October 18, 1947 – March 29, 2022
We lovingly mourn the loss of Juana Caterina (Cathy, Toki, Tootje, Cat) Enriqueta Lucas Maria Geuer who passed away March 29, 2022 in Williams Lake BC at the age of 74.
Born October 18, 1947 in the mountains of Bolivia near Coroico to the joy of Els (Vermeij) and Juan Geuer, Caterina led a life of adventure from the very beginning. Surviving childhood illness and political instability in her early years, she immigrated to the Ottawa Valley with her family when she was 6. Her childhood and adolescent years were very busy as the eldest child of a large family whose home was notoriously full of welcome, creativity, and love – and within which she acquired her strong sense of ethics. Always a bookworm, she went on to earn a BA in Sociology and English Literature from St Patrick’s College, Carleton University in 1969.
She enjoyed many adventures including travels to Holland, a trip to Morocco and across the Sahara, and backpacking throughout India. Caterina held a varied and accomplished career path. She worked in government where she particularly enjoyed her role at the Le Dain Commission.
She left to pursue an interest in health foods, and was owner-operator of a number of businesses including the Dalai Lama’s Bakery in Almonte and Starlight Catering in Ottawa. Switching gears, she then joined a variety of not-for-profit organizations working on issues she was passionate about: the Sierra Club of Canada, Cultural Survival Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation, the Troubadour Centre, and Royal Roads University Foundation.
Through her work organizing the Clayoquot Express, she decided to move out west and lived and worked in Vancouver, on Mayne Island, and in Victoria before retiring to William’s Lake. Throughout her life, she volunteered for other organizations focused on the environment, social progress, and reconciliation. In her final years she navigated the increasing demands of living with Parkinson’s and dementia together with her partner Sage. During this time, she found joy in sharing a good meal, maintaining connections, making pottery, and spending time in her garden.
Caterina lived large, and faced a great number of challenges with immense bravery and unrelenting positivity. Incredibly outgoing, she was known for her open door, her warm welcome, and her generous spirit. She valued relationships and was always ready with a pot of tea or another plate at the table. She loved children, and was a loving mother and a delighted and doting Oma who always made time to share in wonder and play. Music brought her joy, and she would never pass up an opportunity to enjoy a live show or go dancing.
Caterina is survived by her partner Sage Birchwater; her children Suusa (Jos), Judith (Carina), Noah (Maki), Rosie (Alex), Johanna (Chris), and Jasmine (Brandon); her grandchildren Felix, Oliver, Connor, Caleb, Mira, Dolphin, Hudson, Ezra, Raziel, and Nomi; her former partner Ron Farmer; her siblings Fred (Vicki), Wendy (Vern), Sunniva (Matthew), Monica (Chris), Agnes (Wayne), and Steve (Lisa); her partner’s children Junah (Lana) and Shiney (Jen); and their children Caleb, Acacia, Xavier, Jonathan, Owen, Wesley, Asher, and Capri; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends and family around the globe. Caterina was predeceased by her parents Els and Juan, brothers Joseph and Francis, and her first husband (divorced) Keith Martin.
There will be a celebration of life at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please consider one of these suggestions in her honour:
Make space at your table for someone in need,
Empower young talent in your workplace through mentorship,
Make time in your day to laugh and play,
Get outside and appreciate nature and the beauty of the natural world,
Donate to a cause close to her heart such as Scout Island Nature Centre,
Help provide hope to others living with Parkinson’s and/or dementia with a donation to Parkinson’s Canada or Alzheimer Society Canada.
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