Catherine Dahmer was the grandmother of serial killer and cannibal, Jeffrey Dahmer.
Her name is also give as Catherine Jemima Hughes.
Dahmer’s killings between 1978 and 1991 are getting renewed attention as a result of a new Netflix docudrama series. “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” started streaming on September 21, 2022. “Across more than a decade, 17 teen boys and young men were murdered by convicted killer Jeffrey Dahmer. How did he evade arrest for so long?” the Netflix site for the show asks.
Dahmer’s grandma features prominently in the show. She allowed Dahmer to live with her for a time, and the Netflix series shows them eating dinner together while watching game shows and having conversations about Dahmer’s dating life.
Catherine Dahmer died in 1992, according to her grave stone. Despite Internet rumors, there’s no evidence that she was murdered by Dahmer. Although the cause of death is unclear, she was in her late 80s when she died.
To the contrary, they appear to have had a loving relationship. Her gravestone says she was married to Herbert Dahmer, who died in 1971.
Here’s what you need to know about Dahmer’s grandmother:
1. Dahmer’s Dad Says Catherine & Jeffrey ‘Loved Each Other’
Catherine Dahmer was Jeffrey’s paternal grandmother. She lived in West Allis, Wisconsin, a Milwaukee suburb, and for a time, Dahmer lived with her.
Dahmer’s father, Lionel, told the Milwaukee Sentinel,
He’d be in a bar and get in trouble, and I’d have to go find him. This was probably very wrong to do, but I didn’t have the wisdom to do anything differently, and we sent him to his grandmother’s to live there. A new scene. They loved each other, and he’d help her with the chores.
The quote was reprinted in a 1991 article by the Akron Beacon Journal, accessed via Newspapers.com.
2. Dahmer Planted Roses for Her Grandma & Moved Her Lawn; She Called His Arrest ‘Terrible’
The Beacon Journal article says that Catherine was “the one member of his family he loved.”
Jeffrey Dahmer “planted roses for her and kept her lawn mowed.”
However, the article says, “she later would learn that he killed people in her basement.”
A 1991 article in the Fond du Lac Reporter, accessed through Newspapers.com, quoted Catherine Dahmer as saying the news of Dahmer’s arrest was “terrible.
“I loved him very much. He would do anything for me,” she said.
3. Dahmer’s Grandmother Discovered Him in the Basement With a Man
Catherine Dahmer is presented in the Netflix show as a church-going woman who was constantly trying to set Dahmer up with young women she knew.
However, Dahmer was a homosexual.
According to the Beacon Journal, Dahmer “had worn out his welcome at his grandmother’s house,” and “the final straw came when she discovered him in the basement with a man.”
When 31-year-old Dahmer was arrested in 1991, Catherine Dahmer was 87, according to The Capital Times.
One night his grandmother came downstairs and “saw him with another young man and both of them were drunk,” Lionel Dahmer said. He said the grandmother saw “Jeff usher him out and take him to a bus stop.”
That was the “impetus” for Dahmer to get his own apartment, Lionel said.
4. Dahmer’s Grandmother Complained About a ‘Bad Smell Coming From the Garage’
According to the Beacon Journal, Lionel Dahmer investigated the “grandmother’s complaint of a bad smell coming from the garage, even though the garbage men already had taken away whatever it was that smelled and all that remained was ‘a little slimy black viscous residue in the garage.”
According to a 1991 article in the Sheboygan Press, Dahmer was accused of molesting a 13 year old boy while living with his grandmother.
What was her address? She lived in the 2300 block of South 57th Street in West Allis.
5. Catherine, Whose Maiden Name Was Hughes, Came From a Large Family
Catherine’s maiden name was Hughes. A 1957 article in the Capital Times newspaper says that her brother was William W. Hughes, formerly of Madison, Wisconsin, who died at a Pheonix, Arizona veterans’ hospital after a long illness. It gives some details of the family.
Catherine’s brother was a veteran of World War II and worked at the Borden Company. He was born and raised on a farm near Barneveld, Wisconsin, the obit says.
That obit says that there were seven siblings; four sisters and three brothers.
READ NEXT: Jeffrey Dahmer’s Cause of Death.