On March 12, 2023, we lost our beloved Laina to a long and courageous battle with Multiple Myeloma Cancer and all the anti-cancer drugs that go with this barbaric disease. Her passing leaves an emptiness in our hearts, but she left us with a trove of wonderful loving memories we will always cherish.
Laina was born on February 12, 1956, in Los Alamos, NM, to Rhea and Clarence “Mack” McFatridge. She was a true Los Alamos native who attended Kindergarten through 12th grade in Los Alamos making many lifelong friendships along the way.
Laina could turn a person’s frown into a smile and possibly a friend for life, she was truly one in a million. She stayed in touch with a special group of friends that she graduated with in 1974 that she loving referred to as “The Girls”. During COVID she would join their weekly zoom calls. These zooms were a shot of goodness and lifted her sole. Laina never wanted to miss her class of “74” zoom, even if she had to get up hours earlier in order to make it back from Albuquerque from her appointments and infusions. She would say that the zooms were better medicine than her infusions.
Laina was employed at Los Alamos Medical Center in the X-ray department for many years, where she made many more lifelong friendships. She later went to work for Los Alamos County and retired early from the Los Alamos Fire Department in 2004.
Laina married Gary Katcher on July 25, 1981 and they made a formidable team ever since. They loved all aspects of the great outdoors from skiing, hiking, camping, boating, fishing, gardening and traveling. They also had a passion for hunting for sea shells, rocks, meteorites, fossils, interesting pieces of wood and anything of creative appeal. They had a love of creating things and loved including their grandkids in the process. Laina had a special gift of seeing something and bringing it out in an artistic expression.
Laina adored all wildlife especially hummingbirds and wild birds that stopped over for a while and enjoyed a drink, bird bath and food from the bird sanctuary that she had created for them in the backyard. Laina was also a very doting dog mom. Over the years each one of the 4-legged family members held a special place in her heart and they were all outrageously spoiled by her, including several granddogs as well.
Laina is survived by her loving husband of 42 years Gary Katcher and her 2 children, daughter Danielle (Angelo) Echave, son Garrett Katcher, 2 brothers Gayland Bryant and Terry McFatridge, 3 granddaughters Kasey Katcher, Mackenzie Echave and Angelie Echave who were the love of her life. Anytime she was needed she would be there in a heartbeat to help. Laina would often tell them how much she loved them by referring to the phase, “I love you to the moon and back”.
A Celebration of Laina’s life will be held at Camp May Pavilion on August 4th at 11:00am (Camp May is located at Camp May Road near the base of Pajarito Ski Hill). Please come share a story or just visit with her family and friends. The family would love for any and all who knew her to join them in celebration of her life.
In memory of Laina, donations can be made to the IMF (International Myeloma Foundation) myeloma.org or 800.452.CURE (2873).