Catherine was one of four children born to Charles Shepperd Caldwell Jr and the former Mary Catherine Hood of Birmingham. She graduated from Brooke Hill School in 1957 and Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, Virginia in 1961. She lived in New York City for a year and then married Bill Cabaniss, then a lieutenant in the Army's Airborne Ranger. They lived in Zweibrucken, Germany for two years before settling in Birmingham.
Cabaniss went on to complete a bachelor of fine arts at UAB and worked as a professional artist in oils, watercolor, and charcoal. Her work has been exhibited at the Birmingham Museum of Art; the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts; the New Britain Museum in New Britain, Connecticut; and the Aspen Art Museum in Aspen, Colorado. Her large-scale oil painting "Water-Based" was selected for permanent display at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.
Cabaniss taught art at Studio By The Tracks, and at the Aspen Art Museum. She also served on the board of the Birmingham Museum of Art. While her husband was serving as U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, she established an "Art in Embassies Program" to showcase American artists at embassies and ambassadorial residences around the world.
Cabaniss died in February 2021. She was survive by her husband, two daughters and five grandchildren.
- "Catherine Caldwell Cabaniss" obituary (February 26, 2021) The Birmingham News