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Kay Grant Powers

Kay Grant Powers Obituary
Kay Grant Powers

Kay Grant Powers was born at Providence hospital in Seattle, Washington. In her adolescence, Kay appeared repeatedly on TV as a "Quiz Kid," was the 1959 prom queen of Holy Rosary High, and won several debate scholarships. Upon graduation from a Catholic school education through her master's degree, Kay would crack, "I was fully ready for the 13th Century." Yet, she brought the full force of that rigorous classical education to bear in her classroom.

As a student at Gonzaga, Kay met, wooed, then married Patrick G. Powers. With him, she arrived-a feminist in North Idaho-parachuting behind patriarchal lines. In 1971 their first child, Patrick K. Powers, was born. During this time Kay taught at Coeur 'd Alene High and North Idaho College, writing the outline for her college class from a lengthy mid-party conversation with Allen Ginsburg. Besides teaching and parenting, she served in the McGovern political trenches, interviewed the wives and girl friends of miners lost in the Sunshine Mine Disaster, and lent her strength to the successful fight to "Save Tubs Hill," now a city park.

Hitch-hiking through Europe in 1968, she ended up in the Greek Isles where she smuggled a right wing Junta censored speech by socialist Andreas Papandreou into Greece to be broadcast by the resistance. She continued that tradition of radical solidarity and travel through her life, taking her first baby, Patrick, on the road in France and later hitching in Ireland with 8-year-old Rosa to take a class with Sheamus Heaney.

When her marriage to Pat ended, Kay returned to her roots in Seattle, where she took a teaching job in Everett at Cascade High. A single working mom, Kay "earned her bones" as a force for scholarship, resistance and art. In 1995 she met and later married Randy Rowland, Seattle activist and Registered Nurse.

Toward the end of her 40 year career, Kay took the job of faculty advisor to the Cascade student newspaper. Soon after, a free speech battle that began at Everett HS, boiled over into Cascade. When student journalists voted the newspaper go underground, Kay agreed to continue as advisor, "so long as standards are kept." Ultimately, the Superintendent shut down the paper, suspended the student editor, and fired Kay. But a year later, with support from Everett unions and the community at large, Kay was back in the district and the Superintendent was out.

After retirement, Kay saw her first granddaughter, Leila, born and continued to travel the world, but then fell into the ever-tightening grip of dementia. Through it all, Kay retained her grace and inner fire. Her full, brilliant life ended at home with husband and children.

A memorial service, with reception to follow, will be held Sunday, January 20th, 2019. Doors 1:30, service 2PM at the King County Labor Temple, 2800 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

In lieu of donations to a favored charity, please march January 21st, in Seattle's annual MLK Day demonstration which begins at 11AM at Garfield HS. In Kay's name, be among those who march for freedom and the cause of humanity.
Published in The Seattle Times on Jan. 13, 2019
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