John Catt, founder of Grand Co. Blues Society, dies from brain tumor
May 16, 2017
By SAWYER D’ARGONNE | firstname.lastname@example.org
John Catt, founder of the Grand County Blues Society, passed away Monday in his home in Homestead Hills, after 14 months battling an inoperable brain tumor.
In response to Catt's death, the Winter Park Mayor Jimmy Lahrman and the town's council issued an official proclamation recognizing Catt's many contributions to Grand County and declaring "John Catt Day" to be June 24.
"He was pretty tenacious," exclaimed Art Ferrari, treasurer for the Grand County Blues Society and long-time friend of Catt. "…He always started from a vision in his head of what could be, and basically dragged the rest of us along to help fulfill that vision.
"We've all been grateful to have helped him fulfill some pretty significant things."
Catt, 68, was a major figure in the Grand County community for years. In 2002 he created the Grand County Blues Society, a volunteer organization that produces and presents blues shows and festivals. Under Catt's leadership the society presented over 150 shows and produced 12 festivals in Grand County, including the annual Blues From The Top festival in Winter Park.
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Catt was also responsible for creating the Blue Star Connection in 2007, a nonprofit organization that provides access and ownership to musical instruments for children with life-threatening illnesses.
A decade later, Blue Star has donated hundreds of instruments to individuals, music therapy and hospital groups in over 20 states.
"Most of this happened because John went out there and made it happen," Ferrari said.
When he wasn't organizing a festival or leading nonprofits, Catt prided himself on being one of the best specialty dry-wallers in the county, according to Ferrari. In his spare time he enjoyed golf and playing his guitar, although rarely in public.
His legacy will live on in his four children: Eli, Halley, Ryan and China.
"I think John was a treasure for our community," Ferrari explained. "He was able to bring folks, resources together in our small community and serve it back in a way that people could be proud of and enjoy.
"His attitude was always about creating the best with whatever we were doing."