Catherine R. Kane, government administrator

Catherine R. Kane, a Harford County government administrator who earlier had worked for the Baltimore County Department of Social Services, died Feb. 12 from colon cancer at her Bel Air home. She was 65.

"She really was an important part of Social Services when I was director," said Camille B. Wheeler, who had been director of Baltimore County Social Services for 19 years before retiring in 1998. "She was hard-working and understood everything about the mission of the department. Catherine was pivotal in our development and expansion."


The daughter of a dentist and an educator, the former Catherine Ramsey was born in Baltimore and raised in Towson, where she graduated in 1965 from Towson High School.

She attended Duke University for a year, and then transferred to Connecticut College in New London, where she earned a bachelor's degree in 1969 in economics and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.


Mrs. Kane later earned a master's degree in city and regional planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In the early 1970s, she returned to Baltimore and took a job during the administration of Mayor William Donald Schaefer as a city planner.

"I was then deputy director of city planning and Catherine was one of our city planners. And we have remained friends over the years," said Bernard L. "Bernie" Berkowitz, who later became president of the Baltimore Economic Development Corp.

"She was absolutely delightful to work with and a terrific professional. When I went to the mayor's office, she went with me. She had a great mind for public policy of all kinds," said Mr. Berkowitz.

In 1982, Mrs. Kane joined the Baltimore County Department of Social Services, where she was assistant director of administration and oversaw personnel, finances and building services.

"She was highly trusted by the county. And when it came to budget issues or a budget, they knew it wasn't some sort of scam on the part of bureaucrats," said Ms. Wheeler. "She was an upbeat and a can-do kind of person. She got along with everyone and was regarded by all for her competence."

"Catherine was a wonderful person and extremely dedicated to her job," said Joan Cooper, who was assistant director of children's services.

"She always did the right thing when it came to supporting the various agencies. She was not tied down to rigidity, and she worked hard in supporting the agencies that worked for the client. She was flexible," said Ms. Cooper, who retired in 1997. "She was very conscientious, and working for client services was foremost with her."


Mrs. Kane made a change in 1997 when she became management assistant to the chief of operations in the Harford County Department of Public Works, which oversees operation of water treatment, wastewater and treatment plants.

"Catherine was his right-hand person when it came to contracts, project management and oversight, invoices, budgets and budget analysis," said Jacqueline H. "Jackie" Ludwig, chief of administration and engineering for the Harford County Department of Public Works.

"She took care of all of that. Catherine was a very responsible, caring and delightful person. She cared about individuals and she cared about the organization and she cared that things were done in the right way," said Ms. Ludwig.

"And she was always fair. No challenge was ever too great that Catherine wouldn't pick up the ball and run with it," said Ms. Ludwig. "She was dogged when it came to finding answers to problems."

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In 1986, Mrs. Kane married John B. Kane, a lawyer whom she had known since the two were in the fifth grade at Hampton Elementary School in Towson.

Mrs. Kane was a world traveler and she and her husband enjoyed skiing. She was the longtime treasurer of the Harford Ski Club.


"She especially loved skiing in the Dolomites in northern Italy," said Mr. Kane, who said his wife also liked traveling throughout the American West where "she and her family shared wonderful memories of food and friendship."

Mrs. Kane also looked forward to annual weekend retreats with close childhood friends, her husband said.

A memorial service will begin at 10 a.m. March 23 with visitation, which will be followed by services at 11 a.m., at Towson United Methodist Church, 501 Hampton Lane.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Kane is survived by two sons, Dr. Adam R. Seipp of College Station, Texas, and David O. Ramsey of Astoria, Ore.; her father, Dr. Wilbur O. Ramsey of Towson; and three grandchildren. An earlier marriage ended in divorce.