Catherine Potter had a talent for furnishing aromatically comforting memories that lasted a lifetime.

"You'd walk into the kitchen and it would smell like cookies," said her daughter, Loretta Waltz of Sebastopol.

Potter, a Petaluma native, had lived with Loretta and Jack Waltz for 11 years when she died at their home on Sunday. She was 91.

Potter, the youngest of two children, was born Catherine Ottillie Faraone on Aug. 9, 1921 at the Cherry Street home where her mother, Ottillie, also was born. Her father, Frank, an Italian immigrant, worked at Petaluma Poultry Producers.

The family spent time in both Petaluma and San Francisco as she grew up, and she finished her schooling in San Francisco, Waltz said.

She was married to Waltz's father, Melvin Moellinger, from 1938 to 1941. In 1943, she married Charles Potter, whom she met at Playland, the popular San Francisco entertainment park that was a favored destinated for servicemen during World War II.

There was a twist of fate to the couple's meeting. As Waltz recalled her mother telling the story, a circus passed through Petaluma when she was young. In it worked a young man who caught her eye.

"She thought, &‘Ah, I really like him,'" Waltz said.

They only met years later, at the Playland booth where Waltz's mother was operating an automated horse racing game.

The couple, who lived at various times in San Francisco and Placerville as well as Petaluma, remained together until 1990, when Charles Potter died.

Catherine Potter was a dedicated baker and cook. She regularly produced wedding cakes for the nuptials of friends and family members — square with thee tiers. She also was known for her favorite spaghetti dish, which she often produced at the Sunday family dinners she hosted for several decades.

A fan of scary movies —"Frankenstein" was high on the list — she also loved her garden and bowling, which she did once a week with a team of friends who took their game to the Kentucky Street bowling lanes.

"She was always happy and she loved everybody," Waltz said.

Potter's brother, Frank Faraone, died in 2001.

Private services are planned.

— Jeremy Hay, The Press Democrat