Update: Friday service for Cate Fisher, 19, of Menlo Park

Gymnastics instructor shot while sitting in car in East Palo Alto

A memorial service will be held Friday, July 22, for Catherine (Cate) Fisher, 19, of Menlo Park, who died July 13 after she was shot while sitting in a car in East Palo Alto.

A gymnastics instructor in Menlo Park, she was a college student who intended to teach math to high school students.

The service starts at 11 a.m. at Temple Beth-El, 1700 Alameda de las Pulgas in San Mateo. A reception follows at 1 p.m. at the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center at 700 Alma St. in Menlo Park.

Cate's family asks those who attend the service or reception to wear bright colors, rather than the traditional black. Her favorite color was pink, the family said.

Cate graduated in 2009 from Menlo-Atherton High School and from the Canada College "middle college" program that allows students to earn college credits while getting a high school diploma, said her father, Jonathan Fisher of Belmont. She had just transferred to Cal State East Bay and needed another year and a half to graduate. "She was going to teach math to high school students," he said.

The young woman also loved teaching gymnastics for the city of Menlo Park, her father said.

"She was such an amazing person," he said. A memorial notice "doesn't really capture the great essence that was Cate. She was beautiful, vibrant, strong-willed, hard-headed."

Why was she there?

East Palo Alto police said Catherine Fisher was shot July 13 while sitting in a vehicle with a man and another woman at 2:12 a.m. in the 2500 block of Annapolis Street between Michigan and Notre Dame avenues east of Bay Road in East Palo Alto.

She was taken to Stanford Hospital where she died from her injuries. The vehicle's other occupants were unharmed, police said.

The father said he has been told by the girl who was driving the car, the best friend of Cate, that they were just dropping off a "third person, some guy" when the incident happened. "Cate was not into drugs at all," he said, to dispel rumors that this might have been the reason she was there.

Acting Captain Jeff Liu of the East Palo Alto Police Department said July 21 that there has been some progress in the case but nothing to report in terms of a suspect yet.

Gymnastics supervisor

Pearce Wagner, her supervisor at the gymnastics center, said she started working in the 2008-09 school year, while she was still in high school.

"She was a hard worker and a great employee," he said. "She worked well with the children, who all loved her. She was always willing to help; I could call her up and she'd always be there with a smile on her face."

Gymnastics program staff ask that people write memories or condolences in a book for Cate's family at the front desk of the gymnastics center. The center will be closed Friday, July 22, to allow staff to attend services.

Among her survivors is her mother, Michelle Sutton of Menlo Park.

The family prefers memorial contributions to Susan G. Komen for the Cure or in the form of becoming organ donors.

Related story: Menlo Park teen dies after shooting


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Jul 20, 2011 at 5:47 pm

My sincere to her family, friends and other loved ones. The memorial sounds like it will be vibrant and lovely. It sounds like she will be missed by many and that in her work, she made an impact with local youth. I am very sorry that she won't realize her dream to be a math teacher. We need good math teachers! I am very glad to learn that she had a chance to work with kids. Perhaps that shaped her ambition. I hope the kids she worked with will always remember her fondly.

Like this comment
Posted by Amy
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Jul 20, 2011 at 10:12 pm

When my 2-year-old son was in gymnastics, I would ask him what his favorite part of the day was. Every time, his answer was, "Teacher Cate!" She made him laugh and love going to class each week. Our family will remember her fondly!

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