My Family

The Fitts-White Clinic in Jackson, Tennessee

I have had a number of recent requests about my family background.  I thought I would provide a collection of information which will help you understand why I value my family.

One of my relatives wrote a letter to their Congressman many years back that described my family.  Here is a modified excerpt:

Catherine comes from a family of Democrats and Republicans with a long-standing tradition both as public officials and private citizens of active involvement with federal, state, and local government.

  • Her late maternal great-grandfather organized the Pennsylvania Dairy Association and served as the Secretary of Agriculture of Pennsylvania. (more here)
  • Her late  maternal grandfather, as dean of the Wharton School, conducted research which paved the way for the first unemployment offices in Pennsylvania. (See also.)
  • Her late paternal grandfather and step-grandfather, medical partners, working with our great uncle, then a U.S. Senator, brought penicillin to Tennessee and founded the Fitts-White Clinic in Jackson, Tennessee.
  • Her late father, as chief of surgery at Penn Medical School, used the specialty he acquired serving the China-Burma-India Theatre in World War II to regionalize the treatment of trauma throughout the country.  Click here to see a photograph.

  • Her late mother founded a nursery school in Philadelphia and served at the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank and as editor of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Bulletin.
  • Her late step-mother worked to ensure women were appropriately represented on Tennessee juries.
  • One of her late uncles, an academic surgeon, founded the first organ bank in South Carolina.
  • One of her uncles, a retired business school professor counseled on alternatives to violence in New Hampshire’s schools and prisons and served as a pilot in WWII. (Update Here)
  • One of her uncles, a former Navy SEAL, trained also as an engineer and lawyer, served Tennessee directly as chief architect, making sure its public buildings are safe, functional, and attractive. His obituary is here Michael Austin Fitts .

My family is full of hardworking, giving people. Their lives and accomplishments have been an example to me of the importance of strong families. As we go through a time of uncertainty and change, remember to reach out, support and lift up the members of your family, particularly those in the next generation.