Obituary: Tomboy Nancy (Mudge) Cato was in a joining of her own

Kim Cato Purmort knew that her mom was a sports fanatic. But it wasn’t until a Hollywood film builder began job that she detected her mom had played second bottom in a mythological All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

Nancy (Mudge) Cato, who died Jul 24 in her Elk River home during age 82, didn’t like to pull courtesy to herself, her daughter said.

When actresses Geena Davis and Madonna took to a margin in a 1992 film “A League of Their Own,” Cato pulled out a yellowed journal articles, her aged glove, and some copies of reel-to-reel film clips of her league-playing days for her daughter and grandchildren to see.

Cato assimilated a fasten in 1949 and spent a subsequent 6 seasons personification for a Fort Wayne Daisies, a Springfield Sallies, Chicago Colleens, Kalamazoo Lassies, Battle Creek Belles and a Muskegon Belles. The ball stats and a aged articles gave Purmort a glance into a past that explained because her mom knew a thing or dual about personification baseball.

It was a ability she picked adult as a child in Bridgeport, N.Y., a city of about 250 people during a Depression. Outside a two-room schoolhouse, a boys collected on a “grassy” yard ragged to mud for an unpretentious diversion of ball or “scrub” football, removed Cato’s brother, Baden Powell Mudge Jr. of Rome, N.Y. Sides were chosen, and his sister was always a initial one picked, he said. “She could throw, run and hit,” he said. “She could outpace all a boys.”

When winter came, Cato skated alongside a boys on a iced-over pool in a farmer’s field. “She could skate, oh boy,” Mudge said. And in a diversion of marbles, “there were usually one or dual boys who could fire improved than her, and they didn’t always win.”

“She could have damn good been my brother,” pronounced Mudge, who removed a Christmas morning when they awoke to find a baby carriage and doll for Cato. But his sister was some-more meddlesome in her brother’s football.

“She was a tomboy,” Mudge said. His mom was a bit unhappy that Christmas when her usually daughter wasn’t anxious with her new doll, Mudge said. Years later, that same hoyden from Bridgeport grew adult to be a mom who was nonplussed by an usually daughter who wasn’t as meddlesome in sports as she was.

“My mom was always so competitive,” pronounced Purmort, of Elk River. “I did only about each competition though we didn’t have a drive. It totally done her crazy.”

Her mother, a earthy preparation clergyman during a University of Minnesota for scarcely dual decades, played in internal softball leagues, built partial of her house, used a chainsaw until she was 70, plowed her asparagus fields until she was 78 and “could still flog my boundary in tennis during 79,” Purmort said. “I’m not kidding, and I’m not that bad.”

“She was really feisty. A no-nonsense woman,” Purmort said. Whether she was in a stands interesting for veteran players, college athletes or her possess grandchildren, Cato exuded fad for a game. “She would scream during my kids, ‘Get aggressive. Get scrappy,'” Purmort said.

Cato was a lady who was dependant to chocolate, orange cocktail and quick small sports cars. And while she could be despotic and “very authoritarian,” she also could be “mushy and gushy,” her daughter said.

“She had a large heart,” and clinging some-more than 15 of her after years to jail ministry, her daughter said.

At home, her mother, an “exceptional cook” constantly had people over for dinner.

“She used to say, ‘You never know when we will be interesting angels,” Purmort said.

Cato also is survived by 4 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be during 10 a.m. Monday during Gateway Church in Elk River, where a commemorative use will be hold during 11 a.m.

Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788