On September 28, 1936, Catarina was born at the Queen’s Hospital in New York City to parents George Vincent Grace (financier) and Merna Dorothy Welker (millinery) store owner, and christened, Merna Mercedes Grace.
Up until she was 17 years old, she lived on a 5 acre estate about a third of the way up Long Island on the North Shore near Oyster Bay with her parents and younger brother, Michael. She attended a catholic boarding school, an area public school and rode horses. At 15, she interviewed and got an afternoon gig as a disc jockey on a local radio station. Also at weekends and vacation breaks obtained a job at Lord and Taylor, a high end Department Store. She advanced rapidly within the company as she knew how to both model and sell clothes. At 17, she became a Buyer for the Store, although she was still a school girl.
Despite doing well in school, being popular and a hit with the boys, she had an unhappy home life and left to marry Bud Booth secretly when 18 and had a formal wedding at age 20. She completed Junior college in Boston. The family moved out to Southern California in 1964 with two children, Michelle and Todd. Gregg and Nicole came later completing the family. Catarina resumed her education and obtained a BA from Cal State at Northridge. She and Bud separated and then divorced. With 4 children to care for on her own while working part time, she managed to study and complete a PhD in Psychology at Pepperdine University.
After graduating, she started her own marriage, family, child counselling business in Sherman Oaks. Catarina married Marvin Eisenberg, a Psychiatrist, and they built a practice together working with underserved populations in downtown Los Angeles. She later worked in a Psychiatric Hospital Locked Unit, which she enjoyed. She then started up what became a very successful Board and Care medical business, bought her own house in Hollywood Hills directly above and looking into the Hollywood Bowl.
After being separated from Marvin for several years, they divorced. She renamed herself Catarina and reverted to her maiden name Grace. Around this time John Hardy entered the scene and after quite a long courtship, married John in July, 1994 in the Presbyterian Cathedral in Hollywood. Following the service they held a beautiful reception at her home with a magnificent Fireworks display, courtesy of a Summer Bowl Concert.
We moved to Coto de Caza in September,1996 and 3 houses later, she was extremely happy with her final choice. After a very short illness she passed away painlessly and peacefully in Saddleback Hospital, early morning of May 17, 2018, with some of her family by her side.
She is survived by her four children, Michelle, a long time practicing Primary Care physician, Todd, a university professor in Computer Sciences in Northern Sweden, Gregg, a Business Entrepreneur focused on the Medical field, and Nicole, a Certified Financial Analyst, also involved in the Medical Field.
She will be missed by all who have known her. She had a zest for life and bulldog determination. Her artistic vision enabled her to be a very successful real estate investor. Catarina achieved many great things, touched many lives, and her inspiring personality will be truly missed.