WELLSVILLE, Ohio (WYTV) – Eleanor Salter vividly remembers her daughter Catherine. Deep in her heart, she’s carried Cathy’s memory with her every single day.
“She’s with me all the time. I don’t have to do anything special to remember, she’s always with me. Always,” Eleanor said. “Those first 15 years were really hard. It just seemed like every time I turned around, there was something that reminded me of her.”
Catherine Patricia Salter, or Cathy to those who knew her, was born and raised in Wellsville, the fourth of six children.
She graduated valedictorian of Wellsville’s Senior Class of 1982.
Her mom and classmates remember how she excelled in and out of the classroom.
“She was just a nice person to be around. She could make friends easily and she had this way around her of making you feel at ease and being comfortable with her,” Eleanor said.
“There was just no one in school that she didn’t get along with. She was a very good athlete. She also was in the band. She was just a really good friend to all of us,” said Jamie Hardman, who graduated with Cathy.
Cathy worked hard. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati, she worked her way up as an insurance claim administrator, eventually being promoted to assistant vice president of her company.
On September 11, 2001, Cathy was working in the south tower. Moments before the second plane hit the tower, Cathy had been on the phone with her former boss in Cincinnati.
“He said to her, ‘What are you doing there? The first plane has hit. Why aren’t you out? You should’ve been out by now.’ And she said, ‘I’m waiting for them to finish evacuating the office and everything and then I’m leaning,’ which means, in my opinion, she was going to be the last one out of that office,” Eleanor said.
Cathey never had that chance.
“He hung up the phone, turned around and looked on the television and saw the second plane hit exactly where she was at. He knew, and we all knew, that she was gone,” Eleanor said.
Her mom says Cathy’s actions that day speak to her character.
“She was waiting for everybody else in her office that she was responsible for to get out. Of course, none of them did get out. They were just starting to evacuate,” Eleanor said.
“It not only affected the whole world, the whole country, Wellsville suffers, and we suffered along with everyone else that day. Not just for Cathy but for everybody who lost their lives that day,” Hardman said.
In the 20 years since her death, two memorials have been built in Cathy’s honor in Wellsville: one along Lisbon Street and another outside the high school.
Beautiful tributes to a life taken far too soon.
“If this is a way to get it through to the younger generation and keep it in their minds of what happened and the magnitude of it, that’s all the more power to it,” Hardman said.
With the blessing of her family, Jamie Hardman, also a member of the class of ’82, started a scholarship in Cathy’s name through the Alumni Association.
“It means the world to me. I started it just to help out a student at school and keep her memory alive, but the support has been amazing,” Hardman said.
“It really touches your heart and it really makes me feel that her classmates really did care about her like they said they did,” Eleanor said.
A small gesture in her honor that Hardman hopes they can keep going for years to come with help and support from the community.
If you would like to donate to the Cathy Salter Memorial Scholarship, Hardman invites you to get in touch with him on Facebook.
On Saturday morning, the community will be honoring Cathy’s memory.
Wellsville’s annual 9/11 memorial will be held at 9 a.m. at the flood wall along Lisbon and First streets. All are welcome to attend.