Point Lookout, Long Island, New York, U.S.A.

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Kate Cahill

In Memoriam
Kathryn McGinity Cahill
by her sons Kevin, Sean, Christy, Brendan & Denis Cahill

Kathryn McGinity Cahill, beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, accomplished potter, photographer, writer and painter, died on January 17th, 2004 at her home on Ocean Boulevard, with her husband, Kevin and her five sons, Kevin, Sean, Christy, Brendan and Denis by her side. She was waked at home, and her friends and neighbors came and paid respects to a remarkable woman. Her funeral was simple and moving to those who crowded into the church of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Kate Cahill was a lifelong resident of Point Lookout, first spending her summers here as the daughter of Leo and Mildred McGinity in the clapboard home on Glenwood Avenue ferried over from Freeport by her grandparents in 1899, at a time when there were only sand dunes, a coast guard station, and a few fishing shacks where the town now stands. In one of the many literary and artistic projects of her later years, Kate lovingly edited and published her mother's remembrances of those early days on the island, which preserve a unique record of that time in Point Lookout's history.

As a young teenager here she met the young man, Kevin Cahill, who was fortunate to later become her husband. After living abroad, they bought a home on Parkside Drive, later moving to Ocean Boulevard, where Kate cultivated her beautiful seaside garden, one of the town's hidden treasures.

On her daily walks around Pt. Lookout, most always accompanied by her husband, her camera at the ready, she documented the town, its people, and its spirit in a way that, perhaps, only someone who had grown with the town could do. She was the diarist of a changing world, the transformation of our small community from one of beach bungalows to a commuter town. Her book of photographs, A Walk Around Town, is a tribute to and a record of the town she knew and loved so well, its children and citizens, its holiday celebrations, its streets and houses and bayside fishing stations, the beauty of its natural setting over the changing seasons. In the introduction to that book, Kate wrote, "This is the town of my childhood, the town I have left and returned to for all my life; it is my wellspring, the fount of many of my happiest and most significant memories."

Her pottery table was a feature in every Point Lookout Art Show, and she enjoyed sharing her talents with friends and neighbors. She gave her photographs freely; the week before she died she delivered two of them to old friends with a note. She bore her final illness with grace and without complaint. So many people have expressed shock at her death, saying that they had just seen her in Merola's, helping clean the beach on Earth Day, at the Post Office, or walking the town with Kevin, or a group of her sons, or her six treasured grandchildren.

As a mother, she instilled in her family the need to be creative, to read, to learn, to listen, and to help those who needed help. As those close to Kate knew well, she was her husband's compass, constantly leading him in the right direction, to the right decision. Her loss will be felt deeply by many in the town.