Catalina Caldera

November 25, 1940November 26, 2018
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Catalina Caldera, 78 years old, passed away peacefully on Monday, November 26th, 2018, at Legacy Emanuel Hospital, in Portland Oregon, the morning after her final birthday. Catalina was the beloved matriarch of her family and was surrounded by all of her children and grandchildren, final visits from good friends, prayers and bible scriptures.

Catalina was born on November 25th, 1940 in Calera de Víctor Rosales, Zacatecas, Mexico. She had 14 brothers and sisters. They were all raised in a rural area of Zacatecas where her father Jesus Caldera and her mother Consuelo Montoya had abundant livestock that Catalina loved tending to. She was the 7th of 15 children: Enrique, Guadalupe, Hilario y Jose, Amparo, Emilia, Raquel, Catalina, Carmen, Rosendo, Reynaldo, Jesus, Alfredo, Isabelle y Consuelo. Catalina was first married to Fortunato Peñalver in Zacatecas and from her first marriage, she gave birth to Eduardo, Fortunato Jr., Jaime, Joel, and Esmeralda. After having difficulties providing for her children as a single mother in Mexico she immigrated to Los Angeles, California where she met her second husband Salvador Meza. In Los Angeles, Catalina gave birth to her sixth and final child Jorge.

Raising six children in Los Angeles during the 70’s was difficult. After a traumatic event in which her teenage son Fortunato was shot one night and almost lost his life, Catalina decided to move her family up north to escape the gangs of East Los Angeles. Catalina moved with her children to Oregon, to live in North East Portland in May of 1980, just days before Mt. St. Helens erupted. While in Portland she worked at the Jantzen Clothing company as a seamstress. Afterward, she worked as a cook at the Bull Ring Restaurant for many years before opening up her own restaurant Catalina’s at 517 N.E. Killingsworth with her two beloved sons Fortunato and Joel. In her later years, she ran the restaurant with her oldest son Eduardo while her younger son Joel ran the second Catalina’s on Sandy Blvd.

Catalina’s story is one of a strong, independent, hard-working Mother who devoted her life to always putting her children first. Her work ethic and commitment to family is something that every member of her family has known to be a top priority for Catalina. While most people may have seen Catalina as a hard working business owner who rarely took a day off, she also had a very dear, sweet, charming, funny, and witty personality. Catalina collected antique dolls and miniature shoes. She loved bringing struggling plants back to life and making culinary miracles in the kitchen. Catalina prided herself in keeping authentic Mexican recipes alive and cooking from scratch to the delight of the many. She demonstrated her love through the artfully crafted dishes she created, including the handmade flour tortillas she used to make every day. You were lucky if you stopped by to visit when she was in the back making up a batch of her fresh hot tortillas right off the comal. Catalina believed in showing her love more than saying it. She loved being at her restaurant meeting new people and employing anyone who needed a job. Catalina was known and loved by generations of customers in the community, and many lovingly called her “momma”. She often gave food to those who didn’t have money and got to know and watch countless numbers of children in the community grow up into adults. During her final moments, Catalina made it clear that she wanted her family to be happy. Her exact words were to go to the Happy House and have a drink.

Catalina is survived by her four children Eduardo, Jaime, Esmeralda, and Jorge, and her grandchildren Alejandra, Yesenia, Emiliano, Andres, Lorenzo, Sophia, Eduardo, Jorge, Benecio, Kyavet, Amelia, and Joel, her daughters’ in-law Linda, Mónica, Geraldina, and her son-in-law Andrei Haynes. She is preceded in death by her beloved sons Joel and Fortunato.


  • Eduardo Penalver
  • Jaime Caldera
  • Jorge Meza
  • Andrei Haynes
  • Emiliano Caldera-Haynes
  • Lorenzo Caldera
  • Andres Caldera-Haynes
  • Eduardo Penalver Jr.
  • Jorge Meza Jr.


  • Visitation Monday, December 10, 2018
  • Visitation Tuesday, December 11, 2018
  • Funeral Mass Tuesday, December 11, 2018
  • Graveside Service Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Catalina Caldera

have a memory or condolence to add?

Debbie Van

December 12, 2018

Oh, my, so here goes our story. We had recently moved to NE Portland (1990), and, were looking to find a good AUTHENTIC M exican restaurant. (I was born and raised in Southern California, and LOVED Mexican food!!) It was MY assignment while my spouse, Deb, was showering for the day. Of course, to have a cerveza HAD to be a requirement! When I looked through the yellow pages (this was before “google”), I found the phone # for Catalina’a. I called the number, and, the person who answered did not speak English. However, when I asked “Cerveza”? she said, “si”. I ran up to the bathroom where Deb was in the shower saying “I think I found a place,” We went, and have been going ever since. We LOVE the food, we LOVED Catalina, and, have befriended ALL of the rest of the family!? We have introduced MANY friends and family to Catalina’s, including my brother and nephew, who lived many years in New Mexico, and, enjoyed GREAT Mexican food. They thought Catalina’s chile verde (our standard to measure Mexican food by) was the BEST they had ever had, MULTIPLE times!! So did we!! We LOVED you, Catalina, and, we love ALL of your family!? May
you rest in peace, and may your cooking , and loving, go on through your family!!

Cynthia Parker

December 11, 2018

Ez, I am so sorry that I can't be there to share and celebrate in Catalina'a home going. My love and prayers to you and your family and may God's blessing be with you always. Love you! Cynthia

La Shanda Hurst

December 10, 2018

Catalina, thank you for sharing, your restaurant, children and humor with me. I have had so many memorable moments at Catalina’s; Birthday parties, college going away parties. And those shrimp & spinach enchiladas w/ green sauce are so BOMB. No one makes them like you. FACT. You are one of the strongest women I know and you did an amazing job raising your children. May they continue to live your legacy and have comfort in knowing that someone so special will never be forgotten. Driving down Killingsworth will not be the same. Rest In Peace Beautiful Lady!!


Jacqueline Jones-Martin

December 9, 2018

RIP Mama Catalina, I will miss your sweet face as I enter and leave the restaurant . Sending prayers and hugs out to the family .

Jesus Caldera

December 9, 2018

Comencé ha hablar con mi tía Catalina en mis largos recorridos de regreso al trabajo. Hace 6 años que por lo menos una vez al mes hablamos por media hora al menos. Paso de ser mi desconocida tía a mi héroe. Me animo con su historia de vida a tomar riesgos, que no se pierde si se trabaja duro. El trabajar duro nos enaltece, eso me enseñó ella. Conocí mejor a la famila Caldera Montoya a través de ella. Comprendí a mi padre, su hermano, al hablar con ella. Me siento afortunado de haberla conocido, de que me dedico tu tiempo como mentor. Me hizo mejor persona. La extrañare cuando maneje de camino al trabajo, pero se que estará arriba contenta con sus dos hijos y mi abuelo cuidando de los suyos. Que descanse en paz y Dios la tenga en su santa gloria. Jesús O Caldera

Patricia Ramirez

December 8, 2018

We all know Catalina lived & breathed her restaurant. To catch her outside of there would be rare moments, usually reserved for her children/grandchildren (bless them all). I’ll need to go back some 37 years to share fondest memories of Catalina. I enjoyed the visits Catalina would make to her best friend's house, my mother Eleanor. Catalina would greet me every time with “ay, qué bonita” with the biggest smile ever (bringing the same infectious smile to my face). I loved when we’d get together at my mother’s house to celebrate the many occasions over the years, so much happiness, so much food, music and fun. It was too cute seeing Catalina and my mother doll up and dance in the front room. I remember Catalina asked my mother and step-father to be Joel’s God-Parents. Mom and Joe ever so proud to be Joel’s God-Parents and we kids so excited to have Joel as our God-Brother, thank you Catalina for that. Later on in the years I'd visit Catalina at the restaurant, sharing laughter, hugs, and at times tears. Family and close friends meant the world to her. I count myself lucky being close as family to her. Catalina even extended her love to my children & grandchildren. When Dominic would visit, Catalina would come to him; rub his face, shoulders and arms while speaking to him in the sweetest voice. She would say “pobrecito” over and over while caressing him. Kiss his forehead and let him know God is with him, melting my heart every time. The friendship my mother and Catalina shared was like no other, they lived to be lifelong friends (their children still close as well). Our family is truly blessed to have shared such a longtime friendship/love. Catalina will always be my aunt in my heart and soul. Although I will miss Catalina dearly, I am at peace knowing Catalina has gone to heaven to be with her best friend and loving sons once again. Esmerelda, Jaime, Eddy & George, my deepest loving prayers & thoughts are with you always. God Bless-

Lisa Williams

December 7, 2018

💫💞⭐ Mamma Catelina Calder! You will forever be the True Essence of a "Phenomenal Woman" paying it forward "ALWAYS" U+nity Keeping with community & our bellies full - so we can "Think" beyond ourselves but rather how we build togetherness and infusion of leadership role modeling ...Ezzy my 💜goes out to you + Fam and thanks for allowing me one last Visit with Momma or as I called her A mamma & her pretty toes 👣 before departure of this 🌍 I will forever Cherish that 🕐 moment. If I can only save time in a bottle...💐💕💯

Rosemary Juan

December 6, 2018

These last couple of days I've been thinking of you at work I know it may have seemed like I was mad I wasnt I was just too busy, I regret not coming in to say hello I let too many things in life distract me from what was really important.

I came across your voicemails today and felt my heart tighten. I do cry when thinking of you. I'm both sad and happy. Happy you are now in a peaceful place and sad you left so soon.

I do hope you are now happier than ever, I hope you can now rest and watch your restraunt continue to grow. You are not gone , you are just free to fly now.

I will truly miss you.

Fly high Catalina

Patricia Orduna

December 1, 2018

Animo para toda su familia, y pronta resignacion que sean fuertes como a ella le gustaria, los estimo mucho y extrano animo animo

Selena Perez

November 30, 2018

When I think of my childhood you and your restaurant will always be on my mind , I grew up very close to Catalina’s , we shared many family memeories there . My mom loved you so much I’m so sad that we didnt get to vist and get to eat good food without seeing you one last time . QDEP CATALINA 💕 my prayers go out to your family in this hard time . 🌷