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Memorials: Orange Grove Friends Meeting

Catherine Bergel

Date of birth

Feb. 6, 1940

Date of death

July 29, 2022


Orange Grove Friends Meeting

Memorial minute

Kitty was born in Durham, NC, the first child of Beach and Catherine Langston. The family moved to Pasadena, California where Kitty grew up and lived most of her life. She graduated from Earlham College in Indiana and later returned to California to attend graduate school in art history at UCLA. Kitty was raised a Quaker, attending Orange Grove Friends Meeting with her family. Quaker values continued to shape her life, including her professional work for 22 years raising funds for the American Friends Service Committee. She loved the people she encountered across the world as she helped foster the peace work of the AFSC.

Kitty married Stefano Barragato in 1965 and helped raise three stepdaughters and their own daughter, Elizabeth. They divorced after 13 years of marriage. In 2000, she married Kurt Bergel and lived in Orange, California. They had the pleasure of many trips together. After Kurt’s death, she continued to travel the world eager to explore other cultures. She sought out art museums and found great beauty in the countryside wherever she went. Kitty was a voracious reader; she wrote poetry throughout her life, and especially in retirement. She enthusiastically took up oil painting. Her lush pictures of nature will be cherished by friends and family.

In 2010, Kitty moved to Carol Woods Retirement Community in Chapel Hill, following her sisters. She became an active, beloved member of the Chapel Hill Friends Meeting. As her health deteriorated, she liked going for long rides in the country. She appreciated the rolling hills, tall pines, and lush green of our piedmont, often stopping by Maple View Farm’s ice cream store. Her last years were in the Carol Woods Health Center as ovarian cancer slowly took her life. She endured her illness with grace and with gratitude for the assistance she received.

Kitty is survived by her daughter Elizabeth Barragato (Richard Freid), stepdaughters Cellina Barragato and Fiamma Williams, her sisters Dottie Heninger and Lewise Busch (Dick). Her grandchildren are Michelle Fafard, Allie Bishop (Danny), Mia Williams, Celosia Barragato and Shaun Alexander. Kitty’s many friends will repeat stories of adventures and laughs with Kitty for years to come. She will be missed – and celebrated.

Her memorial service was held at Carol Woods on October 22 under the care of Chapel Hill Friends Meeting. A subsequent service was held at Orange Grove Friends Meeting in Pasadena, November 12. Gifts in Kitty’s memory may be sent to the AFSC, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.