Christmas letter from Catherine & Mark, December 2020

People, Come Live Over Here, News, Parenting, Wellness


Wishing you happy, safe holidays in 2020

In a historically challenging year, our family has been fortunate. We are very grateful. 

Erik successfully launched his new company, July.  (See Grant graduated from college and successfully completed his first semester in medical school at Tulane University. Catherine continued her work at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC and was able to collaborate on innovative ways to provide virtual education and patient care. Mark led a compelling, online, swim-camp-experience for city students and he took over the duties as webmaster with the International Swim Coaches Association ( 

In October, we were all bracing for Mark needing a stem cell transplant related to his diagnosis of CML from last year. In the 11th hour, the 5th medicine targeted at this disease started to work. All disease markers continue to improve as we head into 2021.

In November, we lost Pop-Pop, Mark’s dad, a wonderful family man. Like so many other families, we figured out how not to come together for a large funeral, yet we found ways to celebrate this special life. Although most families think about all the things someone has taught them over the years, we realized that the most important lessons were the ones Pop-Pop didn’t teach his kids or grandkids. 

There are the obvious things he didn’t teach his family about:

  • Fashion,
  • Gourmet dining or cooking,
  • Selecting fine wines,
  • Luxury car buying,
  • Yachting, and
  • Social media.

And then there are the important lessons he never taught:

  • Envy,
  • Holding a grudge,
  • How to chug beer,
  • How to be fashionably late,
  • Disloyalty, and
  • How to pass judgment.

Sometimes it is what people don’t do that tells us the most about them. The way Pop-Pop (Leo Rauterkus) lived his life was a model and he will be missed.

Mark, Catherine, Erik, Eirca, Grant, Isabella

Photos in the Christmas letter, 2020

Hoping for a brighter 2021, Mark, Catherine, Erik, and Grant - palmercv -at- upmc dot edu; 412-298-3432

About the author 

Mark Rauterkus

Swim, SKWIM and water polo coach in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Also the webmaster for the International Swim Coaches Association and a publisher at,, and a former small-press, Sports Support Syndicate. Former free-market candidate for public office on various occasions, generally as a Libertarian.

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