Colette Hatch DeRoma

In loving memory of Colette who, after a long illness, passed away peacefully on January 13, 2023, at her home in Santa Rosa with her two children and her husband at her side. She was the loving wife of Joseph H. DeRoma and mother of daughter Corinne Taylor of Sunnyvale California and son Dean Adams of Doha, Qatar, all of whom survive her.  She also leaves her brother, Fernand, of Chaussin, Jura, France, grandchildren Christiane T. Lancieri of Healdsburg and Cameron J. Taylor of San Jose, California, as well as many relatives and extended family in France and the United States. She was predeceased by her brother Celestin Lepeut of Foucherans, Jura, France.

Colette was born on May 22, 1942, in France amid the turmoil and privation of World War II, the youngest of three children, to parents of modest means.  As a woman at that time, she achieved the extraordinary feat of obtaining an education, pursuing a career in hotel management in Europe and ultimately immigrating to the US to pursue a career in the culinary arts.

After earning her BA from the Lycée Hotelier de Bourgogne Franche Comte d’ Etat Poligny in Jura, France, Colette managed several fine hotels in France, England and Corsica including a prestigious apprenticeship at the Michelin three-star restaurant Jeunet.   In America, she made her career managing French restaurants in Connecticut.  In the 1990’s she relocated to Sonoma County, the heart of California Wine Country, where she reinvented herself as Madame de Fromage, a role that saw her advocating for artisanal cheese makers the world over, importing their creations to California and building state of the art cheese counters at the four branches of Oliver’s Market where she also organized and coordinated the cheese departments and hired and trained the cheese mongers. She also worked with California wine makers on cheese and wine pairings, lectured at culinary institutes and traveled to American Cheese Society and Slow Food International events in the U.S,, France and Italy.  Eternally committed to education, Colette served as a founding member of the Cheese School of San Francisco faculty.  Helping to establish the initial curriculum, she continued her tenure there for over a decade.  She was inducted into the prestigious New World Chapter of the Guilde des Fromagers.

All who knew her would understand that when Colette determined to do something, she followed through with a force of will that was unstoppable. . She had a charisma about her that was almost magnetic, a presence that was larger than life and a loving nature such that in turn made her beloved by all who knew her,

At her request, no services will be held.  There will be a celebration of her life event scheduled in coming weeks.  If you wish to participate, or just to be notified, please email

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