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

Some thoughts from Cathie's Friends

Bob and Mary Reed: A sad day at the beach.

Dear friends -- We just learned of Cathie's passing.
    Little did Cathie realize, but because of her encouragement and writings we became hooked on beaning. As Peter knows, we adopted Playalinda as our beach [Canaveral National Seashore, Florida, USA].
    We doubt there will ever be a time when we comb the beach for those treasures that come from the ocean that our thoughts are not of Cathie.
    It is truly a sad day for us, but we know she will be watching over us as we continue to find those beans.

From Alan Rammer:
Although I had never personally met Cathie Katz, I feel I must write to you after having received the recent edition of the Drifting Seed and add my thoughts about Cathie.

I became interested in sea beans when I saw a display of them that Curt Ebbesmeyer brought to the Ocean Shores, Washington Beachcombers Festival some years ago. I had always admired his sea bean necklace --- the intricate shapes, colors and sizes. I started this festival in 1985 and chaired it for the first five years. Curt began coming to our fair about five years ago. He told me about this avid beachcomber who was as fascinated with all aspects of the shoreline as I ---- her name was Cathie Katz. I started combing our shores for sea beans but other than a few acorns and black walnuts, there wasn't much to find.

I began writing to Cathie about two years ago. We then started e-mailing each other and in a very short time she became a very special mentor to me. Her enthusiasm was infectious even though electronic mail and note cards was how we knew each other. When I found out about her cancer I tried to send get well and encouragement cards on a regular basis. When I took my long dreamed trip to Australia and New Zealand earlier last year, it wasn't the sea shells that captivated me as I wandered the shores of the Great Barrier Reef but the search for bigger treasure ---- sea beans! I was amazed at how fast my eyes became acclimated to their shapes, sizes and textures and within minutes I was filling my pockets with many of the items I had seen in her sea bean book. In four hours I had "pounds" of sea beans!!!! I shared them with the others on my tour group and they too became "infected".

I couldn't wait to get home and tell Cathie all about this trip and how I plan to go back soon. She published part of my story in one of the last year's newsletters [see: Drifting Seed, Sept. 1, 2001, vol. 7(2):12-13]. I told her I planned to come to the next symposium so please get better so we could meet face to face. She sent me an autographed sea bean booklet. I will always treasure it and never loan it. It is priceless to me. Seldom in my life have I not met a person face to face and yet they had such an impact on my life. This is how Cathie affected me. I am envious of all of you who have crossed paths with Cathie face to face and will forever feel slighted for missing this opportunity. I will however carry her spirit with me whenever I walk the beaches looking for all beach treasures.

Alan Rammer

From Barbara Taylor:
This morning, Friday, Dec. 29, I received my next copy of the Drifting Seed newsletter in my mailbox, and was eager to see what was new in the seabean world. Imagine my surprise when I slowly discovered that this newsletter was different from all the rest. Imagine my surprise when I felt the tears flow down my cheeks for a woman I have never met but whose love for the sea, respect for what she held dear (the flow of the Universe), and enormous warmth and people skills streaked across the internet highway, lumbered across the snail mail, and into my heart.

I had been blessed to be selected to go to Costa Rica on Spring Break with a teacher group from BRIT (Botanic Research Institute of Texas, in Ft. Worth), and after 9 delightful days, came home with a cache of sea beans, collected along the Caribbean coastline near Cano Palma in upper northeast CR near Tortuguero, about which I knew nothing but was thoroughly intrigued.

Through BRIT, I became aware of The Drifting Seed newsletter , and made inquiries about some books that would help me know more. Without any request of payment in advance, this delightful, open-hearted woman, Cathie Katz, sent me every book for which I asked, plus several of her own, and three little polished seabeans in a tiny silk purse, and postcards, and an invitation to attend the next SeaBean Symposium. She encouraged me to use what I could on the teaching project I had to complete for the BRIT experience, and said that I could pay her later when I determined what, if anything, I wanted to keep. I paid her for the entire stack of books, amazed that someone I'd never met would be so trusting that she would be taken care of financially. I realized she was a great deal like the teacher in ME in that regard, and instantly felt a kinship with her. We corresponded back and forth several times, I subscribed to the newsletter, and after I perused her delightful artwork and writings in her own beach books, felt that I had hold of a rare jewel, and hoped that someday I might actually make it down to Florida for one of the symposia.

Little did I know that her time on this earth was near an end and that I would never meet her in person. For that, I am saddened, but I also sense that deeper realities were afoot in her life. I feel that she lives on in her books, lives on in her drawings, and lives on in the spirit with which she guided this seabean endeavor. I suspect that the reason she trusted me sight unseen was that she had already discovered that the people who would be affected and interested in sea beans embody a common spirit, one of awe, respect, and oneness with the universe, one that she must have known would exist in me also. I believe that she was and IS a living treasure, one of those rare individuals we occasionally meet whose life force will continue to ripple 'round the 7 seas forever, touching and shaping all those who come in contact with her sensitive and loving effect upon the planet.

God bless Cathie Katz.
Barbara Taylor

From Judi Pobst:
Cathie is someone with whom I always thought I'd spend more time -- and never did. Although I only met her a few times, I knew her. I knew her essence, her loving presence, her soul. Each time she spoke to me, I felt her love. she was always so very happy to see me. How blessed I am! I don't know why she treated me so specially, but she did. She touched me deeply. I remember each time we met. Once at a Melbourne Art Show. She had just read the book "The Artists' Way" by Julia Cameron. She told me how the book had profoundly changed her life. She was so excited (even for Cathie!).

Soon after, she published her first book. I remember when she started getting calls from publishers wanting her book. She said she had come this far on her own -- she would continue on her own (I don't know how Sierra Club managed to later sway her!) Each time I saw Cathie, I was filled with love and light, inspired for days after just thinking of her. She continues to inspire me to live a more loving and appreciative life. I am so grateful to have known her.

With much love & gratitude for the many ways this organization will keep Cathie's work alive, your friend,

Judi Pobst

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