Fierce and faithful: the righteous life of Cathy Stokes

The righteous life of Cathy Stokes

Published: Saturday, May 19 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

By all accounts, Stokes can be counted on to do good. She volunteers with the African-American Genealogy and Historical Society of Utah and is a member of the Utah AIDS Foundation board of trustees. Twice a week, she sits at the front desk of the Huntsman Cancer Hospital, greeting patients and directing them where they need to go, a task she's devoted to.

" 'Miss Cathy,' as we've come to call her … just brings this great energy to the information desk," said Blanca Raphael, patient and family resource manager at the Huntsman. Raphael mentioned Stokes' particular gift with children, putting them and their parents at ease.

"Little kids generally will respond to me," said Stokes cheerfully. "I see my job at the Hunstman as to try to get a smile from everybody who enters, especially our patients and their families" she said.

Her warmth is not just reserved for children but dispensed liberally to the adults who once toddled around her Chicago brownstone. She keeps tabs on them all, visiting them all over the country and sending them holiday jelly bellies.

"Ties bind with that woman. It's just remarkable," said Tyler Cole, one of her long-ago adopted Hyde Park children, who is now in his 30s and works for the Department of Defense. "She is one of a kind for sure."

Christel Green has stayed in touch with Stokes as well. When Stokes first met Christel's boyfriend (now husband), she made her protectiveness clear.

"She may have said the exact words, 'What are your intentions?' " said Green, laughing a little ruefully. "I think she thought he was a little too comfortable. She was not going to be charmed. I think she saw it as her job that he was worthy of me. Since we've got engaged, she's been very, very supportive."

Stokes flew to Washington, D.C.. for their wedding just weeks ago.

Email: lmarostica@desnews.com

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