August 31, 1939 - May 29, 2020
Catherine (Catalina) Priscilla Laforet-Garcia, began dancing in Paradise on May 29th, 2020. She was blessed in these times to have passed of natural causes in Newark, CA with her family surrounding her, daughter and son-in-law, Nanette and Tim Kautz and the grandchildren, Daniel, Lillian and David Kautz. Also, by her side was her thirty-year companion and care-giver Steve Rogge, as well as her ex-husband Charles Leroy Gonzales. She is survived by her brothers and sisters; Frank R. Garcia, Rose Orrmons, Gabe and his wife JoAnn Garcia, Marina and her husband Joel Garcia-Gelpe. Catherine’s parents were from Questa, New Mexico and preceded her to their heavenly mansions, Francisco Velasquez Garcia and Lillian (Elira) Garcia. Nieces and nephews include Nick Aiello, Elizabeth Drury, Sunshine Becker, Sean Garcia, Francis Quanah and Jordan Garcia and her God-daughter, Lourdes Baca Riquetti. Catherine had two careers, one at Cal State East Bay and, after retirement, began a teaching career for Fremont Unified School District (Elementary). She had an A.A. in Business Administration and a B.A. in Literature (Spanish Literature). She traveled the world from the great pyramids to nearby Hawaii. She took several trips to Italy and saw the Pope. Her homes were in Newark, CA, Lake Tahoe, and in summers Napili, Maui. Catherine was an artist and a musician. She performed Hawaiian dancing (since 1950). Her hobbies included playing the Hawaiian Steel Guitar and performing on her ukulele with Kaleponi Strings and at Ukulele Festivals. She also dabbled on the banjo. Catherine left many of her tole painting works from when she studied with Carl Larson. As a seamstress, she made many beautiful ballet costumes while working with Ballet Celeste and Kyra Nijinska to recreate Afternoon of the Faun costumes. When her daughter performed Pocahontas for the International Music Festival, Catherine designed and sewed a Pocahontas costume that later inspired the costume for the movie. She was also the coordinator for the CA tours of Hawaiian musicians Eddie Bush and Henry Allen. Catherine was an activist working with Ceasar Chavez and supported Native American issues through the American Indian Movement as well as many other issues. Her favorite past-time was taking her grandchildren anywhere at any time. She was a loving grandma who loved to babysit the grandchildren. She never missed any one of their performances or activities. She supported Daniel in his film career and Lillian and David in their performances at StarStruck and Ballet Petit among others. She gave her grandchildren everything she could and was thankful to have them with her one last time as she cherished her grandchildren. She will always be missed, now she is with the living word. Her Memorial services are pending due to pandemic, but she would have loved a tree planted in her memory.