Mary Catherine “Cathy” Paniagua Mathers, was born in Jourdanton, on May 27, 1969, and died in Houston, on May 21, 2021, following a courageous and much too short battle with breast cancer.
A 1987 graduate of Pleasanton High School, she received a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science degree from Southwest Texas State University in 1992. After coaching at Pleasanton Junior High School from 1992-93, she pursued a retail career with Lady Footlocker and later with Palm Beach Tan, where she worked for 20 years, rising from store manager to district manager and area manager to her most recent post as franchise business consultant.
In her career, Cathy was admired by her colleagues for her determination and leadership. Among her friends, she’s the one they turned to for encouragement. For her family and especially her mother, Josie, and Cathy’s husband, Marty, she was their rock. For all, her bright smile was their beacon.
Cathy’s affinity for her hometown of Pleasanton, “Birthplace of the Cowboy,” was strong. She came back as often as she could—to see family, of course—but especially, to stay connected to her small-town roots. Cowboy Homecoming and the annual St. Andrew Catholic Church festival were among her favorite reasons to come home.
Gone too soon for those who loved her, Cathy lived a life filled with purpose. One after another, texts and Facebook posts that friends, family, past and present co-workers and former students sent to Cathy in her final days attested to her steadfast loyalty, fierce courage and penetrating kindness.
Her enthusiasm for tackling challenges in life was boundless. Her oldest brother, David, recalls his little sister preferring the rough play of her brothers— tackling them in a childhood game of football with the ferocity of a pitbull. She wouldn’t let go, he said.
That tenacity was Cathy’s lifelong calling card.
It drove her interest in getting her award-winning charro bean recipe just right. And she did—snaring several cook-off trophies over the years, including two first-place prizes. A college friend recalls a tough doubles tennis match, with Cathy as his partner. Chip away, she told him. Never give up. Cathy never did.
Cathy’s passing leaves a hole in so many hearts, but none more than her great love, Marty Mathers, whom she married on October 18, 2008, and with whom she built a fulfilling life in Frisco. Until her final moments, as he held her hand, she was his everything—his camping, hunting, cook-offwinning, jeeping and fur baby-parenting partner to Jake and later, Bella. When Cathy and Marty pledged for better or for worse, neither could have foreseen this devastatingly abrupt end to their journey. But their commitment and love for each other were unwavering.
She leaves Marty to treasure her memory, and her mother, Josie Paniagua of Pleasanton; her brothers, David G. Paniagua. Jr. of San Antonio, and Robert Paniagua of Houston; her sisters, Becky Havard of Floresville, Elizabeth Martinez of San Antonio, and Carol Paniagua Arbo of Richmond; her beloved nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and many cherished cousins. She was preceded in death by her father, David G. Paniagua.
Visitation and rosary will take place 5-7 p.m. on Friday, June 4, 2021, at Hurley Funeral Home, 118 W. Oaklawn Road, Pleasanton, Texas, 78064. Funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, June 5, 2021, at St. Andrew Catholic Church, 626 Market Street, Pleasanton. Graveside services will follow at Esparza Cemetery, 338 Esparza Road, Pleasanton. Pallbearers will be: JT Boland, Robbie Paniagua, Travis Stevens, Bruce Arbo, Carlos Lopez and Joe Lopez.
In honor of her coaching days and longtime interest in youth achievement, a memorial scholarship fund in Cathy’s name is being organized to support students in Pleasanton. Interested friends and family can direct their inquiries and pledges to email@example.com.