Remembering our Friend

Our dear friend and colleague, Catherine Saltwick, passed away on 30 May 2008 in Botswana, Africa where she was posted as a Peace Corps Volunteer. We, her fellow Peace Corps Volunteers, have created this blog to honor her and to allow all of her many friends, PCVs and her family to share their stories and their grief. To say we are shocked and saddened by the accident that took her from us is an understatement. To say she is missed and will never be forgotten is a truth.

Cathy was a seeker of truth, a seeker of adventure and a seeker of love and she found it all in Botswana. She served in the small village of Mookane and enjoyed her Peace Corps experience so much, she had just signed up for an extended third year of service, where she was to be posted at PSI in Gaborone. She spoke fluent Setswana, a feat few of her fellow PCVs accomplished. She said that the Peace Corps changed her for the better, but we all thought she was wonderful the first day we met her. Her motto was: “It’s all good,” and she said it often.

Cathy is respected by so many and we will miss her terribly. Her spirit lives on in each of us because she touched our lives with her inner and outer beauty, with her love of life, with her calm assurance of confidence and contentment and with her life of service and caring about others.

We are proud to call her a friend and we love her.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cathy's burial

For those wishing to visit Cathy, we chose a grave in Crown Hill Cemetary in Seattle (where her grandfather is also buried). It's a nice sunny spot, which she would have liked. 

The i'm Talkathon starts 6/24/08.  For now, give amongst yourselves. Learn More

Monday, June 16, 2008

Saltwick/Uyyek family web page

Hello, everyone, this is Mike Uyyek, Cathy’s brother-in-law.  On behalf of the Saltwick family, I’d like to thank you for your kind words and warm thoughts. The link below takes you to the memorial web page I created for Cathy, and in a week (if my poor, antiquated computer doesn’t spontaneously combust from the sheer effort), I will have video of the memorial service on Saturday, June 14th available for you to view, if you were unable to attend. If you have really low bandwidth and can’t view the video, I may be able to make a VCD/DVD available to you. If you are a current or former PCV and not in the US, I would suggest contacting you local Peace Corps representative, because I will also be making a disc available to Peggy McClure in Botswana for copying and distribution as she sees appropriate. Thanks again.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Our Friend Cathy

Cathy and I have remained in constant communication since
introduced. It was apparent early on she was more than just another
pretty face. Cathy had a substantial intelligence behind her smile.
What solidified our relationship was the active engagement of that
intelligence. Over the years we have leaned on each other through
difficult times and shared our collective knowledge and life

This pseudo sibling relationship fostered into many positive
attributes. I encouraged her to write her memoirs while in Africa for
eventual publication. When bored to tears, she depended on a quick
pick-me-up, which often degraded to dumb blonde jokes. Never taking
offense, she countered with a barrage of bald old man jokes. We
laughed until we cried. During a get together last year, our group
sat for seven consecutive hours, without a break, just to play catch
up. A memorial evening indeed.

In one of her last emails, she detailed a plan to extend for another
year in Africa. She acknowledged meeting someone she was interested
in, and was very happy with the work she had accomplished. Wonderful
news indeed. Something to do, Someone to love, and something to look
forward to; the recipe for a prosperous life was finally hers.

I do take some comfort in knowing she was truly happy during this
untimely passing. Cathy above all was a genuine, brutally honest, and
fiercely independent young lady. She will be dearly missed. Our
deepest condolences are offered to the Saltwick family.


Rick McDonald


I knew Cathy in high school. I haven’t seen her in 20 years but am not surprised to hear that she spent her life finding ways to help others. She was compassionate and caring and I was lucky to have been able to call her my friend.    

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Remembering Cathy: a great friend and a great teacher

I met Cathy in the Peace Corps. We were in the same volunteer group, Bots-5. At first, Cathy was quite and reserved like me. We bonded a bit during our training, because we were both from Seattle. During the two years in Botswana I got to know Cathy well. We had many lengthy discussions about life, dreams, religion, faith and love. We were both at a cross road in our lives trying to figure out paths that we shall choose to realize our lives' dreams. Cathy had many dreams. She wanted to travel and see the world, she wanted to learn other languages, she wanted to help people in need and she wanted to fall in love.
Cathy was a good listener and she was very understanding. She knew how to lift my spirits and she was very generous. We went to Mozambique together during our holiday. I always wanted to swim in the ocean, but was very scared to do so. Cathy took me by my hand into the beautiful Indian Ocean and held my hand until I was no longer afraid to be in the ocean on my own. I had my first sun burn during the same holiday and didn't know what to do. Cathy gave me tips what to do take care of my sun burns. She used to sneak behind me and give me very warm hugs. I always loved her spontaneity and loving friendship. Cathy always tried to see the best in people. She was so polite and showed people that she cared.
I remember her being blissfully happy during our final good bye in Botswana. She found the love of her life and a great position with an International NGO. Her future looked so bright and her heart was filled with joy. I will never forget Cathy and all her love, friendship and teachings will be part of me forever.
Chami Arachchi
Peace Corps Volunteer-Botswana

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gratitude for the life of a fellow PCV and Washingtonian

I never met Cathy, but her life resonated with me in so many ways. As a fellow PCV (Malawi), Lion and Washingtonian (Bellevue), I am so sorry for your loss, and so grateful for the outstanding and purposeful life Cathy lived while on this earth.

As a member of the loose fraternity of thousands of Returned PCVs throughout the world, I know Cathy has touched the lives of many from Seattle to Botswana. May you find comfort in the coming days, knowing the gratitude we all feel for her kindness and service to humankind.

Thank you, Cathy, for your life of caring.

Shannon Brown, RPCV, Malawi

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Dear Friend Cathy

4 June 2008

My Dear Friend Cathy


My dear friend Cathy was a seeker.  A seeker of truth, a seeker of adventure, a seeker of love and she found it all in Botswana.  She would stay at my flat in Gaborone and we'd talk for hours and hours about the meaning of life, our service in Botswana and what the future would hold.  She said Botswana and her Peace Corp service changed her for the better and I could see that, as I watched her evolve into a more self-confident woman who loved her life.  Her favorite phrase became, "It's all good."


At our Swearing In Ceremony, on June 20, 2006, Cathy was standing in front of me and after the ceremony she turned around, flashed that big smile of hers, and exclaimed, "Sonya, we made it!"  I hugged her and thought, "Oh Cathy, there is so much more to come before we've "made it."  Little did I know.


In her second year Cathy became involved in the Lions Club as her Peace Corps side-project. This required more frequent trips from her village to Gaborone for their meetings.  "Sonya's B & B" became her second home and I looked forward to her visits.  We'd cook, drink wine and talk about what her future would hold.  She'd ask:  Should I travel to a Spanish speaking country for a year, where I can live and perfect my Spanish? Should I go to medical school and become an ophthalmologist?  Am I too old?  (I think she forgot who she was asking.) Should I do a third year in the Peace Corps? And then one night she shyly admitted, "Sonya, what I really want in this life is to find a man who loves me completely for myself and I'm afraid that will never happen. And I don't want birth children but I'd like to help raise step-children." 


Well dear friend, you practiced The Secret better than any of us.  You found that man who loves you completely for yourself, along with his beautiful children.  Your dreams came true and after you fell in love you glowed.  But more importantly, you exuded a calm contentment I had never seen in you before then.  The kind of inner ease that only comes when you are absolutely sure your decisions are grounded in your truth.  At our little dinner party on my last night in Botswana, your happiness was palpable and your deep connection to Hendrik and his children undeniable. And I left Botswana happy. 


My dear friend Cathy, now "you made it" and you left earth happy!  You are in that place where Elizabeth Kubler Ross says we graduate to after we have passed the tests we were sent to earth to learn. That place where our souls are free and we return to God.  That place where you are never alone and where you are free to grow and sing and dance, especially dance!  That place where you are surrounded by more love then we on earth can eve imagine.                       

My dear friend Cathy, you are so loved by so many and we will miss you terribly.   Your spirit lives on in all who love you and I look forward to when our souls will meet again. Save a dance for me.



Sonya Wedin

Fellow Peace Corps Volunteer

Botswana '06 – '08

Gratitude for Having Met Cathy

Cathy modeled persistence, compassion, optimism, ambition, and courage. I turned to her for advice because she was empathetic, trustworthy, yet dedicated to truth. I will continue to learn from how she lived and will always be grateful for having met her. She is a role model for me.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

From Jim Ruttler

While in a local Bainbridge Island movie store yesterday, I was handed a pen to sign my receipt. That pen was a Lions Eye Bank pen and one that I hadn't seen since my days working as an Eye Bank Technician back in 2000. Anyone who worked at or was somehow associated with the Eye Bank knows which pen I'm referring to and probably has one lying around somewhere now. As I signed my receipt, I smiled to myself as I thought about my experiences at the Eye Bank and wondered how that pen found its way to such an obscure place. Working at the Eye Bank and around tissue donation, you learn to live life to the fullest and not take anything or any day for granted.

As I drove home, I reflected upon this further and it helped me put the standard life worries and stresses back in perspective and reminded me what was truly important. Then, this morning, while reading the newspaper I came across notice of Cathy's untimely passing and wondered if the pen was more than a coincidence. You see, Cathy was my boss and mentor at the Eye Bank and the person who embodied the lessons that I mentioned. Her warm spirit and thirst for life was undeniable. So despite not having seen her for many years, I was not surprised to learn of her accomplishments, humanitarian service, and unique international travels. She continued to live a rich, meaningful, and remarkable life and one that exemplified the ideals for which I and others should strive.

Jim Ruttler, Attorney

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Cathy and Compassion

Cathy and Compassion are interchangeable.  I am remembering the joy Cathy displayed whenever she met with me, with other family, with friends, whether she just was introduced or knew them from years back.  I knew I would love any time spent with her - she was interested and interesting - she never felt she had to be first in sharing her thoughts - it seemed as if Cathy encouraged me and those around her to tell their stories, to express their feelings, to laugh with her.  And, I remember her willingness to express affection with hugs and "smooches."  Cathy did not stand back and observe.  Cathy joined in life and by that joining in, showed her unique and special ability to love others.  I did not hear Cathy judge others.  I did not hear Cathy criticize others.  I did hear Cathy's love and compassion for others and for me.  Cathy has a piece of my heart, always.
Aunt Donna

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Photos from Friends Slideshow

Remembering Cathy

From Monty Montoya

I had the honor of working with Cathy at SightLife (formerly Northwest Lions Eye Bank). Cathy was one of the first eye bank technicians to catch the vision of quality and excellence that helped us build a world class organization serving those with corneal blindness. As a technician and eventually manager at the eye bank Cathy touched thousands of lives working countless hours. Cathy had wonderful grace working with grieving family members of eye donors and at the same time demanding the best of herself and her co-workers. It was a great privilege to work with Cathy and see her leadership skills develop as she transitioned from being a part-time recovery technician and student to becoming a manager and leader of people.

Cathy had stayed connected with many of her eye bank colleagues, many of whom were moved to read her detailed blogs from Botswana. We will miss her.

My condolences and best regards to John Saltwick, Jeanette Saltwick, and Cathy’s sister Christine.

Best regards,

Monty Montoya
President & CEO


I was saddened to hear the news about our friend, and your sister Cathy. I worked with Cathy at the Eye Bank and then went on to recommend her for the Tissue Center position. I was happy to hear that she was pursuing her dreams and helping out those who were less fortunate in this life. First through donation, then through the peace corps.

I have a few funny stories about Cathy and great memories. She always was a good sounding board, always made time to sit and listen and liked to laugh with me. She liked to dance and I thought it was cool that she took lessons. My favorite story is when I first started at the eye bank and it was my birthday month. Cathy looked at me, put her hands on her hips and in a most complimentary way said “if you are a day, you’re 30!”. She was so happy with herself… until I told her that I was actually only turning 28 and she just aged me 2 years. J I lost touch with Cathy after she left the Tissue Center. I wish you and your family much peace and comfort during this trying time. May she go with God and be at rest.

Tamila Timm Realtor, CRS

John L. Scott Bellevue Main

P: 206.372.7722

F: 206.219.6694

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dear Cathy

I may not have known Cathy, what she was doing or where she comes from, but it is sad to lose a life that surely made an impact in the lives of my fellow Batswana and her friends. She obviously came here with a mission and a purpose to serve other human beings, that will be missed. I hope her family, her friends and her fellow Peace Corp mates find the strength to move on, let her memories live in your hearts forever. R.I.P Cathy

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

From Anne Fitzgerald

Sometimes, during the Peace Corps, volunteers will come together solely in need of familiarity and a sympathetic ear. But I became friends with Cathy because I really liked her; she was kind, funny, and such a sweet person. And beneath her gentle and calm nature was a strength and steadfastness that I and others recognized and were drawn to. At a time when other volunteers are overwhelmed and stressed by setbacks and the foreignness of Africa, she was fearless and sure of herself. Cathy sought to embrace the difficulties and hardships of her work and she continuously struggled to learn from them and improve herself. I admired her greatly for that.

Cathy did not often come into Mahalapye, the nearest town and to where I was posted. Despite Mahalapye's lure of luxury in the form of other Americans, warm baths, grocery stores, and sufficient water, she was so happy and involved in her community that she hardly ever left. She worked hard to learn the language well and immersed herself into her village and her work. Through detailed emails about her clinic, her coworkers and the library that was being built, it was obvious that she loved Mookane and that Mookane loved her back.

Cathy embodied the most desired traits in a Peace Corps volunteer and in any person. She was empathetic and kind to all, secure in the face of adversity, selfless in her service to others and, most importantly, she was able to find the humor in life and was able to laugh at herself. I am so lucky to have known her and even luckier that she was my friend. I will miss you, my dear Cathy.