Katherine (Kitty) Louise Powell, 46, died at her home in Portland on Monday, April 21, 2014.
Kitty left us peacefully with her husband, Mark, and their four children, Emily, Kira, Tucker and Milo, gathered around her. She passed away in the sunny room on the top floor of their home, with beautiful views of a blossoming cherry tree.
She was born July 16, 1967, in The Dalles, Oregon, the oldest of three children to James Dale and Mary Ann (Jeffreys) Powell. She attended St. Mary’s Academy and graduated from The Dalles High School in 1985 as a class valedictorian.
In 1989, she graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with degrees in Economics and Government. Kitty worked at Washington Legal Foundation in Washington, D.C. before completing her MBA at Stanford University in 1993.
She served as a strategy consultant with Mercer Management Consulting in San Francisco for six years, working on challenging business problems across a variety of industries. When she and her husband moved to Portland they founded a software company providing marketing tools and intellectual property management, which they sold in 2004.
In 2004, her daughter Emily was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of three. Today Emily is a healthy, bright and beautiful teenager. However, Emily’s five-year journey of cancer treatment and monitoring set Kitty on a profound professional and personal journey.
Bringing the lessons of Emily’s cancer experience with her, Kitty joined Providence Health & Services in 2005, most recently serving as Chief Innovation Officer of Accountable Care Services. Her daily desire was to improve the health care experience for everyone in need – realizing how vulnerable everyone becomes when struggling with an illness.
One of Kitty’s early endeavors with Providence was to help create a comprehensive care experience for women diagnosed with breast cancer. Kitty personally benefited from that work when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and she subsequently fought a five-year battle with this disease. She approached it as she did life with enviable grace, courage and determination. She partnered with her Providence oncology team to research and participate in a variety of clinical trials and in the process contributed to all survivors of breast cancer by advancing our knowledge of this disease and how to treat it. We are forever inspired by her efforts and know they gave us the gift of more time with her.
Kitty served on the Board of Trustees for the Oregon Chapter and the National Board of Representatives for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Kitty is survived by her husband, Mark Swinth, whom she married August 31, 1997 in Bozeman, Montana; her children, Emily Ann, Kira Lee, Tucker James and Milo Jackson; mother, Mary Ann Powell; sister, Holly (Powell) Walrod-Whitehurst and her husband, Todd Whitehurst; brother, Mark Powell, good friend, Chelsea (McDonald) Powell; nephews, Edison Walrod and Oscar Powell; niece, Claire Powell; in-laws M. Heather Jackson and Robert L. Swinth; sister-in-law Kirsten Swinth, and nephew and niece, Gabriel and Alison Swinth; aunts and uncles, Judy & Jim Marick, Janet Powell, Jeri Knudson, Joyce & Tony Morin, Joe & Judy Powell, Jean & Jim Marks and Jeff Powell; numerous cousins and extended family, and many close friends whose lives she impacted greatly.
Kitty was preceded in death by her father, Jim Powell, her grandparents, Edward and Mildred (Zeller) Powell and Edwin and Beverly (Pope) Jeffreys; and uncles, Jack Powell and Tom Knudson.
Visitation will be Friday, May 2, 2014 beginning at 2:00 pm with Rosary at 6:30 pm and then Saturday from 9:00 am until 11:00 am at Spencer, Libby and Powell Funeral Home.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, May 3rd at 12:30 pm in The Dalles, Oregon, at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. Vault interment will follow at St. Peter Catholic Cemetery.
A reception will follow at Clock Tower Ales Pub, 311 Union Street. All are welcome to join. Arrangements made through Spencer, Libby and Powell Funeral Home.
A Celebration of Kitty’s Life will be held in Portland, Oregon on the afternoon of Saturday, June 7th. The time and location are to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, an educational donation fund to benefit Kitty's children is being arranged through PayPal with details to be provided at a later date.
It seems right to let Kitty have the final words: “Life is an incredible journey, the goal is to simply try to make the world a little better than when we got here.”
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