Catherine Davison, known as Katusha, was born in Toulouse, France in 1930, to Count Vassily and Countess Daria Cheremeteff. She grew up in the Haute Savoie and moved to Paris during the German occupation, winning a medal for bravery at the age of 14 for saving a boy who was swimming in a canal that was being strafed by a fighter plane. She moved to the United States with her mother in 1947 and attended Bryn Mawr College.
In 1953, she married Daniel P. Davison of New York and with him raised three sons (Danny Jr., George and Harry) in New York and London. She was her husband’s active guide and consort throughout his career as a banker at JP Morgan and then as the CEO of the US Trust Company. She is credited with founding the volunteer program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 1960s. While living in London in the 1970s, she became involved with the American Museum at Bath and the Friends of Covent Garden Opera. Returning to New York, she served on the Board of International House and was Board Chair of the Nassau County Museum of Art. Until the end of her life, Catherine was a member of the Board of the Florence Gould Foundation. She was awarded the “Legionne D’Honneur” by the Republic of France for her work furthering French American relations.
Katusha believed in getting people together over food and conversation. She was a member of the Foreign Policy Association and the Colony Club, loved history and voraciously consumed book after book. She ran her houses in New York City, London, Locust Valley and Georgia with precision, and was known for her ability to host huge house parties, seemingly without effort. She was devoted to her friends and family, holding high standards for everyone in her orbit, and encouraging them to reach for excellence.
She died peacefully in New York on Oct. 29, 2016 from complications arising from Parkinson’s disease. She is survived by her three sons, their wives (Betsey Weltner, Judith Rivkin and Kristina Davison), seven grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. A service to celebrate her life was held on Saturday, Nov. 5, at St. John’s of Lattingtown in Locust Valley. Gifts in lieu of flowers may be sent to Christodora, Inc., at 1 East 53rd St., New York, NY 10022, Grace Church School at 86 Fourth Ave, NYC NY 10003 or St. John’s of Lattingtown Pre-School Program, 325 Lattingtown Rd., Locust Valley, NY 11560. Arrangements by Dodge-Thomas.