Catherine (Roerva) Pelzer (nee Christen) (April 17, 1929 - January 6, 1992) was the mother of authors David Pelzer and Richard B. Pelzer. She was, according to her sons, an abusive and drunken mother, and thus a frequently mentioned subject in their books.
She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to parents who later divorced, often experiencing cruel abuse at the hands of her own mother, who suffered at the hands of her father. It was a pattern of behavior that would set the stage for her later years and make her infamous after her death. Once of legal age, she moved to California. She married Stephen Joseph Pelzer, a San Francisco fireman. They had 5 children. They separated in late 1972, but remained legally married until Stephen's death in 1980.
In the mid-1990s, Pelzer's middle son, David, chronicled his life as her son in the New York Times Bestseller "A Child Called It". In the book, David Pelzer writes that his mother was a caring and loving parent at first, but later turned to alcohol. David said that she started abusing him by making him stand in front of a mirror and say he was a "bad boy". By the time he was 6, she began beating him regularly and calling him "the Boy".