Catherine Davis

Obituary of Catherine Davis

Catherine A. Davis, 85, of Middletown, Rhode Island passed away on June 13th, 2018. Born in New York City in 1933, Cathy was the daughter of Edmund and Catherine (Shea) Sullivan. She grew up in Newport and graduated from Rogers High School in 1950. Cathy married James J. Davis in 1956 and they made their home in Renfrew Park, Middletown, where they raised their five children. 

Cathy started her undergraduate education at Immaculate College in Washington, D.C., and completed her studies at Salve Regina. She also received a master’s degree in Education from Providence College. Cathy had a long and successful career working for the US Navy. Her first position was in the Claims Department at Naval Legal Service Office, Newport. There she helped to adjudicate affirmative claims under the authority of the Federal Medical Care Recovery Act which authorizes military treatment facilities to recover the cost of furnishing health care to DoD beneficiaries who were injured or suffered illness caused by a third party. She consistently received the highest levels of recognition for her work. Her next position was with Naval Hospital, Newport, as a Health Benefits Advisor. Cathy became known as the “go-to” person who could navigate the complex insurance system. She provided support to service members and retirees facing serious financial challenges on top of health crises. The countless military and retired personnel who came to her found that she was able to get through the red tape and get a “yes” answer instead of a “no” answer, thus averting mounting financial challenges on top of a serious health crisis. Cathy was recognized by the U.S. Navy once again for her work in the early 1990’s as part of the team that developed the first-ever Navy External Partnership program with Newport Hospital, a model that is now used throughout DoD, saving millions of dollars to taxpayers while enhancing local community health providers and facilities with assistance of federal funding. Cathy also worked as a contract evaluator for the Navy. After retiring from the U.S. civil service, Cathy worked as an advisor for several local law firms and financial planners, assisting in developing custom medical insurance plans for clients. 

Cathy was very committed to women's health research and participated for over twenty years in the Women's Health Initiative. Consequently, she was recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for her twenty-plus year contribution to research. The citation that she received for her work in this field read, in part: “. . . women around the world have benefited from the knowledge we have gained from the advances in which you played a critical part.” She also served as a Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) volunteer for eight years, participating in speaking engagements for local organizations and holding one-on-one counseling sessions for individuals who needed assistance with insurance claims. Cathy received the Administration on Aging Award for her outstanding contribution to fight against waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, presented to her by Senator Reed in 1999.

Cathy was an avid reader and loved doing needle point. She spent years researching family genealogy and traveled to Ireland five times in her search for information. She enjoyed traveling and took advantage of every opportunity for travel that came her way. There were the many trips to Italy and Hawaii, and hiking in the Highlands of Scotland, but her most memorable adventures included a bareboat charter, with her husband Jim, sailing the Greek islands with friends.

Catherine was predeceased by her husband Jim and is survived by her brother Edmund J. Sullivan; her five children: Arlene A. (Richard) Davis, James M. Davis, Andrew B. (Cyndi) Davis, Elizabeth T. (Fred) Orchard, and Tara J. Davis; two grandchildren: Ashley M. Davis and Allison A. Davis; and four nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be on Sunday, June 17, 2018 from 3 to 6 pm at the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring St, Newport. A Mass of Christian burial will be held Monday June 18, 2018 at 10 am in St Mary’s Church, 12 William Street, Newport. Burial will follow at St. Columba Cemetery, 465 Brown’s Lane, Middletown.

As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be sent to the American Parkinson Disease Association Rhode Island Chapter, 455 Toll Gate Rd Bldg 2c, Warwick, RI 02886.