Patricia Cahill, figure skater and skating judge, dies

Mrs. Cahill made her skating debut at the old Sports Centre and went on to judge for the U.S. Figure Skating A

Patricia McVey Cahill, who judged professional figure skating events after completing her own career on the ice, died of cancer Friday at Stella Maris Hospice.

The Timonium resident was 89.

Born Patricia McVey in Pittsburgh, she was the daughter of William McVey, an architect who had been a member of the University of Notre Dame ice hockey team, and Gertrude Meyer, a department store buyer.

The family moved to Baltimore, and in 1945 she graduated from Towson Catholic High School.

She attended the old Mount St. Agnes College in Mount Washington, earned a bachelor's degree at what is now Notre Dame of Maryland University and took additional courses at the Renaissance Institute.

Mrs. Cahill began skating as a child and joined the Baltimore Figure Skating Club when she was a high school senior. She made her debut at the old Sports Centre on North Avenue. A 1945 article in The Baltimore Sun noted at the time, "Miss Pat McVey proved a valuable new member of the club with her first solo on the ice."

She skated with fellow Baltimore residents Carl Lovett Jr. and John Raines and competed in pairs skating at the Iceland at Carlin's Park in Baltimore, the Eastern Sectional Figure Skating Championships at the Skating Club of Boston and at the Ice Casino in Rye, N.Y., among other venues.

She met her future husband, William Walsh Cahill Jr., while a high school student.

Mrs. Cahill became a U.S. Figure Skating Association judge in 1950. According to the records of that organization, she was named a gold figure test judge, gold singles-pairs judge and a regional singles-pairs competition judge.

"Pat Cahill was a beloved figure in Baltimore and also in the national and international skating community. She judged for years and years in our profession," said Nathan Birch, a skating choreographer.

"She was respected among her fellow judges and she was part of the old guard of judges. Yet when the figure skating system changed, she survived as a judge through its many systemic trends," said Mr. Birch. "It was not an easy transition, and she was fully able to change with the times."

He said Mrs. Cahill had a wicked sense of humor and a healthy laugh. "She was a social person who loved life and loved her family and friends. She had a large personality. You knew she was there when you were in a room with her," he said.

"She was an integral part of bringing the U.S. Figure Skating Championships to Baltimore in 1989," said Mr. Birch, noting the competition that was held at the old Civic Center.

According to the U.S. Figure Skating organization, Mrs. Cahill judged 1,680 events between 1998 and 2011.

In 2015, the Figure Skating Association honored her for 60 years of distinguished service to the sport.

Mrs. Cahill had three daughters and put them on skates almost as soon as they could walk.

"She was the ultimate skating mother," said one daughter, Kathleen Cahill, an attorney who resides in Lutherville. "She shuttled us between rinks starting at 5 a.m. She designed and sewed our competition or show skating dresses. She composed and spliced our performance music.

"She was always finding the best coach for us," her daughter said. "She found us coaches in Lake Placid, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Toronto and the French Alps. My mother was a can-do lady."

After her daughters' competitive careers were over, Mrs. Cahill then became the skating mother to a granddaughter, Cara McVey Morrissey, and drove her to skating events and practices as well.

Mrs. Cahill was an accomplished bridge competitor. She enjoyed solving New York Times crossword puzzles and reading police procedural novels. She was also a fan of "Downton Abbey" and was a pet fancier.

She was a close friend and neighbor of the late Rep. Helen Delich Bentley. The two women walked their dogs together.

"The friendship grew and endured until Helen's recent death," said her daughter.

Mrs. Cahill was a member of the Roman Catholic Church of the Nativity in Lutherville. She also attended services at the Carmelite Monastery.

A memorial has been established in her name at the Scott Hamilton Cares Foundation.

A funeral Mass will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 29 at the Stella Maris Chapel, 2300 Pot Spring Road in Timonium.

In addition to her daughter and granddaughter, survivors include two other daughters, Patricia Denise Cahill and Tracey Poletis, both of Towson and both figure skating professionals; and three other grandchildren. Her husband of 57 years, an attorney, died in 2007.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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