The funeral for Catherine McNally, who died in a three-alarm fire at her Northwood house is scheduled for Saturday, July 10.

McNally, known as Kate to her friends and family, became trapped in a room in the second floor of the house on First NH Turnpike, according to State Fire Marshal Sean Toomey. A firefighter was injured trying to reach the 72-year-old. Two other people got out of the house which was fully engulfed in flames as fire crews arrived, according to Northwood Fire Chief Mark Tetreault.

Her funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Northwood. Attendees are asked to wear bright-colored clothes and fancy hats. In lieu of flowers, people are asked to plant and care for a flower in her memory.

Instead of a wake, a community event will be scheduled for a later date to honor her memory. The family is also asking for contributions of memories to be shared for a collection at

Many people already shared memories of the former member of the Northwood school board at the request of her niece on the Northwood NH Community Chat Facebook page.

"I served on the school board with her years ago and she was a wonderful mentor. She taught me so much and helped me clearly understand the responsibilities, challenges and opportunities of being on an elected board," Chris Tappan wrote.

Former Northwood School principal Richard Hartford Jr. remembered how Catherine helped his family find a house to lease when he was first hired.

"She not only provided the name and phone number of someone who leased a perfect home for our family during our first year here, but also wanted me to know if there was anything we needed after moving to town to contact her," Hartford wrote.

Susan Austin remembered how Catherine  brought her dog treats on here visits to town hall and always asked about dog Brutus.

Many also shared memories of being offered plants from Catherine's garden.Gigi Vi said she was a neighbor who still has the plant that grew from the cat nip seed dropped into the space between her driveway and garage door from some plants Catherine gave her.

"The cat nip plant is still growing there and when I collect the leaves for my cats I always think of Kate! She was a lovely lady and always I enjoyed her gregarious nature," Vi wrote.

Two GoFundMe pages have been created to help the McNally family with expenses.

The McNally Family Fund has also been created at the Northwood branch of TD Bank with 100% of the funds going directly to the family.  Donations can be made at any New Hampshire TD bank branch.

Fire at house on First NH Turnpike in Northwood.
Fire at house on First NH Turnpike in Northwood (Mike Magoon)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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