In the mid—2250s, as a member of the science team involved in Project Purity, Catherine befriended and fell in love with the project's chief scientist, James. In late 2257, the two lovers conceived a child. Nine months later, on July 13, 2258, Catherine gave birth to a child. After seeing her child, Catherine suffered from cardiac arrest and, despite attempts at saving her life by James, she died. Her death affected James deeply, who abandoned Project Purity soon after and traveled with his child to raise him or her in Vault 101.
Catherine died in the prologue of the game. She appeared during a cutscene that showed the Lone Wanderer's birth, but the player only saw her legs and could hear her voice. A holotape recording of James flirting with her called "Better Days" could be located in the Jefferson Memorial's lower levels.
In Point Lookout, while intoxicated on the punga, the Lone Wanderer will find one of the many giant bobbleheads on a medical examination table with a skeleton marked "Mom", balloons, and a party hat. Activating the bobblehead will say "Blech. If my kid looked like that, I’d abandon it too." The skeleton is Catherine, reflecting the lack of maternal presence in the Lone Wanderer's life. Furthermore, the last bobblehead in the vision says, "Dead mother, life in a post-nuclear Wasteland and not a friend in it. Yeah, you aren't exactly blessed."