Kathryn Olney
1955 - 2021
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Kathryn L. Olney
December 9, 1955 - January 14, 2021
Kathryn passed away on January 14th at the age of 65, after a nearly four-year battle with breast cancer. She was surrounded by family at the time of her death, in the San Francisco home she had occupied for more than 30 years.

She was born in Pennsylvania to Edward Olney, a food scientist, and Marilyn Olney, a dietitian. She spent most of her childhood in Deerfield, Illinois and graduated from Deerfield High School. Shortly after receiving her degree in anthropology from Purdue University, she married Clifford J. Bell and moved to California.

Kathryn was a witty and passionate writer who devoted many years to her work in journalism, including contributions to newspapers and magazines such as the San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, Parenting, More, Sierra, and many others. She volunteered and served on the Board of Directors of the Children's Book Project, to which contributions can be made in lieu of flowers (www.childrensbookproject.org/donate/).

Outside of work, Kathryn cultivated a sumptuous garden and was an ardent student of film, literature, and history. These interests helped strengthen many of her friendships and family bonds. She was a dedicated mother who sacrificed much for her children. She will be remembered for her kindness, jovial spirit, and her knack for conversation.

Kathryn is survived by her three children, her mother, her brother, two nephews, and former husband. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Jan. 23 to Jan. 26, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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7 entries
January 28, 2021
Fondest memories of shared times and fun trips when all our children were young. Our family will always treasure those lighthearted early days of such a happy friendship. We send heartfelt love and condolences to Lindsay, Dana, Teddy, and Cliff.
Susan stone
Friend
January 27, 2021
She fought an awful disease with strength and hope. We will miss her at our group meetings and will keep her and her family, in our memory.
Dorothy D. Wall
Acquaintance
January 26, 2021
Bighearted, thoughtful Kathryn--the most loyal and interesting of friends. I will miss her brilliant mind and her sensitive soul. RIP, dear friend.
Rose Heller
Friend
January 26, 2021
Kathryn had the wryest sense of humor. And nothing escaped her astute observations. We lost touch after I left San Francisco, but I will always remember her great style and funny conversations on our long walks when the kids were young. My heart goes out to her family.
Jayne Garrison
Friend
January 26, 2021
I have such fond memories of being at Camp Mather together and at so many Rooftop events. I remember Kathryn’s love of big beautiful birds. What a wonderful mother.
Patti Martin
Friend
January 24, 2021
So sorry to hear of your Mom’s passing. I loved talking with her, very smart and always friendly. Really loved her kids. Breeda
Breeda Kenneally
Acquaintance
January 24, 2021
Godspeed, beautiful wordsmith. You were and always will be loved.
Katherine Brennan
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