Catherine Nyssa Paige
- Published: January 18, 2018
On the evening of Jan. 10, 2018, while walking on the Antioch campus with her son, Anson, Catherine Nyssa Paige suffered a fatal heart attack. Cathy was born March 31, 1953, and grew up in northern Virginia as Cathy Paige Patton, to a military family. Somewhere along the line, she replaced her last name, Patton, with Paige, and inserted Nyssa as her middle name. Graduating from Mt. Vernon High School, she took classes at Northern Virginia Community College in the 1970s.
In 1978, Cathy moved to an old converted barn in Clifton, Ohio, with John Zearfoss. They moved into Yellow Springs, where she gave birth in a home delivery to her only child, Anson. She loved being Anson’s mom and embraced Anson’s many friends with love, acceptance and mirthful humor.
In the mid-1980s, she began to work with JD Dawson in Antioch College’s admissions department, holding an administrative position. Her tenure spanned approximately 25 years. Through that period she was involved with the Yellow Springs Community Children’s Center, serving on the board and helping organize charitable events such as the progressive dinners.
Cathy earned a BA from Antioch McGregor in 2008, followed by a MA from Antioch Midwest in 2013. She chose the field of health and wellness, focusing on aging and its many facets of care. She networked with other local healthcare professionals to provide care for local residents in need. In addition, she organized and participated in avant-garde fashion shows for women and other creative group activities, helping women find expression about contemporary issues. Committed to what she felt was the profound importance of women’s voices, Cathy most recently established a website entitled RAW — Radical Aging Womyn — for that purpose.
Among her many gifts and talents, she was classically trained in piano, developed phenomenal computer skills, displayed an artist’s temperament by beautifully bringing to life sensually shaped osage orange tree trunks and read widely to keep abreast of developments in her field. Cathy kept personal journals, which stretched back almost 40 years, and seemed to own almost every endearing stuffed animal to ever grace a shelf at Mr. Fub’s Party.
Those who had the great good fortune to visit her home on East Limestone could attest to her magical feng shui. Cathy loved the “tiny village” concept and had an unshakeable faith in the power of community — especially Yellow Springs. A de facto triathlete, she rode her bike in and around town, took long walks and swam at the college’s Wellness Center.
Those who knew her well described her as a curious, inclusive, warm, patient woman, supportive of both men and women, who lived her life one day at a time, one breath at a time. She challenged convention, was very frank, often funny, and did not seem to know what being “inside a box” meant. She was preceded in death by her father, William Patton; her mother, Icie Greathouse; and her two brothers, Mark and Phil.
A ceremony to honor her life is planned for Feb. 17, at the Glen Helen Building, to be confirmed by the Jan. 25 issue of the YS News. Any inquiries or thoughts may be expressed to Anson Zearfoss at 937-532-0826 or John Zearfoss at 937-631-8466.