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Kate Wolf, Early RI Leader Missed and Remembered


Kate Wolf, beloved veteran Portland RI leader passes, age 87

April 03, 1928 to October 08, 2015

Kate Wolfe – a Giant of a Lady

Kate bragged that it was her husband who forced her to that first Recovery meeting. While in that meeting she cried and vowed she would never return. Well, as we well know, she returned and became the Meeting Leader for almost twenty years. The rest is history.

To the day she died, she was thankful that her husband pressured her to that first Recovery meeting.

As a consequence of her Recovery involvement, she became convinced that her husband was a prime candidate for this program. He refused and was steadfast in this decision until the day he died. Nevertheless, her husband witnessed firsthand the remarkable change in Kate’s life and mentioned this to her over the years.

Kate, like so many in other families, needed the Recovery method to cope mainly with an early in life deceased first husband, very young children, and the disruption of normal family life that ensued from the deceased husband.

Kate totally believed in the Recovery system and was convinced it was a life changer and a life saver. So much so that her love for Recovery was contagious. This was evident by the number of people attending her meetings. At one point the attendance grew to approximately 25 people, so that another meeting was started in an outer southeast venue headed by Jeanne Clausen, a member of Kate’s group. Jeanne eventually became Area Leader for many years and was credited with a large expansion of local meetings.

Kate was involved in many panel demonstrations at local hospitals and institutions. Also, a frequent participant at Damasch State Hospital panels.

A remarkable consequence resulted from Kate’s Recovery leadership. For years, new leaders emanated from her group to help build the number of Recovery meetings in this area, as many as six or more leaders, as I am able to recall.

Kate was truly affable – pleasant to be around, with a friendly warmth and always with a smile. A person who truly loved to converse, never disagreeable or in any way caused problems.

Kate was truly a winner – this was evident by the number of countless souls who attended her meetings, believed in Doctor Low’s system of mental health and gained good mental health in the process, all because of her leadership.

Kate’s life-long hobby was quilting, and every facet of quilting she entered into was with gusto.

We owe Kate Wolfe a deep debt of gratitude for her perseverance and leadership in Recovery International. Few people come into existence and then make such a profound impact in their community. Kate was one of the few. – by Joe Galati, RI veteran and retired leader


In Memory of

Katherine Swenson Ling Wolf

 April 3, 1928 – October 8, 2015

Katherine Ione Swenson was born in Portland, Oregon, at Wilcox Memorial Women’s Hospital, to parents Martin and Hilda (Quenell) Swenson on April 3, 1928. Beloved sister, “Kate” to big brother Edward J. Swenson.

Katherine was raised in the eclectic, close-knit community of Linnton. She was awed by the completion of the St. Johns Bridge, practically outside her bedroom window. She attended James John Elementary School, Roosevelt High School, and Girls’ Poly High School. There are great stories of walks & bus rides to school, dances and activities across her favorite Bridge.

Katherine married Clifford Edwin Ling on September 10, 1946. She loved the Log Cabin set on two acres of Douglas Fir in Cedar Mill. They raised three girls, some rabbits, chickens, milk cows, steers, a pig, vegetables & two apple trees. Cliff passed away in 1969.

As a young woman already plying “needle & thimble” skills at her first jobs in tailoring and alterations from suits to wedding gowns. After raising the girls to responsible school ages, Katherine worked for Tektronix assembly & soldering the fine detail work of early circuit boards. Often on a hot summer day, she would pack us up after work & school and escape to the cooler temperatures of the Timber property for dinner & cooling wade in the river.

Katherine married John Hugo Wolf June 25th, 1969. She welcomed 3 more children into her life. Although she referred to herself as the
“wicked step-mother”, we all know in New England terms as wicked-good. All three have loved her dearly. Together with John they built a thriving family business that lives on today. They traveled to Navy reunions, cruised a few voyages and rarely passed a fabric store without stopping to make a ‘contribution’.

Katherine was passionate about the organization, Recovery, Inc., a self-help, volunteer-led association that’s helped hundreds learn Dr. Low’s method of managing fear and anger. “Katie” was a group leader for over 25 years and made some very precious and lasting friendships. Also known for her passion of creating works of art from fabric & threads, she quilted up a storm for years. She received many honors. In 1999 she was featured Quilter of Northwest Quilters annual show, displaying hundreds of pieces across the Portland State auditorium.

After John’s death, she slowed down the larger projects and turned some of that energy toward little quilts and pillows donated to a Shelter dedicated to the safety and care of abused women and children. In this past year she returned to another old skill of knitting. Katherine produced hundreds of sweet, tiny hats for the Preemie & Nicu units of the local Hospitals.

Survivors include her children: Sandra (Ling) Normoyle, Terri Jo Ling, Sherrie Wolf/Peter Lovely, and Kim (Wolf) Judson/ Lee Judson; grandchildren, Stephanie Wood, Kim Grant, Angela (Hing) Watson, Sarah Wolf, Brittany Wolf, Jennifer McKinley, Mackenzie Harvey, and Quincy Judson; and nine great-grandchildren.

Katherine is preceded in death by her parents Martin and Hilda Swenson; husband Clifford E. Ling; brother, Edward J. Swenson; son, Daryl Wolf, daughter Kathy Ling and husband, John H. Wolf.

Katherine will be privately laid to rest in Skyline Memorial Gardens of Portland, Oregon.
Please visit Katherine’s internet memorial and online guestbook

Remembrances in lieu of flowers to honor Katherine’s memory may be made to:
Recovery International
Oregon Humane Society
Friends of Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
Doctors Without Borders

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