Catherine Roseann Otten (Ryder), 35, of Seattle, passed away peacefully and surrounded by loved ones on December 14, 2016, after a long battle with cancer. Catherine lived life to the fullest, and shared her grace, compassion, courage, confidence and eternal optimism with everyone she encountered.
Catherine was born on August 21, 1981, in Redmond, WA to Gail Ryder and Tracie Hiemstra. She made lifelong friends wherever she went, including Lakeside Middle School in Seattle, and Lake Washington H.S. in Kirkland. She went on to Boston University, majoring in International Relations, and tried not to get into too much trouble with her Sigma Kappa sorority sisters. Nourishing her love to travel, she studied abroad in London, England and, Sydney, Australia. She went on to work at Starbucks for several years, brightening others with her smile, and as a rock climbing belayer at the REI climbing pinnacle at the Seattle flagship store. She obtained her MBA at Seattle University, including completing coursework in the Italian Alps. Finding a career, she put her love of numbers and puzzles to work as a financial analyst for FCS Group in Redmond. In August 2009, Catherine married the love of her life, Matt, in a beautiful ceremony among the trees, cliffs, and wildflowers of Leavenworth, WA. At their home in Maple Leaf, she enjoyed gardening, working on remodeling projects, and cuddling with her affectionate rescue dog, Manny.
Catherine shared her love of nature and adventure with others, and could be found climbing, camping, snowboarding, hiking and floating through wild and scenic landscapes of the Northwest with close friends and family. She was an accomplished rock and mountain climber, having climbed Mt. Rainier along with many other glaciated Cascade peaks. Her extraordinary adventures included a 20-day white water rafting trip through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River with friends, and rock climbing up the Exum Direct Route on the Grand Teton in Wyoming to celebrate her wedding anniversary. While indoors, she enjoyed reading, scrabble, word puzzles and knitting items to give to loved ones. She loved to travel, motoring around the Western U.S. and Canada with Matt and dog Manny in their camping trailer, and other adventurous trips to Europe, Brazil, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Thailand. She was a huge Sounders fan, knew all the chants by heart, and was super excited to attend a recent Sounders practice where she met all the players, and was invited down on the field during a game to celebrate her birthday by her favorite player, Brad Evans. She was immensely proud of her brother David's success as a professional news photographer and deeply admired her step-sister Erin's love and bond with Catherine's new nephew, Carter. She enjoyed helping others through volunteering with the University Foodbank, Hopelink, Camp Goodtimes, Special Olympics, and various other organizations.
Catherine was a devoted spouse, daughter, sister, niece, cousin, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, and friend. Throughout every struggle, she maintained a fiercely positive spirit and a quiet courage that inspired others. Catherine will be missed tremendously by her family and friends, but her spirit, courage, and compassion for life and others will be with us always and forever.
Catherine is survived by her husband, Matt and their dog, Manny; her mother and step-father, Tracie and Glen Hiemstra; her father and his partner, Gail Ryder and Cheryl Woodring; her brother, David Ryder; and her step-sister and husband, Erin Hiemstra and Chris Wick, and nephew, Carter; as well as numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Catherine Roseann Otten (Ryder) Permanent Endowment Account at the Bellevue Rotary Foundation, Hopelink or The Nature Conservancy.
Published in The Seattle Times on Dec. 25, 2016.