Cathy Costello

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The youngest of two children, Cathy was born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised in Overland Park. She attended the University of Kansas, obtaining her bachelor’s degree in classical music and opera. While a Junior at K.U., she met “the right fellow,” – student Mark Costello at church, a handsome young man four years her senior from Bartlesville, Oklahoma. They fell madly in love and were engaged three weeks later. Mark and Cathy were married in 1982 and have raised their 5 children in Edmond, Oklahoma.

During the early years, Cathy worked in education in Texas and Oklahoma while Mark worked for Philips Petroleum. Cathy directed the church choir and frequently sang in the community chorus, for weddings, funerals, Christmas parties, radio and retirement homes – which she still does today. She has been active in crisis pregnancy support and counseling across the state. Cathy and Mark were recently auction chairs for the Green Tie Gala, a Catholic Charities program that provides support and housing to homeless and at-risk women and children. With a strong belief in parental school choice and individual learning styles, Cathy home-educated some of their 5 children for 16 years. Cathy is a member of the Edmond Republican Women’s Club and the First Ladies of the Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women.

Cathy and Mark understood the value of hard work, having both put themselves through college. Mark had an entrepreneurial spirit and with the help of Cathy, began several small businesses. She set appointments, kept books, worked in sales and was the janitor at their first brick and mortar business! With fearless determination, Mark and Cathy eventually built 8 businesses in 6 industries across 60 countries.

In 2009, Mark sought Cathy’s advice and support to pursue a lifelong desire to run for public office. In 2010, Mark was elected as the Oklahoma State Labor Commissioner by the largest margin in Oklahoma history against an incumbent. Cathy was frequently seen at Mark’s side as he traveled the state speaking with the workforce. In 2015, Mark was overwhelmingly re-elected for his second term, and at its’ conclusion planned to run for Lieutenant Governor.

Mark loved his job and loved serving the people of Oklahoma. He visited with Cathy on a daily basis seeking advice and sharing with her the challenges he faced as the leader of the DOL. He was also an excellent and faithful husband, loving father and dedicated Christian.

But the greatest challenge that faced the Costellos was the devastating mental illness that befell their second oldest child. For the past 8 eight years, their oldest son has suffered with diagnosed bipolar disorder with psychosis and paranoid schizophrenia. “Our son’s mental health and happiness was Mark’s number one concern. He did everything medically, physically, emotionally and spiritually he possibly could for his son.” When the opportunity to run for Congress arose, Mark declined this lifelong dream so he could be present to help his son. On August 23rd, 2015, after a quiet summer dinner at a local restaurant, during a paranoid schizophrenic psychotic break, their son Christian inexplicably stabbed his father to death. Mark died in Cathy’s arms. She is determined to honor Mark and work tirelessly to help the tens of thousands of Oklahoma families who suffer with mental illness through education and advocacy. Cathy and Mark would have been married 34 years on January 8th, 2016.

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