Catherine Rossman
1949 - 2020
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Catherine Ellen (Graf) Rossman
January 16, 1949 - September 21, 2020
Catherine Ellen (Graf) Rossman, "Cathie" to all who knew her, passed away suddenly at the age of 71, from a non-COVID-19-related illness.
Have Dog - Will Travel, and Cathie did just that. A resident of Gardnerville, NV, for the last eight years, Cathie eagerly hit the open road with a Belgian Sheepdog or two in tow to enjoy the company of her friends at dog shows and visit her grandchildren. She loved volunteering for the Belgian Sheepdog Rescue Trust – her time, miles on her vehicle, and even her sleep. A cheery red sign in her kitchen summed up Cathie's attitude about her dogs: "This house is set up for the care and comfort of our dogs. If you cannot accept that then you cannot accept us. Please go away."
Barbara Moran and Otto Graf, Jr. welcomed their daughter into the world on January 16, 1949. A third-generation San Francisco native, Cathie developed her love of Irish drinking songs, Elvis Presley, and See's Candies while growing up in the Sunset District surrounded by her large, Irish Catholic family. She had a story for everything and could stretch a 10-minute conversation into a two-hour re-telling of an epic tale, usually leaving the listener in stitches. Cathie spent three years giving the Sisters of Mercy at Mercy High School a run for their money before graduating from San Francisco Polytechnic High School in 1967. Prior to starting a family, she jetted around the City on her motorcycle, wearing an authentic policeman's motorcycle helmet.
Cathie met Norman Rossman on a blind date in a bar in February 1972. He proposed after five weeks - it is unknown what took him so long. Five months later, they danced to "Stand by Your Man" at their wedding. Honeymooning at Lake Tahoe, neither knew they would settle there in 2000. The couple was blessed with two loving daughters who made them proud. Cathie and her family enjoyed laughing together, training and showing their dogs, and vacationing at Lake Tahoe.
Cathie was known for her proofreading and editing skills as well as a fierce attention to detail. She relied heavily on those skills as editor of the Belgian Sheepdog Club of America newsletter for several years and employed them in nearly 50 years of experience in the business world (administrative and accounting).
Cathie's first stop on her new adventure was surely the Rainbow Bridge to reunite with her four-legged canine friends Gansett, Lucky, Pooh, Tori, Honey, Sailor, Holly, Ivy, and Maverick. She was also preceded in death by her husband Norman Philip Rossman, mother Elaine Barbara (Moran) Graf O'Brien, father Otto Walter Graf, Jr., beloved step-father Aloysius I. O'Brien, brothers David, John, and Robert Graf, aunt Donna V. (Moran) Lindeman Burdett, and uncle Frederick John Moran, Jr.
She is painfully missed by her dogs Shooter and Rocky; daughters Elisabeth Rossman of Nashville, TN, and Irene Rossman (Warren Gelula Sanders) of Benicia, CA; grandchildren David, Charlotte, and Catherine Gelula; beloved step-mother Anne M. Graf of Newark, CA; brothers Paul Graf of Sunnyvale, CA, Lloyd Graf of Newark, CA, Walter Graf of Lakewood, CO, and Matthew Graf of Newark, CA; uncles Leslie K. Moran of Grass Valley, CA and Victor D. Graf of Carmichael, CA, seven nieces, three nephews, eight great-nieces, three great-nephews, countless cousins, and many dear friends. Shooter and Rocky have moved in with Irene to get spoiled with love, walks, and treats.
"How lucky I am to have known somebody and something that saying goodbye to is so damned awful." -Dick Buek
Due to the ongoing pandemic, a memorial service will be tentatively planned for Fall 2021 in Benicia, CA. If Cathie could attend, she would probably be late.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations to be made in Cathie's honor to the Belgian Sheepdog Rescue Trust. Please reference "Cathie Rossman" in the memo section. More information about donating online or by mail can be found at

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Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 2020.
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November 21, 2020
My interactions with Catherine were brief, but when we did interact, I was met with kindness and support. A fond memory that I have of Catherine is whenever she visited the city, she would always come by my restaurant to purchase garlic bread. She will be greatly missed and my best wishes go out to her family, especially to her lovely daughters, Irene and Elizabeth.
Awadalla Awadalla
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