Christopher Catlett in 1992. Courtesy: the Catlett family

Christopher Mallory Catlett, commonly known as Chris, passed away on Jan. 12, 2023, at age 76.

He was born Nov. 21, 1946, in Rhode Island to William Jackson Catlett and Helen Antonia Vann. Chris attended high school in Virginia and hitchhiked to California in the 1960s to the Haight Ashbury in San Francisco. He met his wife there, Lynda Gail Picow-Catlett. They fell deeply in love, a love that bound their hearts together for many years. Chris and Lynda were married in 1971, at their home in Berkeley on Halloween and had a costume party wedding. Lynda became a math teacher for the Oakland Unified School District and was loved by her students. Chris and Lynda lived and loved together for 20 years in their home, until Lynda passed away in 1991. Chris loved Lynda deeply and was devastated by her death.

Catlett and his wife Lynda Gail Picow-Catlett. Courtesy: the Catlett family

In the early 1990s, Chris met Anida Weyl, a real estate agent in the Bay Area through the Splinter Group, a coalition of building tradespeople where Chris was a founding member. Anida and Chris had a daughter together in 1994, Rebecca Lynn Catlett. Chris and Anida separated in 1997 and Chris remained in his Berkeley home. Chris adored his daughter, Rebecca. She became the light of his life and he shared all of his favorite things with her which included dancing, camping, riding motorcycles, going to the beach, kayaking, gardening and carpentry, to name a few.

Catlett and his daughter Rebecca in 1994. Courtesy: the Catlett family

A contractor by trade for over 40 years, Chris had his own company, Catco, with his friend Kenny Thacker. He was well respected in his trade, beginning his career as an apprentice in the late ’60s. Chris began working on foundations and complete house builds, and he ended his career building decks, arbors and trellises. He was an incredible teacher of his trade and loved to share his craft with others.

Catlett in 1970. Courtesy: the Catlett family

Chris was an active member of the Cajun and Zydeco community, frequenting the Ashkanaz in Berkeley. He attended shows all over Northern California until a few months before his passing. Later in his life, he met his partner Sian Palmer of Novato, California. They were together for over 15 years. Chris loved Marin County, particularly the Pt. Reyes National Seashore. Sian and Chris spent many years hiking, camping and adventuring up and down the Pacific Northwest Coast together.

Catlett and his partner Sian Palmer. Courtesy: Sian Palmer

A notorious character, Chris lived life to the fullest. He loved his friends deeply, he always found a reason to smile, and remained a renegade until his death. He will be sorely missed. He is survived by his partner, Sian Palmer; his daughter, Rebecca Lynn Catlett; and his brother, Bill Catlett. 

Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 24, 2023, at Mountain View Cemetery, 5000 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, California.

A celebration of Chris’s life will be held on Feb. 18, 2023, in his home in Berkeley, details to follow. For more information please email Rebecca Catlett.