ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Kathleen (Kate) McAteer who passed away peacefully on Friday, January 1, 2021, a day when all four of her children were by her side throughout the day. 

Due to the pandemic we will be holding a private memorial service and burial. Arrangements are being managed by Brunswick Memorial Home https://www.brunswickmemorialhome.com/in East Brunswick, NJ. A formal obituary is below.  Our plan is to hold a Celebration of Life on Friday, July 23, 2021 -- what would have been Kate's 88th birthday.  Please save the date and we will post details as they are confirmed. 

We invite you to post stories, tributes, photos/videos of Kate.  Think of this site as a virtual space as if we were all together at some of Kate's favorite places over the years sharing a few laughs and some tears: on the beach at Long Beach Island, on the deck in the backyard at 32 Leonardine, heading to Macy's to pick up her favorite Estée Lauder supplies (that nice skin doesn’t happen on its own!), or on a long road trip in her LeBaron with the convertible top down.  

It will help all of us to read your stories, see your photos, watch any videos as we try and fill the emptiness we all are experiencing with her passing.
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Mary Kathleen (Cooke) McAteer passed away on January 1, 2021 in Wall Township, NJ. 

Known to many as Kate, she was born on July 23, 1933 in Englewood, NJ to Mary (O’Brien) Cooke and Edward Cooke.  She graduated from St. Cecelia’s High School in Englewood in 1952 and then worked for a variety of area companies (Bendix Aviation, Prentice Hall, Curtis Wright). 

She married Robert (Mac) McAteer on January 30, 1960 and together they lived in Hawthorne above her in-laws, then bought their first home in Rahway, and finally settled in South River where they spent most of their married life.  For 18 years of marriage, they raised their four children and Kate was involved in all the activities of their family: Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, a charter member of A.L.I.V.E. (families taking an active part in the religious education of their children) and the PTA.  As her children grew older, she started working as a temporary secretary locally and in 1976 went full-time at Tenneco Chemicals in Piscataway, NJ.  After her husband’s passing on January 28, 1978, Kate reduced her work at Tenneco to part-time.

Always eager to learn, Kate didn’t ignore her new unwelcomed reality as a single parent who also was facing the need to find a full-time position after an 18-year pause.  But just like any other challenge she faced in her life, she approached it head on.  In the fall of 1979, she enrolled at Middlesex County College having not been in a classroom since her graduation from high school some 30-years earlier.

For one of her first courses at Middlesex she wrote the following: “Eighteen years ago I was a secretary and found it exciting, challenging and rewarding. Today, a widow and mother of four children (who will soon be out on their own) I have to prepare for my future … the secretarial field is changing and unless I want to become nothing more than a clerk, I must acquire more skills and knowledge to meet the challenges I will face tomorrow… Now, a year later, working three days, sometimes four, being a full-time mother, homemaker, and solver of all problems, there is just enough time left, three nights a week, to attend Middlesex College and take business courses to prepare me for my future, my new life.”

Going back to school sparked her innate love of learning and meeting new people.  She went on to have a long career at IBM in Dayton and then in 1991 at the age of 58, she applied for and was appointed to a new exciting role on the “help desk” at IBM’s Sterling Forest, NY location before taking early retirement in 1998. 

Kate embraced change and new adventures even in her retirement.  She continued to work in part-time roles as she moved around the state of NJ: Hardyston, East Brunswick, Avon, Barnegat, East Brunswick (again), as well as a brief 2-year stint in Dublin, CA.  Most recently Kate lived at Sunrise in Wall Twp.  She loved working and living in communities where she could be around young people who she called “our hope for the future.”  It’s not a surprise then that many of her favorite people in the later part of her life at Sunrise were the young staff who would share with Kate stories of their own dreams, aspirations, and struggles.  During this past most challenging year Kate felt particularly close to and supported by three staff at Sunrise: Jaby, Nykia, and Qwadjo (aka Q). 

Throughout her life her ultimate focus was always to keep her family together.  While she enjoyed taking trips and cruises with friends, whenever she was asked what she wanted for her birthday or Christmas it was for her to be together with her four kids, their spouses, and her five grandchildren, her sister-in-law and her two brothers and their families.  Nothing brought her more joy than a room full of laughter, love, and storytelling with her family.

Family, for Kate,  naturally included of all her children and grandchildren’s friends as well.  She was “Kate” or Grandma Kate to our chosen extended family too.  She had plenty of love to go around and was happy to share it.

Kate is survived by her four children and their spouses: Barbara McAteer-Gruda & Werner Gruda, Brian McAteer & Kerry (Petersen) McAteer, Kim (McAteer) Kane & Brian Kane and Kevin McAteer & Tage Lilja. 

Grandma Mac will be fondly remembered by her five grandchildren Kyle McAteer, Kasey McAteer, Colleen Kane, Kevin Kane and Madi McAteer. 

Kate is also survived by her two brothers Joseph Patrick Cooke (and sister-in-law, Jane Cooke) and Edward Cooke as well as her husband’s only sibling, Barbara (McAteer) DeKorte.  She was known as Aunt Kathy or Aunt Kate, depending on the decade, to her five nieces and nephew, and all of their children, who she adored and extended her unconditional love to each of them. 

She also leaves behind her dog Sammy who has been lovingly taken care of by the Kane family as well as all of her favorite four-legged grandchildren & great-grandchildren (Daisy, Rooney, Wilson, Harley, Huck, Laney, Otis and Oahu)

Kate was predeceased by her husband Robert and her two nephews Jimmy Cooke and Garyowen Cooke.

We would often joke with Kate that the convertible she owned was really her favorite child – she loved to take a drive with the top down on a warm summer night on the Garden State Parkway listening to Willie Nelson.  As her driving days began to slow down, she found a new way to bring a smile to her face: religiously watching Steve Harvey and Family Feud every night, especially during the pandemic when there was so little to laugh about.  We all knew that if we wanted to get Kate’s attention we had to call before 7 PM when Steve would be on.  Kate found great joy in Steve Harvey’s humor and expressive comedy and she would say how fulfilling it was to get a few laughs in before bedtime. 

It turns out that Kate and Steve Harvey have something else in common: they both see the value in lifelong learning and the promise of young people, particularly those who may be facing additional barriers to their ability to advance their formal education or career.  

In lieu of flowers we ask that you honor Kate by making a donation to either the Harvey Foundation or the Monmouth University Scholarship Fund:

The Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation: https://theharveyfoundation.org/give/

The Monmouth University Scholarship Fund. Checks can be made payable to “Monmouth University” and mailed to 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, New Jersey 07764 or online at www.monmouth.edu/give by simply noting Kate McAteer in the designation field.  (This past fall Kate was an interview subject for a Sociology of Aging course at Monmouth University.  The semester-long project meant a lot to Kate who loved sharing her perspective, but she also found it thrilling to be engaged in the learning process with a younger person; they were both learning from each other, she would tell us.

Due to the pandemic, there will be a private memorial and burial under the direction of Brunswick Memorial Home, East Brunswick NJ. 

A Celebration of Life is being planned for this summer when we hope to be able to all gather together safely to honor Kate.  Until then, we invite you to please visit https://www.forevermissed.com/kathleen-mcateer to post a tribute, share a story or photos of Kate. 

Posted by Debbie Parsons on January 14, 2021
Dear Brian, Kerry, and the McAteer family,  Heaven has added an Angel; your Mom 
was such a kind person. God bless you and your family and watch over you during this most difficult time.
Your are in our thoughts and prayers,
Debbie & Kenny Parsons
Posted by Dan Mahoney on January 11, 2021
To Brian and your family, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother.

I am sorry, I did not know Mrs. McAteer but I do know her son Brian very well. He was my boss at CommVault for 10 years, and he was a really great boss and a very good man. So I know his mother raised a great son. 

I offer my deepest condolences and prayers from his favourite Canadian and I send my prayers of love and support to you and your family in New Jersey.

Dan Mahoney
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada
Posted by Laura Post on January 11, 2021
My deepest sympathy to you all. Thinking of Kate now makes me smile...always the voice of reason as we were growing up. So kind, caring, and always ready to listen. I have such a heavy heart thinking of her now, and all the time we spent together many years ago....in laughter and tears. Kate was always there to talk around the kitchen table, and there to greet me coming in from CT - to stay as long as I wanted to..I always felt welcomed. When Kate asked how I was doing...she really wanted to know and was ready to listen. Kate was truly a wonderful person to me and I will cherish those memories with her.
Posted by Linda Hartig on January 9, 2021
Kate, forever young beyond her years. An example to us all of the power of unconditional love and an open and curious mind. She was a surrogate Mom to many, including me. Her energy, humor, and caring outreach will be missed, but not forgotten. Love and strength to all of you
Posted by Mary Shortridge on January 9, 2021
Deat McAteer Family,
We’re always looking for the right words to say to family or friends when someone we love leaves us for a better place.
I truly can empathize with how you are feeling. When my mom passed, a wise and dear friend approached me and said, “It takes about a year” He just kept repeating this statement. He didn’t say what takes about a year, he just kept repeating it... He hugged me and walked away. I sat there perplexed for awhile then realized he meant the grieving process. Grieving is different for everyone. I would find myself sitting at a red light and my mom would come to mind. Tears would fill my eyes and then a smile would follow. I loved these moments because it felt like she was still with me, she always will be as Kate will always be with all of you.
Kate was an extraordinary and awesome person and she raised extraordinary and awesome children. Love, Mary Lepucki Shortridge xo
Posted by Michelle Rizzi on January 5, 2021
Dear Kevin, Kim, Brian, Barb and family,
   I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother and grandmother. Mrs. McAteer was the gentlest and sweetest person and my heart is full of sadness, gratitude, admiration and love for her. Every time I saw her in the years since Leonardine Avenue, it felt like home to me --wherever she was. And she always seemed so happy to see us and hear about the kids. I remember how years ago I couldn’t wait for her to see our red-headed, brown eyed baby.
   As the years passed, I came to realize how oblivious I was to all that your mom was bravely managing as Kevin and I wore out a path between our houses (around the well : ). Your house was a second home to Michael and me playing, watching tv, swimming and eventually just hanging out (when Mum Mum wasn’t there!). I guess your mom was so kind and welcoming that Bobby left our house and walked through your front door when he was a toddler!
   There’s so much to cherish about Mrs. McAteer - past and recent memories with her, her ability to live with grace and faith, and the wisdom she lovingly gave. There is no doubt she made this world better and I was blessed to have a small part of her in my life. With love and sympathy, Michelle, Ken, Ethan, Tess & Zach
Posted by Sharon Witkowski on January 5, 2021
Dear McAteer Family,
Our sincere condolences to you all.
Heaven has added an Angel; your Mom was such a kind and beautiful woman.
There are many SR memories and good times we remember and they will always make us smile. 
We are so happy we knew Kate, Mrs. Mac.
Her legacy lives on in your whole wonderful family.
Love, Sharon and Jim Witkowski family
Posted by Sean O'Brien on January 5, 2021
At 49 with two kids in college, the very last burden you needed was another young adult in the house... even worse, it was me. Through the summer of 1982 you joyfully shared everthing and became my second mother. Always willing to see the humor in our crazy antics but never afraid to give us hell when we were too far off track. Most memorable were the cherished conversations full of sincere guidance and a belief in me that only a true mom could provide.
You lived your best life and your bright smile will be with me forever!
God Bless.
Posted by Jaby Wellington on January 4, 2021



I’m so sorry To all the family for your loss. I’m sending prayers and comfort to all the family members in this difficult time. Please except my deepest condolence my love goes out to all. I’m going to miss her laughter and the time we spent together. The stories she shared and tell me about her amazing kids. Then I get to meet the kids and I see what Kate was talking about the love the show for there mother. I used to admired how Kevin call every night to check on his mom. On Sundays all the kids will call on video call even though I wasn’t there on Monday’s when I get in to visit her she will tell me about the talk with the kids. She would just light up whenever she talk about the kids. I was heartbroken to hear that Kate passed away it just didn’t seems real. Kate’s not here anymore but I know will never be forgotten.
Posted by Kevin McAteer on January 4, 2021
On behalf of Claire McNulty Logan of Pleasanton, CA - a friend of Barb's and then Kevin but let's be honest, she really saw Kate as her first "McAteer" friend:

Kate was amazing. I first met her a few weeks after moving to CA and she could sense my vulnerability at the new juncture. She stepped right up and read the room and lovingly gave me a lift. We would chuckle a LOT at our east coast accents that stood out a bit. Barb will remember when 7 year old Charlie did a mean impression of Kate and Kate LOVED it. She was so smart, intuitive, kind, forthright and not afraid to ruffle a feather or 2 to get you on the right path. She was always her authentic self and I admired your sibling respect and unabashed love for her even when she was calling you out or expecting more. Kate was a very dear and important light for me at a time I really needed it. Your family love and devotion to her was a model for all of us. The pictures and the stories are fabulous. She was strong and VERY funny. Thanks for sharing her with me Kevin McAteer and Barb! So sorry for your family it comes at this time . Wishing you joyful memories
Posted by Joseph Saronge on January 4, 2021
Had met mum a couple of days and it struck me to be a God led person for she gave me a Holy Rosary . Something that I will always treasure. You are up there and we will all join you some day.
Posted by Tricia Kopczewski on January 3, 2021
Barbara, Brian, Kim, and Kevin,  
 
Our deepest condolences to you all and your loved ones during this very difficult time. Your mother was an amazing woman. We are all so fortunate to have been able to see your mother over the last few years. I must go through all of our old slides (dating ourselves here) and find the many photos of us growing up and all the good times we had. I am confident there will be many of your mom. I will make a point to find a way to look through those this year and share them with you all. For now, I hope all the photos I am sending give you joy. That is what your mother was to me, just a joy! We loved her. We are all with you now and while you will grieve, remember to also celebrate her. She was remarkable.

Tricia, Gwynn, Pat, and Cathy

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Debbie Parsons on January 14, 2021
Dear Brian, Kerry, and the McAteer family,  Heaven has added an Angel; your Mom 
was such a kind person. God bless you and your family and watch over you during this most difficult time.
Your are in our thoughts and prayers,
Debbie & Kenny Parsons
Posted by Dan Mahoney on January 11, 2021
To Brian and your family, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother.

I am sorry, I did not know Mrs. McAteer but I do know her son Brian very well. He was my boss at CommVault for 10 years, and he was a really great boss and a very good man. So I know his mother raised a great son. 

I offer my deepest condolences and prayers from his favourite Canadian and I send my prayers of love and support to you and your family in New Jersey.

Dan Mahoney
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada
Posted by Laura Post on January 11, 2021
My deepest sympathy to you all. Thinking of Kate now makes me smile...always the voice of reason as we were growing up. So kind, caring, and always ready to listen. I have such a heavy heart thinking of her now, and all the time we spent together many years ago....in laughter and tears. Kate was always there to talk around the kitchen table, and there to greet me coming in from CT - to stay as long as I wanted to..I always felt welcomed. When Kate asked how I was doing...she really wanted to know and was ready to listen. Kate was truly a wonderful person to me and I will cherish those memories with her.
her Life

IBM

Kate loved to work. And that was often recognized by her colleagues.  She kept this photo from an IBM conference in Dallas and would often refer to it. It was the National Secretarial Council held November 13-15, 1989. 

 Like anyone else she talked a bit more about visiting Dallas as opposed to the actual work conference but it was clearly a proud moment for her to be invited to this national council for the company.  And look at her front and center with a big smile!

and yes, this was part of her “Kathy” period.  Ask Brian Kane about that story someday. 

in Her Own Words: When Kate met Mac

The following is a quote from a transcript of an interview between a Monmouth University student and Kate in Fall 2019 as part of the Sociology 397 Course: The Sociology of Aging:


"We were going to these parties. I knew the girl that ran some of them, so I got tickets to sell to family, friends, whoever wanted to go.  I think the place is still there but I can't remember the name of it.  It was a public swimming pool.  I worked at Curtis Wright and I told this one woman who knew a lot of the young fellas in Hawthorne, so she passed on the word and said they were good guys so I said ok, you can give the tickets to them.  

So I think the tickets you get one drink or maybe two. I can't remember.  It is funny.  Then the first time after that, I asked him to come back, so he did with a couple of his other buddies [the student writing the paper for the class noted in this section "Kate smiling from cheek to cheek"].  He was a nice guy.  

in Her Own Words: Kate's favorite quality about herself

The following is a quote from a transcript of an interview between a Monmouth University student and Kate in Fall 2019 as part of the Sociology 397 Course: The Sociology of Aging:


"Liking people.  Seeing the good in everybody.  We all have do it.  Sometime you get very angry. I know I have.  I upset myself more than anyone else because I know that's not right.  But you try, little by little"
Recent stories

Kate and my convertible.

Shared by Dennis Curry on January 7, 2021
During one of Kate's San Francisco visits, Kevin told her I had just bought a 2006 BMW convertible. Kate, being a convertible kind of gal, told Kevin she wanted to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge with me before she left for Jersey. And told Kevin to ask me--I wasn't I had the option to refuse. When we met up in the Marina, Kate was bundled up and donning a silk scarf. We talked and laughed the whole way over and back while Kevin took pictures from the rear seat. Kate tried to include him in the conversation, but the wind was too loud so he couldn't hear a thing. I had a great afternoon with Kate...and that guy in the back seat.

Stories of learning to drive and her first car

Shared by Kevin McAteer on January 5, 2021
This story comes from a book of prompts called "Tell Me Your Story Mom" -- several of us would bring it out while visiting Kate.


TELL ME ABOUT GETTING YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE...

[When she heard this prompt her eyes lit up and she said "ooooh! this is a good one!!"]

"I was 21 maybe 22 after I had polio.  So Bill Collins said, "I'll teach you to drive if you type my College papers" -- he was going to St. Peter's College, I think.  So I typed his papers.  It was an automatic car but NOT a convertible.  He taught me on the streets of Tenafly.  On Tenafly Road I was stopped on the hill at a red light and when the light turned green I hit the gas and drove into a tree!!! The wheel was turned and I didn't realize it.  I never did that again! Bill took the blame for it but I don't think he took me for any more lessons and I don't think I had to type any more papers either!" 

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR?...
"An Oldsmobile -- automatic, due to the polio"

HOW MUCH DID A GALLON OF GAS COST THEN? 
"Ned was at a job in Hackensack, but did not have a car.  Mom asked met o pick him up.  We were going east on Rt 4.  I asked Ned for $ for gas -- they each had about 11 cents total and it was enough to get a few gallons to get Ned and myself home safe and sound.  Adn that's a true story!"

She was always thinking about others...

Shared by Kevin McAteer on January 4, 2021
This Facebook post was one of the most memorable from our cross-country trip.  It was one of those life lessons that came out of left field. It was Kate's version of wackin you on the head to teach me a valuable lesson