Cathy Fuss

Cricket Cottage she called it, and the home of Cathy Fuss is indeed reminiscent of a fairy-tale woodland bungalow. Picturesque, cedar-shingled and the happy home of wisteria and hydrangea vines, which repay their care with a shady bower for Cathy’s morning chicory coffee and lively conversations with her friends. The interior of the dwelling is no less whimsical, reflecting the personality of the owner. A room wallpapered entirely in birch bark, a carved wooden mouse on a banister, a lavish bathtub for a woman who visited every hot spring in America in her extensive travels and who could never resist a long soak. Evidence of this wanderlust and her fierce and varied intelligence is everywhere within. A tome outlining the technique of reiki lies atop a novel by Henry James, a well-thumbed volume of U.S. Tax Code lies wedged between the works of Wilhelm Reich and a guide to Glacier National Park, appropriate to one who had both driven the Going-To-The-Sun Road and sat in the Orgone box. For Cathy was a rare individual, possessing the talents of the practical and the spiritual, a person who would always arrive perfectly on time to chat with you about corporate deductions or metaphysics. Cathy’s bookshelves were filled with her own writing too. At the time of her death she was working on a series of historical stories set in America’s grand hotels and expanding her knowledge of her family genealogy (she descends from early Dutch and German settlers of the Hudson Valley). Cathy also has three books and two screenplays to her credit as well as poetry, patent abstracts and editing. Images of Cathy’s heroes and many friends take center stage on her walls and shelves. Photographs of her favorite swimming spots and swimming partner, Gus the bulldog, and travel adventures dominate, but figures from history also inspired her. Suffragist Victoria Woodhull peers from above Cathy’s desk, the Fox sisters from her refrigerator door and perhaps most important of all is the portrait of Henry David Thoreau, a man on whom Cathy nurtured an unashamed and lifelong crush. Cathy Fuss was born July 20, 1960, in Hudson, N.Y. The recipient of a Regents scholarship, she earned her bachelor’s degree and embarked on a career in the New York State Tax Department. After long years at a government desk, her spiritual side began reasserting itself and Cathy left her known world for training as a massage therapist, bravely stepping from a settled career to an unknown journey on an unfamiliar road. She had sure and skillful hands and paired her new training with her old, working in the winter in her Florida home with taxes and in the summer in her Maine home with massage, her dual skills finally satisfied. A perfectionist in all her efforts, Cathy’s desk today is filled with neatly collected business documents and notes on music, lotions and techniques her massage clients might enjoy. Persistence and a willingness to undertake hard work as well as a spontaneous generosity, unconventional wit and ability to converse on any subject were the traits her friends and family loved, and for which she will be cherished and remembered. On Aug. 6, Cathy died unexpectedly at her beloved Cricket Cottage. She is survived by her parents, Richard and Barbara (Albertson) Fuss; her sister, Marie Baeckmann (Peter); her brother, Richard Fuss Jr. (Barbie); and several nieces and nephews. She is also survived by special friend, James Beyor, and Amos the English bulldog. On Aug. 6, 1852, Cathy’s hero, Henry David Thoreau, noted the events of his morning walk in his journal. “I love to follow the course of the brook in the shady woods,” he wrote. “I see the brilliant cardinal flower and the purple-fringed orchises with their long dense spikes. Such handsome flowers are abundant if you visit such places as this — though one who confines himself to the road may never see them.” Cathy Fuss was one who did not confine herself merely to the road, and thus saw flowers most of us miss.

Know when to pay your respects.