Catherine Gregg, 96; part of political family

EXETER, N.H. — Catherine Gregg, the wife of one New Hampshire governor and the mother of another, died Friday at her home in Exeter. She was 96.

Along with her husband, Hugh, she was passionate about preserving New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary and was heavily involved in protecting the state’s environment and cultural heritage. A noted philanthropist, she served on many boards and was instrumental in saving the Wentworth-Coolidge mansion in Portsmouth, the former home of New Hampshire’s first royal governor. Her son, Judd, also served as a US representative and senator, in addition to governor.

According to her family, she loved books, gardening, and animals, and for many years she raised Newfoundlands at her home in Nashua. Known as Cay, she graduated from Connecticut College. With her husband, she started a restaurant in Florida and ran a children’s bookstore in Hollis.


‘‘Catherine Gregg was a great friend, a wonderful first lady, and a tireless champion of traditional New Hampshire values,’’ said former governor John H. Sununu.

Senator Kelly Ayotte called Mrs. Gregg a “strong woman of the highest character.’’

Hugh Gregg, a Republican who served as governor from 1953 to 1955, died in 2003.

In addition to her son Judd, Mrs. Gregg leaves another son, Cy; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Services will be private.

Mrs. Gregg was “an extraordinary person of exceptional energy who had a fascinating variety of interests, most of which revolved around making New Hampshire a better place to live and working with my father to do just that,” Judd Gregg said, according to the Union Leader of Manchester, N.H.