (NJ) Community Church of God by the Church of God New Jersey State Ministerial Association. She served as Senior Pastor until her retirement. Dr. Cathie also served the New Jersey Ministers organization as Vice President and held the distinction as the first woman elected to this statewide ministerial position. She was also elected and served as National Spiritual Life Coordinator for Women of the
National Church of God, Anderson, Indiana. As Co-Convener with her daughter, Rev. Carolyn Patricia Cathie-Waddy-Reid, she summoned the Annual Ministers Wives and Widows Conference at West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, under the National Association of the Church of God. Rev. Dr. Cathie served the National Church of God as Lecturer, Author, and Workshop Leader, often with her daughter, Chaplain Shirley Bernice Cathie-Garrett, and as Preacher, Teacher and Consultant. Rev. Shirley served as a Board member of Church Extensions of the National Church of God, Anderson, Indiana. She served nationally as the North-East Regional Coordinator for Women of the Church of God (Currently, Christian Women Connection) in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. She and her family visited and served the Churches of God in Durban and Cape Town, South Africa, representing the National Missionary Board of the Church of God, Anderson, Indiana.
As a world traveler, Dr. Cathie toured and participated in a work-study project in El Salvador with a team from Drew University’s School of Theology where she interacted with members of the “Peoples Liberation Movement,” various other educators, ministers and indigenous families. As Educator and Spiritual Advisor, she traveled throughout the United States; Bermuda; Russia; London, England; France; South Africa; West Africa; Germany; Italy; Guyana; The Caribbean Islands; Spain; Mexico and The Holy Land, often accompanied by her beloved family and other colleagues.
As a volunteer and community leader, Rev. Cathie served her home community of Plainfield as a member of the Board of Education. For five years, Dr. Cathie produced and hosted a weekly television program entitled “Your Community Network.” She was an active member of Zeta Phi Beta (Eta Omicron Zeta Chapter) since the early 1980’s. She and Dr. Willa Cofield co-founded “The Black Women’s History Conference” which convened annually to support, educate and provide a forum of expression for women to share issues affecting women, families and especially the African American Community. She also founded the “Burton C. and Shirley B. Cathie Family Life Development Center” in Plainfield. She also served as President of the Union County Commission on the Status of Women
As you might imagine, Rev. Shirley Cathie’s public recognitions, citations and awards are far too numerous to list. However, a few are cited: Dr. Cathie is named “Who’s Who” in several publications of American and International career categories; received the “Distinguished Service” award in 2007 from Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education Alumni Association; On June 3, 2017, the Honorable Mayor Adrian O. Mapp officiated at a Street Naming Ceremony, changing “Church Street” to “Dr. Shirley Bernice Seabrook-Cathie Drive.” On June 3, 2017, Mayor Mapp declared June 3rd as “Dr. Shirley Bernice Seabrook-Cathie Day”!!!
Dr. Cathie will be sorely missed. She was a kind-hearted, generous, loving, caring soul. She was a real woman of God. A trail blazer. An encourager. A motivator. A champion and advocate for women and children. She fought for the disenfranchised and the displaced. By all accounts, she was indeed a Proverbs Thirty-One Woman; a living legend; a phenomenal woman!!!
Shirley was preceded in death by her parents, Govan and Matilda Thigpen-Seabrook; husband, Rev. Burton C. Cathie; siblings – Paul Seabrook; Alfred Seabrook; Dorothy Seabrook-Lee; Mary Seabrook-Beverly; Gerrylyn Seabrook-Banfield; Delores Seabrook-Jenkins; Gloria Seabrook-Lomax; Ellen Seabrook; Evelyn Seabrook; and Barbara Seabrook-Woodo; nephews: Augustus (“Nicky”) Seabrook; Paul Lynwood Seabrook and Sylvester Alfred Banfield.
The torch has been passed on to – Daughters: Carolyn and Shirley; Grandchildren: Calvin, Jr., (Kimberly Jenkins-Waddy), Burton, and Kimberly Clark-Waddy; Great Grandchildren: Calvin, III, Austin, Matthew, Shelby and Sydney; Sister: Estherlander Seabrook; several nieces, nephews and cousins; Goddaughter: Naomi Garrison-Bettis; a very special friend: Dr. Willa Cofield and other friends and colleagues. What an illustrious legacy our beloved “Shero” has left for us all. “In the sweet bye and bye, we shall meet on that beautiful shore!!!”
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!!! (KJV/The Holy Bible)
The educational process was one of Dr. Cathie’s passions!!! With that thought in mind, she requested that her remains be offered for research so that others may benefit from the results of what Alzheimers’ research will provide.
A special service will be held celebrating the of life and legacy of this extraordinary woman
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Calvary Baptist Church
324 Monroe Avenue
Plainfield, New Jersey 07063
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to “The Black Women’s History Conference.” co-founded by the late Dr. Cathie and Dr. Willa Cofield. All contributions will be used for college scholarships in Dr. Cathie’s honor. Contributions may be sent to Chaplain Shirley Cathie-Garret (Dr. Cathie’s daughter) at 5526 Parkshire Drive Columbus, OH 43229-9351