In Memory of Cathie Katz
May 14, 1948  to  Nov. 22, 2001

Modified from her book, "Nature, a Day at a Time":
A former senior editor at the Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory at Cape Canaveral, Cathie Katz has written several wildlife books from her home in Melbourne, Florida. Cathie has lived in Israel, Holland, Germany, Spain and Portugal, studying a broad range of natural habitats. She was a superb wildlife illustrator and the author of The Nature of Florida series, founder of The Drifting Seed newsletter with Dr. Charles R. Gunn, and director of an annual International Beachcombers' Symposium. Her last book she was working on, Beaches and Beyond, was to be an illustrated book about the behaviors of ocean animals to show that science and spirit are inseparable. With her energy and enthusiasm, Cathie was an inspiration to all who were fortunate enough to have crossed her path. We now annually recognize and celebrate her birthday, May 14th, as "Sea-Bean Awareness Day".

Click the Brick! Cathie Katz...
  • Cathie's Bean, Canavalia nitida
  • Nature books Cathie wrote & illustrated
  • What happened to Cathie's copy of the "World Guide"?
  • Click the Brick!

    I welcome your additions to this page and to Cathie's memory,
    in the form of your pictures, words, and thoughts of Cathie.
    Please e-mail them to me; see: Contact Info

    "Florida Today" newspaper articles
    11/28/2001: Sea Bean Lady finishes journey
    11/29/2001: Memorial service honors 'sea bean lady' Cathie Katz
    10/16/2002: "Sea Bean Symposium honors its late founder"

    I first crossed paths with Cathie during late summer of 1999, via an e-mail link from her website www.seabean.com, while searching for a used copy of Gunn & Dennis's "World Guide to Tropical Drift Seeds and Fruits", for I (like many others) had a torn and tattered, probably illegal, 5th generation photocopy. She informed me that it was being reprinted by Krieger Publishing Co., that a few copies would be available at the 1999 Sea-Bean Symposium, and that I should attend the symposium to get a copy.

    I was thrilled not only with the thought of owning a clean copy of the book, but also of the upcoming symposium  ...of which I had never heard of such a thing, and a chance to meet Cathie. Cathie allocated some of her busy schedule and snail-mailed me a copy of the latest newsletter, The Drifting Seed, and a few copies of past newsletters. I complimented Cathie on the newsletters, her illustrations, and her excellent website, but pointed out that the website could be improved just a tad if it had copies of all past newsletters on it, so that anyone interested could get them at any time. Not to leave her hanging with this thought and task, I offered to scan and prepare past issues for website downloading, and create a demo page on my own website for her to examine. Disbelieving, due to offers of help from others in the past, yet trusting me (for some reason), she sent me precious originals or printed copies of all past newsletters. Within three weeks, due to the impending symposium, I directed Cathie to the newsletter demo page on my own website. Thrilled, she gave me access to her website for uploading the new files.

    I finally met Cathie, face-to-face, at the 1999 Sea-Bean Symposium. I bought myself a reprint of the "World Guide" (along with 4 additional copies for gifts!). Cathie and I "hit it off" and she asked if I would take "full and forever" charge of website maintenance. Continually in shock from her enthusiasm, I agreed and we kept in touch. She was always tapping me for nature-related information, due both to my science background and her constant quest for knowledge of nature. Cathie's constant enthusiasm was contagious (as all who knew her will attest), and we ended up writing a book together: "The Little Book of Sea-Beans and Other Beach Treasures"   ...the only book she ever co-authored. I marveled as I used to watch her draw, especially as she'd tilt her head slightly to one side, ponder a bit, then strike an odd pose   ...and then, voila! out came "Little Larry" on paper in just such a pose. We did the book together, but surely, Cathie made it a fun book to do and to have.

    Cathie had big plans to do a series of "Little Books" with me, to the point of listing (pg. 74 of the Sea-Bean book) the second in the series, "The Little Book of Sea Turtles". Although I started it, Cathie had no time for it in her later months as she knew that she had to focus on her next "big book" priority: "Beaches and Beyond". The little sea turtle book never made the predicted production date of 2001, and will surely suffer from lack of her input, should it ever be printed.

    I am glad that Cathie and I crossed paths. I will very much miss Cathie, her spirit, and her enthusiasm. However, I will always remember her as I continue to support her by promoting the sea-beans that she so dearly loved and by providing "full and forever" website maintenance for her, as promised. Cathie legally left the www.seabean.com website to me in her will.

    Paul Mikkelsen

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    www.seabean.com In Memory of Cathie Katz
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