Catherine Burton Nalley, 58, had misfortune, strong will

Cathy Nalley was ejected  from a car during a 2004 traffic accident and suffered severe brain, back and neck injuries. Her face was reconstructed with metal plates. The mishap left her in constant pain.

Five years later, she was traveling down Ga. 369 in Hall County when a car pulled out in front of her. She swerved, hit an embankment and had her left leg and ankle crushed between the gas and brake pedals.

Her body rejected the hardware used to fuse her ankle together. In recent years, she'd undergone several surgeries to try and repair the limb. She recently planned to get fitted for a prosthetic leg to be ready for the upcoming deer hunting season, said Jamie Lea Nalley of Gainesville, the woman's only child.

Catherine Burton Nalley, formerly of Sandy Springs, died in her sleep Thursday at her home in Gainesville. She was 58. A memorial service was held Sunday at Sandy Springs Chapel Funeral Directors, which handled arrangements.

Mrs. Nalley was born in north Fulton and worked in finance for Hewlett-Packard before her daughter was born. She also was a secretary for the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner's Office and later held the same position for her brother, Dr. Joseph Burton, a forensic pathologist from Alpharetta. She moved from Sandy Springs to Gainesville bordering Lake Lanier about 35 years ago.

Her 2004 car accident happened while she was traveling to a hunting camp in South Georgia. Of the two collisions, that one proved most damaging to Mrs. Nalley, her daughter said. Mrs. Nalley was in an induced coma for two months and spent time in a halo brace. She suffered short-term memory loss.

"She would tell me what she did for the day, and 10 minutes later tell me the same thing again," her daughter said. "It wasn't all the time. You could tell that sometimes she'd get hung up on some words. She had been through so much and she did suffer from depression because of it. She'd have days when she was down, but she held on pretty good."

Mrs. Nalley was married nearly 40 years to the late James Leon Nalley.  An avid deer hunter, she hunted on family property in South Georgia near the Midville community.

"I've always told people she was a cat with 18 lives, and she used up quite a few of them," said Terry Hopper, a friend from the Lake Lanier area. "She had the strongest will of any person I ever met."

Additional survivors include her sisters Nancy Maloney of Dawsonville and Patti Burton of Gainesville.