Catharine Smoot Major

Teacher, Red Cross Captain

Catharine Griffith Smoot "Kitty" Major, 90, who served with the American Red Cross in Europe during World War II and taught school in Fairfax County, died of congestive heart failure July 8 at Inova Fairfax Hospital. She lived in Annandale.

She was born in North Wilkesboro, N.C., where her father was opening the family's newest tannery. She graduated from Alexandria High School and from Farmville State Teachers College, now Longwood University in Virginia. She taught at the Mount Vernon School for seven years but then joined the American Red Cross in November 1942 and shipped out to England.

For the next several years, she served as captain of a Red Cross clubmobile named the Tommy Gun and was assigned to accompany infantry units during their invasion of Europe. She and her team were among the first 300 American Red Cross workers to reach the Cherbourg Peninsula and to begin supporting the Allied invasion in 1944.

Returning to Alexandria in 1948, she resumed her teaching career and married at her great-grandparents' home in Alexandria, Lafayette House. She continued her teaching career in North Carolina, Florida and then back in Northern Virginia.

In 1962, she began teaching at Fairview Elementary in Fairfax County, a position she held until she retired in 1979. She and several of her teaching colleagues and friends were honored at Fairview's 90th anniversary celebration in 1989.

In retirement, she enjoyed travel, photography, reading and needlepoint. She especially enjoyed bowling with her friends at the Annandale Lanes each week for more than 25 years.

Her marriage to C. Stanley Major ended in divorce.

Survivors include two sons, Clinton Smoot Major of Mobile, Ala., and Charles S. Major II of Alexandria; and a granddaughter.