As a way of life photographer, Graciela Cattarossi noticed many stunning locations — sunny seashores, glamorous inns. But to her, the loveliest sight on this planet was in Surfside, as a result of the middle of the universe lived there: her 7-yr-outdated daughter Stella.
The Argentine-born Cattarossi, 48, who built a photography business on her personal, was a single mother who did every thing with the one-minded aim of making her daughter’s life higher.
“Her devotion to her child was unparalleled,” mentioned her good friend Kathryn Rooney Vera of Miami, who has identified Cattarossi since they have been neighbors at Miami Beach’s Grand Venetian in 2008.
Cattarossi, Stella, and Cattarossi’s mother and father Graciela and Gino lived in unit 501 of Champlain Towers in Surfside, which collapsed early Thursday morning. The Uruguayan consul confirmed that Cattarossi’s mom, for whom Cattarossi is called, is a Uruguayan nationwide and was a diplomat in Uruguay within the late Nineteen Sixties.
Visiting the family on the time of the collapse was Cattarossi’s sister Andrea, whose husband stayed in Argentina. All 5 family members are missing.
Graciela Cattarossi, her daughter Stella, 7, and Graciela’s mother and father Gino and Graciela Cattarossi. Not pictured is Graciela’s sister Andrea, who was staying together with her family at Champlain Towers.
Vera, whose kids attend Von Wedell Montessori with Stella, mentioned Cattarossi’s generosity prolonged to mates in addition to family. The photographer shot maternity pictures of Vera and offered them to her as a present to commemorate what she believed could be Vera’s final little one. Then Vera obtained pregnant together with her fifth.
“She was so excited for me,” Vera mentioned. “She said, ‘I’m ecstatic!’ She worked hard for everything she had, and she was so generous.”
She describes Cattarossi as “down to earth” and “a little bit Bohemian.”
“She was conscious of being a healthy person in every way — mind, body, spirit, emotionally. She was very fit. She played tennis and was conscious of bringing up her daughter in a holistic, healthy way.”
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She was additionally an immigrant who absolutely embraced her adopted nation.
“She loved everything we stand for,” Vera mentioned. “She used to say ‘Americans must understand what they have and hang on to it and fight for their freedom.’ She just loved the essence of America.”
But all the time, Stella got here first. Mother and daughter have been shut; they shared a mattress. Vera finds herself questioning if her good friend had time to get up earlier than the calamity, attain out to Stella and pull her shut.
“I hope she put her arms around her little girl,” she mentioned.
Graciela Cattarossi and her daughter Stella.