On April 25, 2023, the heavens welcomed a true friend to all that knew him during his nearly 96-year journey on this Earth. James Arthur "Jim" Cato was an exceptional man. Born on June 26, 1927, to Arthur and Bettie Cato in Weatherford, Texas, Jim was predeceased by his brother, Pat Cato, his sister Betty Irene Belcher, and his wife, Wanda Maxine Bedford Cato.
Devoted husband to Wanda for 69 years, loving father to Cherri Sanes and her husband Scott and Carmen Peters and her husband David, involved grandfather to Carissa Poore and her husband Grandon, Johnathon Peters and his wife Diana, Jache Sanes and Molleigh Sanes and delightful great grandfather to Callie, Caitlin and Colt Poore and Kaci and Keeli Peters.
Jim lit up the world for over 9 decades. He served in the United States Navy and returned with the intent to become a veterinarian, got his degree from Texas A&M in agricultural sciences, but traded that dream in support of his mother, who had purchased the Rexall Drug Store in Whitney, so that they could help pay his brother Pat's way through medical school. Jim went on to obtain a degree in pharmacy from the University of Houston, and owned and operated the Cato Drug Store in Whitney for over 50 years.
Jim loved each member of his family unconditionally and brought that accepting energy to everyone he met in his cherished community of Whitney where he was a deacon of the First Baptist Church for almost 60 years. He was very community minded and was president of and founded Hospice of the Heart in Whitney, served on the school board of Whitney ISD, and former president and active member of the Whitney Lion's Club. He served on many boards of directors including Whitney Hospital, Hill College, First National Bank and Extra Special Teas. Just recently, he received the Lake Whitney Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame Award.
He passionately raised shorthorn cattle, involving his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren in the 4-H clubs, FFA, and competitive shows all over Texas and the country. An avid sports fan of anything involving Texas A&M, along with the Cowboys, Rangers and Dallas Mavericks, he passed his love of sports to his children, their children and their children's children. Jim was a fixture in the bleachers of nearly every game they played.
Never was there a more welcoming and gregarious man. Jim never met a stranger. Anyone who was fortunate enough to cross his path knew they had met a man who cared deeply about his family and friends, always looking to help, cheer them up with a snappy retort or just listen to their troubles with his pharmacist's mind or his loving heart. He will be missed beyond measure, but we have been graced with his longevity, passion and smile that was bigger than his cherished State of Texas.
Funeral services will be held 10:00 am Friday, April 28, 2023, at the First Baptist Church in Whitney with Shane Metcalf officiating. Burial will follow at Whitney Memorial Park. A visitation will be held from 6:00-8:00 pm Thursday, April 27, 2023, at Marshall and Marshall Funeral Directors Chapel in Whitney.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials in Jim’s name to ExtraSpecialTeas, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, a nonprofit teahouse he helped establish for his grandson, Jache, with autism. Jim’s loving and valuable guidance helped grow ExtraSpecialTeas into a thriving nonprofit that gives purpose and possibility to many young adults with special needs. Memorials may be sent to: ExtraSpecialTeas, 2 Elm Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230, or through their website: www.extraspecialteas.org.
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