Mrs. Catherine Turner-Highshaw (aka Baby, Bay, O'Bay, Cathy, Momma, Granny, or Nana)
Sister Catherine Turner-Highshaw, age 68, of Long Beach, California, died on Thursday, October 14, 2021, at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.
Catherine was born on April 4, 1953, in El Dorado, Arkansas. She was the youngest child and daughter of the late Jake Turner and the late Gracie Boone-Turner. Catherine had been a student in the El Dorado School District and was raised among an especially loving and close-knit extended family of Boone descendants. As she grew up, Catherine developed and blossomed into a beautiful, sweet, and gentle soul. But she was also spunky and not the kind of girl that allowed others to push her around. At times, her disposition in life could be perceived as stubborn or obstinate, but really, she was empowered and confident in her own personal-agency and resolve to make her own decisions about things that affected her well-being.
About 1970, while Catherine was with an intimate group of her peers, she met Carl Lee Highshaw, a handsome and slightly older young man from the neighboring town of Smackover. With Carl Lee's parents being such lovely people and pillars of the Smackover community, Catherine believed he was quite the catch and quickly laid claim to him. On February 21, 1971, when Catherine was 18 years old, she gave birth to their firstborn son, Romondo Duane Highshaw (aka Pee Wee). The following year, on November 24, 1972, Catherine and Carl Lee were married in a union officiated by Pastor Leon Miller of Little Bethel Baptist Church of El Dorado Arkansas, with the dutiful support of Hellen, Catherine's big sister at her side. In the following year, on March 9, 1973, Catherine gave birth to the couple's second-born son, Carl Fitzgerald Highshaw (aka Nuke), and then subsequently birth to their third son, Tyvice Rothelle Highshaw (aka Rodney), on October 7, 1974. In the summer of 1975 o 1976, with an insistent resolve for a change, Catherine indignantly and suddenly boarded a Greyhound bus with her three small children and moved to Rockford, Illinois. Within a week of Catherine rushing her children (Pee Wee, Nuke, and Rodney) out of Southern Arkansas, Carl Lee took that same Greyhound bus route to catch up and maintain his position in the life of his wife and children.
Catherine's decision to relocate to the City of Rockford was made easier because her sister, Queen, had already relocated there with her husband and children. That family support enabled Catherine and Carl Lee to solidly establish a foundation for themselves. She became a member of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, where she was a faithful usher. Catherine and her husband eventually purchased their family home on Stanley Street, which today is literally the only house still standing on the block.
Catherine's employment positions, including making socks at Nelson Knitting, a Rockford Furniture Glass company, and the Rockford Metro Center. However, each of those jobs were short-lived because her primary role was that of a homemaker. She was also very active and engaged with her children's education and sports activities, often volunteering in the classroom during their elementary years. She was their biggest cheerleader as each of them completed high school.
Several years after the 2002 death of her husband, Catherine relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, and finally on to Long Beach, California, where she became a member of Central Baptist Church in the neighboring City of Carson. She also regularly participated in the City View Church group, where she lived.
Catherine is survived by her three sons, Romondo Highshaw of Rockford, Dr. Carl F. Highshaw of Carson, and Tyvice Highshaw of Rockford. Two grandsons, Ollie Highshaw of Rockford and Delijah Gregory-Highshaw of Long Beach. One granddaughter, Dezire Gregory-Highshaw of Long Beach, is currently expecting the arrival of Catherine's first great-grandchild. She is also survived by two sisters, Hellen Miller of El Dorado, Arkansas, and Queen Jones of Jacksonville, Florida. Three brothers, George Turner, Charley Turner, and Felton Manning, all of El Dorado. Three brothers who preceded her in death, James Manning, Troy Turner, and Leroy Turner. Her California "bonus" son, whom she also loved dearly, Curtis Gregory of Carson. Two sisters-in-law, Jewell Ross of Smackover, Arkansas, and Marjorie Highshaw of Wynne, Arkansas. One brother-in-law, Oren Highshaw of Smackover. Her cousins who kept in regular touch, Eva Lowe and Mary Gary of Rockford, Pecolua Dawson of Little Rock, Gracie Hicks, and Essie Richmond, both of El Dorado. Many nieces, nephews, and cousins in this family of 825 descendants of the late Charley Boone.
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