Kathleen Wall Casey
August 05, 1944 - November 16, 2021
Celebration of Life for Kathleen Wall Casey
Kathleen Wall Casey passed away peacefully Nov. 16, 2021 at her home in Portland, Ore., surrounded by her family.
Kathy was born in Teaneck, N.J., to John R. Wall and Edythe Finneran Wall. She was married to her husband, Bernard J. Casey, for over 51 years. Kathy is the mother of Brendan W. Casey and B. John Casey, both of Portland and the grandmother of six grandchildren, Finn Casey, Owen Casey and Kate Casey (children of Brendan and Erin Boyd Casey) and Nora Rose Casey, Liam Casey and Ryan Casey (children of John and Nancy Smith Casey). Kathy also has a sister, Alice "Lisa" Westphal, of Trappe, Md.
Kathy, following her father's career as a steel executive, had a well-traveled childhood, residing in Towson, Md., Winnetka, Ill., and Shaker Heights, Ohio. As an adult, she lived for 40 years in Washington, D.C., where, with her husband Bernie, they raised their family.
Although she would never talk about her academic achievements, Kathy was an outstanding student. She was a graduate of the Beaumont School for Girls in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. With impeccable academic credentials, Kathy was accepted at Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in Purchase, N.Y., and spent her first two years there. Kathy's college studies focused on French, and she attended her junior year abroad in Fribourg, Switzerland. She then transferred to Georgetown University— where her father graduated from both college and law school— graduating in 1967 summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown's School of Languages and Linguistics.
After college, Kathy worked for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (1967-1968) and then as a French translator for the Central Intelligence Agency (1968-1971). In later life, Kathy worked in the White House as a member of First Lady Hillary Clinton's correspondence staff.
France, French language and literature were mainstays in Kathy's range of interests. Drawing on her experience as a student in Switzerland, Kathy provided research for a book on the relationship between one of her professors there, former Vichy official Bernard Fäy, and Gertrude Stein ("Unlikely Collaboration" by Barbara Will.) Kathy also developed a broad knowledge of American art through her years as a docent at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
So much for the basics. How to describe who she really was? "How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?" Kathy was a sprite with the purest of hearts. Position and status meant nothing. Posturing and pretense she disdained. Her signature was etched for all to see in a delicate face with sparkling eyes and a gentle smile. Books and family were her sustenance. Even as illness stole many of her memories, Kathy retained a remarkable acuteness of mind and an elegant, gracious loveliness til the end. We miss her terribly.
A memorial Mass will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, at St. Andrew Church in N.E. Portland.
Published by The Oregonian from Nov. 23 to Nov. 28, 2021.