Catharine Baker Deitch, 102, died peacefully on May 30, 2022, at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C.
She was born Catharine Lydia Baker near Dillsburg, Pa., on December 3, 1919, to Scott Paul Baker and Carrie Hyde Baker. On December 3, 1941, her 22nd birthday, she married David Gulden Deitch on his 26th birthday. They remained married for more than 62 years, until his death in 2004.
Catharine’s education began in a rural one-room schoolhouse where she was inspired by pictures and stories of foreign lands. When she graduated from Dillsburg High School in 1936 she wanted to go to college but due to the Great Depression her farm family could not afford it. Instead, she trained and was licensed as a beautician and worked in Harrisburg.
Only four days after her marriage, Pearl Harbor was attacked. Both newlyweds resolved to enter military service. Contrary to the usual Hollywood movie scene, it was David who stood on the railroad platform and waved goodbye to his bride as she was the first called into service with the US Army’s WAAC (later WAC). He soon followed. Catharine served in the US and India, visited the Taj Mahal, Mount Everest, Suez Canal and Great Pyramids, and was a master sergeant upon discharge in 1945. David was discharged after service in the Pacific Theater.
For 25 years Catharine and David raised four children in Gettysburg. She was very active in Gettysburg Presbyterian Church, Scouts and band parent activities.
In 1970, she and her husband retired to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. From there they traveled extensively to Europe, Brazil, Mexico, the Caribbean and most of the US. A few years after David’s death, Catharine moved to the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C.
Catharine was pre-deceased by her husband, parents, brother John Baker, sister Mary Williams and eldest son Ronald Deitch (2009). She is survived by two sons, Robert (Amy) Deitch of Gettysburg, and David (Shirley) Deitch of Missouri; one daughter, Mary Catharine (Doug) Hatfield of Georgia; seven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Throughout her lifetime she cherished birthdays, weddings, holidays and other family gatherings with numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. Many of them honored her at a 100th birthday celebration in 2019.
Burial with military honors will be with her husband and son at the Fort Lauderdale Memorial Cemetery in Florida.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to either Adams County Library, 140 Baltimore St., Gettysburg, PA 17325 or Gettysburg Presbyterian Church, 208 Baltimore St., Gettysburg, PA 17325 are suggested.