Catharine Elizabeth Neylans was born in 1930 in Macon, Georgia. Her parents were Oscar S. Neylans, Sr. and Catharine Elizabeth Elfe Neylans. She passed away peacefully on September 7, 2020. She graduated from A. L. Miller High School for Girls and Wesleyan College in Macon. She excelled in French and Spanish as a student at these two schools and also studied abroad in Grenoble, France. She received a master’s degree from UNC Chapel Hill in 1953 and fulfilled requirements for her Ph.D. at UNC Chapel Hill in 1966. She also completed postgraduate work at Middlebury College in Vermont and studied in Madrid, Spain during a sabbatical in 1982.
In 1958 Catharine was hired as a faculty member at Flora McDonald College and started at St. Andrews Presbyterian College (SAP) when Flora McDonald and Presbyterian College combined in the fall of 1961. During her years at SAP she served as full professor in the Romance Languages, chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and chair of the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts. During the last five years she served as a visiting professor in an exchange program with the University of Cuenca in Ecuador.
In 1961 at age 31 Catharine moved to her much-loved Laurinburg. Dr. Neylans was the last surviving professor of the original St. Andrews Presbyterian College faculty. She was an active long-time member of Laurinburg Presbyterian Church.
Catharine retired from St. Andrews when she was 70 and five years later she moved to Scotia Village Retirement Community. Her 15 years at Scotia were much enjoyed as she was active in organizing and teaching in the Great Books Reading and Discussion Program and Great Courses Program. She was also a member of the Scotia Quiz Bowl Team. She enjoyed her many friendships at Scotia Village. She was called upon by industries and organizations throughout the Carolinas to assist with various French and Spanish translation and writing projects.
During her lifetime Catharine traveled many places for educational, business and pleasure purposes. One of her favorite trips was an ornithological tour to Scotland and Ireland with her friend Helen Rodgers, who was also a professor at St. Andrews. Catharine’s travels took her throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Central America and South America.
Catharine was a prolific reader and was proud that she never owned a television; however, she did on occasion watch television specials with friends, neighbors, and family. Some of her interests were the European Medieval Age, books by French, Spanish, South American, Central American and Canadian authors; cook books, nutrition, women’s rights, nature, environmental science and a host of others.
Catharine was always interested in her nieces and nephews’ educational endeavors and occupations. One great niece and one great nephew carried on their Aunt Catharine’s great interest in foreign languages in their higher education and occupations. She also kept in touch with many of her former students over the years with visits, calls and letters. She also traveled throughout North Carolina to high schools as she conducted her pedagogue duties for SAP students who were completing their Student Teaching Term. She was well known around SAP for a bread baking course she taught several years for January term. She and her 1978 class made a compilation of bread recipes titled The Whole Bread Catalogue. It was a limited edition of 125 copies and it remains sought after by graduates and folks around Laurinburg.
Catharine was preceded in death by her parents and by two brothers and their wives, Oscar Neylans, Jr (Gwen) and William E. Neylans (LaDufsie). She is survived by six loving nephews and nieces: William E. Neylans, Jr. (Valerie), Janet Bolduc (E.J.), Catharine E. Lawhon (James), Jesse Neylans, Nancy Neylans, and Susan N. Johnson (Tony). She is also survived by nine great nephews and nieces, and six great-great nephews and nieces. All reside in Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana, except for one great nephew who lives in California.
The family would like to say a special “thank you” to Catharine’s former student and family friend Philip Carey of Charlotte, North Carolina, who visited her frequently in Laurinburg and helped her with transportation and technology challenges in her later years. The family would also like to say “thank you” to the staff at Scotia Village Retirement Community who provided her with unparalleled care throughout her many years there.
Condolences may be mailed to the Neylans Family c/o Nancy Neylans at PO Box 24613 St. Simons, Georgia 31522. Also, friends may feel free to write remembrances online at www.richardbolesfuneralservice.com. The family will be grateful for any donations sent in memory of Catherine to Scotia Village Retirement Community in Laurinburg, NC, St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, Wesleyan College in Macon, GA, Laurinburg Presbyterian Church or a charitable organizations of your choice. Due to the COVID-19 era, there will only be a private family memorial gathering.
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