Catherine Lindsay Nuesser was more than just a Wonder Woman. Without Catherine there would be no Fight Chix. Catherine is the mother of Fight Chix co-creater and designer Jacob Nuesser (me).
My mom had been battling breast cancer for the last few years. She fought through surgery, chemo, radiation and the fight was finally over Sunday January 19th with her family by her side.
My Mom is as strong a woman as I have ever met. Through her I learned the value of hard work, discipline, compassion, dedication and how to be my best. Growing up, my Mom was always there to handle whatever me or my brother needed, and she also worked her ass off. I recall being young, and Mom would work nights and go to school full time…and raise me! My father worked long hours during the day, and they would see each other briefly at night. My mom was the one who started me in Hapkido when I was in kindergarten, this lead to my love affair with martial arts that lasted a lifetime. She started her own business doing something she loved, taking care of animals. Pampered Pet was a way to make some extra money and it grew into a fun and successful business. It was a great job for me to help out with too, because we always had at least 3 dogs growing up and through this business I helped take care of everything from a turtle to a horse. When my wife Elisabeth refers to me as “the dog whisperer” this is easily the reason why!
When I was in high school all my friends thought my Mom was the coolest. She has a sarcastic sense of humor that can just shut people down. This sense of humor was with her until the end too. In October she was forced to stay in bed. I was there with her sister, my Aunt Pat. My Aunt asked if there was anything we could do to make her more comfortable and without missing a beat my Mom replied “You can hand me a gun and leave the room”
All my friends saw how protective my Mom was of her family, and one even said “Man, I would NEVER want to have your Mom against me” She is an original Fight Chix. Luckily it never came to that. During those years you could come by the Nuesser house and typically there would be 4-5 teenagers hanging out. During summers my cousins would also visit and to this day they are all more like brothers and sisters.
I learned from her what a good marriage is from watching the example my parents set. Growing up I didn’t even know people got divorced. When I heard about people getting split up, I thought it was strange…not something over 50% of couples do. She was married to my father for over 20 happy years. They had that once in a lifetime love that other couples envy. They complimented each other perfectly. January 15, 1998 my father died of a brain aneurism, he was 51. He was taken way to soon and it was a life changing event for my Mom, brother and I. We had to sell our family home and move into something much smaller. My Mom went back to college, not to do what she loved, but to get a degree that she could complete in a year or less and get a job to support the family. A few years later, her father died unexpectedly. At the time my Grandfather was taking care of my Grandmother, who was suffering from Alzheimers. Following his death, my Grandmother eventually moved to Wheaton and lived with my Mom until her care requirements had to be taken over by professionals. My Mom’s life without my Father was difficult and more than most people could handle, but she always made sure the people she loved were taken care of through personal sacrifice and hard work.
Growing up around a woman who has overcome so much has taught me to always look on the bright side and to be thankful for what I have. She has also taught me to eliminate negative things in life and focus on what we can control. She has taught me to be selfless. Catherine is the type of person who will take in an abused dog because the rich former owners didn’t want to perform an expensive surgery for the dog…so my Mom sold her engagement ring to pay for the surgery. We would often joke that she treated her dogs better than her kids! haha! When I told my Mom that I was engaged to Beth, and that I was going to adopt Justyne she started to cry. I asked her why she was crying, and she said “I’m just so happy I raised you right” Catherine has survived the death of her husband, her father, abusive relationships, financial uncertainty and more.
It is with a heavy heart that in the spring of last year we discovered my Mom’s cancer would be terminal. She handled the news and the painful process with grace, dignity and control that can only be admired and respected. We all felt fortunate to have the time with her to strengthen the family bond and make sure she knew just how loved she was. I also am thankful that she is no longer in pain and with my father. The other night I was putting my son Jase to bed, he is 8. He said “Dad, did you know I have a new angel watching over me?” I replied, “no Jase I didn’t know that.” He then told me, “yes, its Grandma, she is watching over all of us now.”