On June 14, 2021, about three months shy of her 80th birthday, the compassionate heart of Catherine Martin Koufopoulos stopped beating. She had fought valiantly to overcome many serious health problems, but her heart and body were too worn out.
Cathy was born on September 13, 1941, in Pasadena, TX, the first daughter of Ralph Martin and Donna Dague Martin. She later moved to Ohio, a state that her ancestors helped pioneer. She graduated from Marion L. Steele High School in Amherst, OH, and continued other chapters in her life, attending Ashbury College in Kentucky, then working as an editor in Zondervan Publishing House in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her editing expertise stayed with her throughout her life. She moved to California where she met and married Angelos Koufopoulos. Later their son Dean (Kostos Dean Koufopoulos) was born.
Dean became the joy of Cathy’s life, and they shared many happy years together. They eventually moved back to Ohio. At age twelve, Dean was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He lost his vision and after fighting valiantly against his illness (yet remaining joyful, positive, and still having a strong faith in God) he succumbed to the cancer and died at Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH. This was a painful blow to Cathy’s loving heart – a loss that no mother should have to face— the pain, however, motivated her to find healing for her broken heart by reaching out and nurturing others through their struggles. Her mantra was “Don’t waste your sorrows.”
Cathy moved to metro-Atlanta in the 1980’s to be near her mother who had moved to be near Cathy’s sister, Dianne. Cathy helped make sure her mother got all the care that she needed in her later years.
Cathy was involved in many volunteer activities and eventually founded a support network (along with Margaret Robling) called Abba which helped find resources for Pregnancy Care Centers and Adoption Agencies. Later this became Abba’s Child which offered support and resources for people dealing with grief and loss.
Cathy adopted two rescue dogs whom she “parented” for fifteen years, giving them the best of care. She was an avid supporter and advocate for animals and animal rights.
When Cathy became aware of the refugee population settling in Clarkston, GA, she became a volunteer with World Relief, serving as a mentor for refugee families, inviting many into her home for gatherings and forming strong friendships with refugees and immigrants from all corners of the world.
She began a support network online which grew to over 1000 members, connecting doctors, other medical professionals, lawyers and human rights advocates, and many NGOs for a forum where they could share needs and offer resources for their work in many forgotten corners of the world. This site, Shoulder to Shoulder for the Forgotten, will be a legacy that sprung from her caring heart which looked out for the vulnerable and for those who suffered the wounds of injustice.
In addition to her son, Cathy was preceded in death by her father, Ralph Martin and her mother, Donna Dague Martin BeVier. She is survived by her sister, Dianne Martin Comer (Bob). Cathy recently got to meet and share time with cousins from Ohio who adopted her as “Granny Cathy”. She was happy to meet Peggy Dague- Mannion and her son, Brendan Lyman when they came to visit in Atlanta and Cathy enjoyed visiting with her cousin, Richard Obrig and his wife Kathe in S.C.
A Memorial Service will be held Sunday September 12, 2021 with a welcome at 2:30 pm and service beginning at 3:00 pm at Northlake Church of Christ 1625 Cooledge Road Tucker, Ga 30084 with visitation following the service in the fellowship hall. Cathy’s ashes will be taken to Ohio to be buried next to her son’s gravesite
Memorial contributions may be made to any of the following organizations:
Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) https://www.sams-usa.net/
Doctors Without Borders https://www.doctorswithout borders.org/
Animal Welfare Institute http://awioline.org/
World Vets worldvets.org
Cathy has left us, but her legacy of love will be felt by all of those whose lives she touched. May she rest in God’s loving care as she is joyfully reunited with her beloved son, Dean.
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