RIP Mum, Catherine Crout-Habel


My name is Kirrily Burton.  I am Catherine Crout-Habel’s daughter.  I am sure that most of you are aware, but perhaps some of you are not, that my much loved Mum, Catherine Crout-Habel passed away on Sunday the 6th of July at Royal Adelaide Hospital.

She posted about her health after her stroke in Feb and has made reference to her ongoing health struggles in comments on her blogs and on Facebook.

In the end it was really very quick, although she had really been quite ill since February.  We were given the diagnosis of metastatic non small cell carcinoma (lung cancer) which had metastasized to her lymph nodes in various parts of her body and her stomach on Thursday the 3rd of July and she passed away three days later.  A quick, relatively painless end is what she wanted most, and that’s exactly how it played out.  She was a winner in death as she was in life and she played by her own rules.

This is the end of my third week of bereavement leave and only now have I had the strength to spend the day looking at her blog.  It was obvious to me that I needed to post a status update, as she would not want to just disappear and leave her loyal followers wondering.

I have read so many caring compassionate comments from you all which has lifted my heart, as I know now that Mum really did have an idea about how much she was cared for by her blogging friends.  I have had contact with some and even quoted some at her funeral, and all the while I thought that she didn’t know how much you all cared about her.

I understand completely now her obsession with blogging.  I see how much love, support and respect was out there for her and why she loved being part of this world.  I now truly understand her obsession and I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for the love and caring you gave her for the last part of her life. 

She always said that her three kids were her greatest joy, but we all know that was closely followed by her online/blogging world.  I have no real regrets, but I do wish that I had thought to take her computer in to her while she was in hospital and blog for her or read some blogs to her.  I know now how much she would have loved that and how much it would have lifted her spirits.

I am new to this blogging world, and so I will now go and approve comments and be on the lookout to approve new comments so that her blog will live on.

Any tips/help/advice along the way would be much appreciated.

Thanks again,


55 thoughts on “RIP Mum, Catherine Crout-Habel

  1. Beautifully said Kirrily and a lovely way to keep Catherine’s stories alive for her grandchildren and future generations. RIP Catherine, you are sadly missed in my blogging world. xxx

  2. A lovely post Kirrily, and yes, your Mum was much loved and admired in the blogging world for her humour, her Aussie flavour and her passion for her family’s stories over the generations. She will be much missed. It would be wonderful if you wanted to take up baton from her and if any of us can help I’m sure we would be happy to do so. Not everyone uses WP but I do and find it straightforward enough, however if you want a hand please feel free to email me.

  3. Hi Kirrily,
    How lovely of you to post on Catherine’s blog. I had heard via Miss Marzipan about your mother’s death and was truly sad to hear about her passing. Even when she wasn’t well she wrote and commented and kept in touch. I do miss her presence in the blogging world.
    Sincere sympathy to you and the family, and I am sure Catherine would be so thrilled that you have made contact with us.
    I don’t know if Catherine kept copies of her posts. But you make like to download them somewhere just to make sure they are not lost by accident, or some mishap via WordPress.

    • Thank you Gallivanta. I can feel her smiling down on me 🙂 That is a great idea. I don’t think she did keep copies, I will have to work out how to download them – any tips?

      • I save each post into my documents; then transfer each document on to a flash drive. It’s just that Catherine said her work on the site was her legacy, so some way of capturing it seems a good idea. There may be an easier way to do it. I am not all that ‘wise’ about computers. 😦

      • About the same time as your mother died, another blogging friend of mine died very unexpectedly. I know you have plenty of your own grieving to do but perhaps, at some stage, you would like to look at Christine’s blog……. Her family are not yet sure what they will do with her legacy. You may find comfort in seeing how others cope with this new phenomenon of cyberspace legacies and friendships.

  4. Oh Kirrily, words fail me. I hadn’t heard the sad news, what a shock, but thank you so much for letting us know about Catherine. My deepest condolences to you and your family. I know that Catherine will be missed by many, myself included. ❤ ❤

    • Thank you Joanne. To know that you hadn’t heard and that you are a person that obviously needed to know, tells me I did the right thing. I am feeling calm and at peace and I know that this is the reason. She has left a big hole in a lot of lives. I love knowing that you will all miss her too.

  5. Hi Kirrily, I am so sorry to hear that about your mum. I never met her in person, but she I could tell how big her heart was, and how wise she was from her responses to some of my posts. I did not know that she was ill, and wondered why she hadn’t updated her blog. I now know the sad reason why. If you need help blogging, just let me know. I’m sure your mum would be thrilled to know that you are continuing her blogging legacy.

    • Thank you Dianne. You are obviously another person that is the reason I needed to update her blog. I can see from some of her messages how important it was to her that she not just disappear with no-one knowing the reason. Thank you Dianne, I will be sure to yell out. Cheers 🙂

  6. Hello Kirrily, my commiserations to you and your family. I hadn’t heard about your Mum passing away until now though I had of course noticed her absence.She will be greatly missed. Her blog has always been warm and friendly as well as fun and sometimes educational as she delved into the next layers of your family story.
    I’m delighted the blog will stay alive in her memory and I hope you get as much fun out of it as she did
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    • Thank you David. You are the third person that makes me know I did the right thing by writing the post today. I am not really sure how all of this blogging world works, and so really did think that word would have got around and maybe I was “flogging a dead horse” (so to speak). Ha ha, I sound like Mum already, don’t I? Mum always quoted Nana (her Mum) and now I see myself quoting her. That’s funny.

      This could be the beginning of something new for me. I was getting sick of Facebook, and so maybe this might be the change I was looking for….. I’m assuming it’s not creepy or distressing for posts or replies to be coming from me under Mum’s name.

      Loving this support 🙂

  7. Kirrily, a beautiful post about your Mum. I was deeply saddened to read of her passing.

    Your Mum wrote to me in February just after my own Mum passed away. Her message to me was keep smiling, remembering & talking about Mum. Then she moved onto several paragraphs of genealogical news and chatter – confirming that life goes on for those of us left behind. We frequently commented on each others blogs, and I think it would be lovely if you carried on her blogging & perhaps genealogical baton.

    I would not have regrets about not taking her computer to hospital. If she had wanted it, she would have found a way to ask; & I wonder if simply being with her family was exactly what she wanted.

    My thoughts are with you & your family as you navigate the weeks ahead. If there is anything I can do, please get in touch. It does get ‘easier’, take one day at a time. Our Mum’s live on in our hearts forever.

    • Thank you Julie, I especially appreciate advice at the moment from people who have walked before me, have felt the loss of losing their own Mum, especially if they were close to them too. Thank you for your kind words about not taking her computer in to the hospital. I think you are right.

  8. I have tears in my eyes. It is so nice of you to write this and the emotion is evident.

    I am so sorry for your loss.

    Like others have said, it would be great if you could continue your mother’s work.

    • Thank you Sharon. I feel like I have tackled a really big part of how I can keep Mum alive. I kept saying when she died “thank God we have her blog” and “thank God she was a documenter”. It is only now that I truly understand the full implications of this. It’s all here – all those hours of hard work. And there is so much she still wanted to do. I know that I have to work out how to tell Nellie’s story. She kept saying that, and I found the newspaper articles she had uncovered. A very tragic family story that I know needs to be told. I think that will be my first blog post of my own. I hope you are all gentle with me 🙂


  9. How wonderful you are Kirrily and I know that she would be so proud…you brought tears to my eyes. I miss her deeply and doing ancestry is just not the same without her. It was so much fun when we shared what we had found out about “the family”. I know that you will do a wonderful job on her blog. Much love xxx

  10. Kirrily – I am so sorry to hear the news about your Mum and please accept my condolences. I will let the other genealogy bloggers know about her passing over at later this morning. If there is any advice or info you need in terms of keeping up the blog or having it printed into a book, etc. let me know and I can pull some resources for you.

    • Thank you Thomas. I would really like some help in being able to have her blog printed into a book. She always said “when I write my book” and I know how precious her work is and I want to keep it safe. I was thinking of downloading the posts and saving them somewhere, but a book would be even better. Greatly appreciated.


  11. I am very sorry for your loss. I’m glad you will continue to keep your Mum’s blog alive. It was obviously important to her. As a fellow blogger, I understand her passion. May God bless you and carry you through these tough times as you deal with the loss of your Mum.

  12. Kirrily, I am so sorry to hear of your mother’s death. Hugs and prayers for for healing. I think your mother would be very gratified to know that you are continuing her blog. If you need any help just ask on geneabloggers. Everyone is very supportive.

  13. Oh Kirrily; I hadn’t heard and am so saddened by your mother’s passing. We had lots of lovely blogging exchanges and I valued so much her funny, knowledgeable comments — and of course her posts. I have an article sitting on my computer desktop that I scanned from a magazine to send to your mum after I read a comment she had made. I didn’t know her email address, and messaged her on her blog. I saw the icons yesterday and wondered why she hadn’t got in touch. Now I know! Please add my voice to all of those who pay tribute to your mum. She was a lovely lady and will be very much missed. My thoughts go to you and to all her family. Much love xxx

    • Thank you very much Su. Seeing how many people were unaware of her death keeps reinforcing for me the fact that I did the right thing.

      We all miss her very much and it is so nice every time another voice adds to the group.


      • Hi Kirrily. Thanks so much for replying to my comment. I know your mum would be so proud of the way you have allowed all of us – her blogging whanau to,express our grief and share our memories at a time when you must be hurting so badly. Catherine was a very special person and she had every reason to be so immensely proud of her family.

      • Thanks Su. It helps me to feel like I am connecting with all of those that knew and loved her in the last few years. Her whole world became about genealogy and blogging when her body started failing her. I love seeing every memory that anyone has of her and I love reading people talking about her and the impact she had on their life. It helps keep her close to me. Thank you for your kind words.

      • She was an amazing woman; and incredibly kind and generous with her wisdom and ideas. Her insightful comments have helped me tackle some brick wall in my own family history. But more importantly, I found that I could relate to your Mum’s values and beliefs, and I felt that camaraderie of spirit that we all seek, but don’t always find. I’m glad we can provide some little comfort to you. My very best wishes to you and your family.

  14. Hi Kirrily,
    Thank you for sharing with your journey after Catherine’s death. I too never personally met Catherine but we did exchanged letters, emails and some family history over some years. I enjoyed your Mother’s wit, creative playing with words and determination to tackle problems. She was the kind of woman I wanted in my network of friends.
    I too am researching the Rowan (Rowen) family and have compiled some information about family members. When and if you choose to take up your Mother’s baton, please do not hesitate to contact me.
    Be kind to yourself Kirrily while you adjust to this next stage of your life,
    Condolences to you and your family
    Christine Shears

    • Thank you Christine. Your name is familiar, so Mum must have spoken of you and it was likely in relation to your common research of the Rowan family.


  15. I am so sorry to hear about your mom. She loved reading my blog, and I enjoyed all her comments. I’m sorry she didn’t get to read all of my grandparents’ letters. She will be missed!

  16. Hi Kirrily! Every time I think of you, this blog and your mum, I think of that picture of you as a baby in a bonnet, your mum smiling at you. You truly were her rainbow after the storm. So many things I learned about your family and things your mum cared about/went through/fought for were found here. So glad you have read it and hope to continue the legacy. My heart is still broken for you, but I feel immense hope that healing will come of this… and so happy you know how cherished your mum was both in the family and in the global blogging community. Sending lots of love your way… to your brothers too. From all of us over here. M x

    • Thank Marisa. I am yet to get through it all, and confess that I didn’t have it as a priority to keep up with all her posts while she was here. I wish I did – then we could have talked about them. Oh well.


  17. Thank you, Kirrily, for your lovely tribute to your Mum. It always lifted my heart to read one of her posts, or to see that she’d commented on my blog. She was so generous with her time and her help.

    My own Mum died two years ago (it feels more like two months… but I promise, the pain does get less after a while, just like they say, it’s just that it takes its own time). Catherine was a great comfort, as were many of the geneablogging community – and it is a little community, really, and very supportive.

    I think you’ve done just exactly the right thing. I found it helped me to post about my mum, and I hope the same it true for you. And this is also her legacy, as you point out. I believe that in some way the people we love still carry on while they’re loved and remembered. That is a kind of immortality we can all give the people we miss.

    I’m glad you know how much we genealogy nuts thought of your mum.

    So thanks again for posting this, and remember to look after yourself. It’s one day at a time right now, but you’ll get through.

    Sending my thoughts to all of you,


    • Thank you for your kind words Frances. These mean even more from me when I know that they are coming from someone who has been through it too. Yes, I have to keep trusting that all that everyone says about time decreasing the pain is true.

      I’m so glad that she got a snippet of how much she was cared about by the genealogy/blogging community.


  18. Kirrily, I am sure your Mum would be smiling and saying ‘I knew she would one day’… Like all of us who are obsessed with genealogy, she hoped that someone would follow on with her work. She would be so pleased to know you are doing so. She wouldn’t expect you to do it her way, rather find your own path. As you know, there are so many of us who cared for and about Catherine, and we will gladly help in any way we can. We all have different skills, some shared, so please don’t hesitate to ask. Contact me whenever you wish.. You have my details..

    Your post was just what was needed…your Mum would say you did well.

    • Thanks so much Chris, really appreciate your support. I do have a couple of things bubbling away in my mind. Wondering if I should set myself up as a separate administrator so that the posts and comments I make come under my own name. What do you think?

      • Might be an idea, though it’s up to you. Do whatever you feel comfortable with, but I think it would be easier to change it now if you wish, rather than some time in the future.

      • Thanks Chris, I think I’ve done it! This is a bit of a test that this reply comes from my own, newly created login!

        I worked out how to categorise the post, I just now need to work out how best to put a link to another post in. Any hints?

        Toodleoo (as Mum would say)

  19. Hi Kirrily,I haven’t been able to stop the tears since reading about Catherine.Thank you for letting us know.She was an inspiration to us all.She was always talking about her family she loved you all so much.I had hoped to meet up with her when I come over to SA in January.I am also a descendant of Susan Kelleher. My computer crashed & I lost all my contacts so put everything regarding the family tree on hold.Thank goodness I had saved it all.
    Kirrily I think you are wonderful for taking charge of Mum’s bolgs etc.Her sense of humour was wondedrful.I love going back over them for either a chuckle or to get more on the family.Love to all the family from Wyn Thompson

    • Thank you Wyn. I haven’t spent much time on Mum’s blogs, but I am making a real effort in assisting administering one of her FB groups – Saving a Graves South Australia and it’s associated public “like” page – say no to reuse of graves. Depending on when you are here in January, we might be able to catch up instead? No pressure, just a thought. I recently met Crissouli, a long time blogging friend of Mum’s who never got to meet her face to face, and it was a truely wonderful experience. I felt like I had spent time with Mum. I had trouble stopping the tears, though. 😪

  20. Hello Kirra,

    Interesting posting of your Mums “Of Scabs and Riots”. Andrew Rowan was my Great- Grandfather and the baby Richard Patrick mentioned was my Grandfather.

    • Hi Patrick,

      Wow, that is amazing. Gthanks for your comment. Perhaps you might have some additional information in regard to Andrew Rowan. Mum didn’t ever get to follow the trail, she died first. I will email you direct to discuss further.


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