Official Obituary of

Catherine Ann Cortez

February 13, 1953 ~ March 12, 2024 (age 71) 71 Years Old

Catherine Cortez Obituary

Catherine Ann Cortez (February 13, 1953 to March 12, 2024)

Catherine Ann Cortez, age 71, of Tiburon, CA, passed away in her home on March 12, 2024. She was known as Cathy to her parents and siblings and as Cortez to her extended family and friends.  Cathy was preceded in death by her parents and her sister Patricia.  She is survived by her Aunt Catherine Barri; siblings Mary Anne Cortez (William Price), Carolyn Cortez Slowikowski (Daniel), and Christopher Robert Cortez (Tamera); 11 nieces and nephews; 19 great nieces and nephews; and numerous cousins from her prolific family.

Cathy was born in Santa Barbara, CA in 1953 to Robert Boniface Cortez and Mary Anne (Kohn) Cortez.  As their first child, she made sure her subsequent siblings knew “rank has its privileges” whenever family benefits and advantages were given.  When rank alone was insufficient, she was quick to call “dibs” with the strategic placement of a licked finger on whatever tasty morsel was contested.  She was a proud Air Force brat as her father served during her childhood.  Due to military transfers, she attended at least five grammar schools and two high schools.  Ultimately, Cathy graduated from O’Fallon H.S., in Illinois while her family was stationed at Scott Air Force Base.

After graduation, Cathy returned to her beloved home state of California.  Her extensive family of aunts, uncles, and cousins quickly welcomed her with open arms.  Aunt Cathy Barri and Uncle Armando Barri were her second parents.  She worked in various jobs, including as a telephone operator in San Francisco, a job fitted for her witty linguistic skills.  However, Cathy’s true love was working with dogs, having a rare communication talent when it came to pups.  The most mischievous dogs would behave like angels under her care. 

Being vertically challenged, it was a surprise that she chose to play the accordion, an instrument that was large in comparison to her size.  Maybe there is some truth that coffee and cigarettes stunt your growth?  She was also fond of dark chocolate, Coca Cola, bacon, tacos, and Old Bob’s beef stew.   Two of her favorite past times were reading and arguing.  Speaking of arguing, all knew she would strictly interpret rules and expect others to follow suit especially if she caught you as a “razz on a spazz.”  She admonished non-rule followers by saying, “a card laid is a card played.”  If that logic was not enough, she’d double down with “of all the nerve.”  Bottom line, although diminutive, she, like her two short and stubborn sisters, could be a force of nature if she caught you in her crosshairs.

Fortunately for her community, Cathy made her mark devoting herself and her talents to her passions and causes.  Cortez was brilliantly intelligent and an astoundingly quick study.  She became an advocate for low income housing and served as a board member in housing-related matters.  Although not trained in the legal field, Cathy self-educated and could cite rules, statutes, and regulations to the sub-paragraph.  She was gifted with an excellent memory and a zeal for helping others. 

Cathy will be remembered for her unique sayings for life events and actions and for her sense of style. She used her cleverness to name her close friends and family such as “Bear” (cousin Richard Barri), “Maxine” (sister Mary Anne), “Thern” (cousin Catherine Rice), and “Ricster” (Ric West friend and adopted cousin).  Everyone who knew her can close their eyes and hear the jingle and jangle of her many many bracelets and bangles.  Surely, Mary and Bob heard her coming.

Cathy’s family know she guarded her personal affairs and was burdened with personal struggles she carried alone. We are comforted that she is now at peace.  Eternal rest dear sister. 

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Funeral Mass
April 3, 2024

11:00 AM
All Souls Catholic Church
315 Walnut Avenue
South San Francisco, CA 94080


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