My sister, Cathy

As you all know by now, my sister, Cathy, passed away Thursday, April 23rd at 5:55 PM after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 57.  I was thinking about writing a long and intense tribute, and then I heard her voice in my head saying, “Dan, keep it short and not too dramatic.” So I’ve decided to focus on one word.


Cathy cared.

She cared about her parents enormously. She cared to an unbelievable degree about her five siblings, her three sisters-in-law, and her brother-in-law. And she cared to a mind-bogglingly degree about her 11 nieces and nephews.

She cared about her friends. To be Cathy’s friend was to receive a steady stream of handwritten notes, gifts on special occasions, visits, and a river of nice words and compliments.

She cared about the quality of her work. She cared about details. She cared about the people she worked with. She cared about her customers. She even cared about the safety of her customers. She created the “It Can Wait” campaign that has swept the nation and saved a lot of lives by getting people to stop texting/emailing while they are driving.

She cared about her communities and her alma maters: Rosati-Kain High School and Northwestern University. She cared about the Girl Scouts and Girls, Inc. She cared about mentoring people and helping them to see their potential

For me personally, Cathy’s legacy is wrapped up in one word: caring. If I can ever care to a small degree about the different parts of my life as much as Cathy cared every minute of her life about the different people in her life, then I will be happy. Caring was Cathy’s strategy for success in everything she did as a daughter, sister, aunt, executive, community involvement person, and alumnus. Cathy, thank you for supporting my dreams and for encouraging me so often. Thank you for being so kind to Barb, Sarah, and Ben.

One quick thing I will brag about her. When she died she was the highest-ranking female executive in the world for AT&T. And she had that role for the past eight years. She ended her career as the Chief Global Marketing Officer for AT&T, which she held since June 2007. In so many ways, Cathy’s conscientiousness affected the AT&T Brand that we have seen since the original iPhone came out in July 2007.

My dad, who passed away in 2009, used to tell us when we were growing up, “Never forget you’re a Coughlin.” Now the world will never forget Cathy Coughlin. As Dad would say, “I’m really proud of you Cathy.”

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