Catherine Bertelson: Forever in our Hearts

Tragedy struck on Wednesday morning, March 7, 2017, when one of our beloved professors was killed in a car crash.  Dr. Catherine Bertelson was driving with her son, and his girlfriend, when she lost control of a Dodge Ram pickup on I-90 near Elk Heights heading westbound. Both her son and his girlfriend were injured in the accident and taken to KVH. Our thoughts and prayers are with Catherine's family and friends.

Although we grieve the loss of Catherine, whom will forever be missed in our hearts, we are left with the memory of the great person she was, and all the lives she has touched. Catherine Bertelson, 63, was a professor in the Alternative Pathways Program at Central Washington University’s College of Education and Professional Studies. She was a member of the faculty for over 30 years. During her time here, Catherine touched the lives of many. Eleven years ago, she moved into the College of Education and Professional Studies program. Originally, she started out teaching in the classroom, but switched to online courses. She decided to teach online so she could care for her husband who had cancer, as well as take care of their children. This is just one of the many examples that shows her character. She was dedicated so much to her job and family, she found a way to juggle both.

All the students who have had a pleasure of having Professor Bertelson loved her. One of her current online students, Liza VanCamp, said how Professor Bertelson would always put fun quotes, pictures, and life lessons on the instructions. I think it is really admirable she made those connections and developed those relationships through an online course. She even held office hours incase any students wanted to meet with her. That is rare for an online teacher to dedicate so much of their time. Dr. Bertelson was one of those people who always went the extra mile. She thrived on helping students succeed and was always there with a welcoming hand.  

A few of Dr. Bertelson's colleagues said they will remember Catherine by her dedication to come in every morning at 5 o’clock and swim in the pool, her key chain that was so big she couldn’t fit it in her pocket, how she hated to get her picture taken, and her caring, passionate self.

As I sit here pondering the recent turn of events, it really has me thinking about life and how short it is. You never know when something tragic can happen, and when you will have your last interaction with someone. Seize the day; make the most out of each and every moment. Always let those in your life know how much they matter to you, and live with no regrets.