Cathy Hoy

Cathy Hoy, from left, is escorted by Jim Netto during her surprise retirement party, which took place at YMCA in La Canada. Hoy is retiring after 45 years at the YMCA. (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Staff Photographer / April 12, 2012)

From heading up summer camp to setting up computer systems, Cathy Hoy has been an integral part of the Crescenta-Canada YMCA for the past 45 years. Tomorrow Hoy will head into work at the YMCA for the last time, sealing a decades-long alliance with people she considers “a second family.”

Her colleagues appear to share the sentiment, as around 160 current and former co-workers attended Hoy's retirement party on April 12.

Hoy's comment about family is not just talk. She met her late husband while working at the YMCA. Her daughter also met her husband there, and Hoy's three sons have all worked there.

Starting as a volunteer in June 1967, Hoy was hired part-time later that year for $1.25 an hour. Over the years she moved up from sports secretary and camp secretary to office manager, then information technology manager, then director of administrative services, and finally, director of human resources.

Hoy said her successful efforts last year to bring back the annual Prayer Breakfast after a four-year hiatus was particularly rewarding, as was her leadership in bringing the Y into the computer age in the mid-1980s.

“That was a real challenge because I was not computer-savvy at the time, but I chose to take that on, and thought we were hugely successful,” she said.

Hoy also earned a reputation as a kind of ambassador to the Y for new staffers and others.

YMCA board member Kim Beattie first met Hoy in the mid-1990s and has since gotten to know her well.

“When I joined the board of directors I didn't know many people and she was really welcoming, and really helped my transition onto the board,” she said.

“Cathy is probably the most dedicated employee and she's more than an employee,” Beattie added.

“She's passionate about the Y, she's here for everybody, she has its best interests at heart at all times.”

Hoy said she has merely reflected the spirit of the place when she first walked in the door.

“I started as a volunteer, and everybody was very welcoming and embraced me immediately and it's been like a family ever since,” said Hoy.

“I've made friends that I'll keep forever, whether I still stay in the community or not.”