Kathleen Kuhlmey Sheridan thumbnail

Kathleen Kuhlmey Sheridan

May 28, 1952 - March 6, 2023

With deep sorrow, the family of Kathleen Kuhlmey Sheridan (nee Kathleen Joan Kuhlmey) mourns her passing. Kathleen (known to her “east coast” family as Kathy)  was born in Flushing, New York, on May 28,1952 to Gerard Kenneth and Audrey Marie  (Delany) Kuhlmey (both now deceased). She is survived by her beloved wife, Rebecca  M. Berman (Portland, OR); Becky’s parents, Karen and Manny Berman and Richard  and Ellen Cohen, and Becky’s son, Emilio Aguilera (Portland, Oregon); brother, Kenneth  M. Kuhlmey and wife, Kendall (Bellerose Village, NY); her sister, Denise Kuhlmey  Avanzato and husband, Philip Avanzato (Danbury, CT); four nephews and nieces –  Megan Kuhlmey-MacRobbie (Jeremy), children Audrey and Laurel; Christopher D.  Kuhlmey (Stephanie), children Camryn and Caleb; Evan D. Kuhlmey, Anna V. Kuhlmey;  dear Uncle Frank H. Grehl, and cousins, Virginia S. Krul, Barbara J. Ziegler and Richard  A. Grehl.


Kathleen was a force of nature from a young age who took big gulps of life, loved to  learn new things, and wasn’t scared to try (almost) anything. From woodworking to  gardening, to building projects of all kinds, to skydiving on her 50th birthday and, most  recently, to converting a 14-passenger van into an “adventure mobile”, she was most  energized when trying to figure out how to make something work. Her vision and  persistence were unmatched and Becky would frequently remark, with unbounded  pride, “There’s nothing my wife, can’t do.”


Kathleen pursued her educational and vocational interests with the same energy and  ambition as her other activities. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and  English at The College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, NY, in 1974. After working  at Tektronix, Inc. in Beaverton, Oregon for several years, she then pursued a career in  nursing, earning a second Bachelor degree from Oregon Health and Science University,  in 1987. She worked as a nurse in community and correctional health settings until  2000, when she took her passion for advocacy and social justice to the field of Labor  Relations. In 2001 she earned her Master’s of Public Administration from Portland State  University, and continued her work with the Oregon Nurses Association, as head of the  bargaining unit at Oregon Health and Science University for six years. Possibly her  proudest professional accomplishment was leading the nurses strike at OHSU in late  2001/early 2002, the outcome of which resulted in meaningful salary and benefit gains  that nurses at OHSU are still enjoying to this day. The OHSU strike lasted 56 days,garnered participation from over ninety percent of OHSU nurses, and was the longest  running nursing strike in ONA history.


Flush from that victory, Kathleen eventually turned her professional focus back to direct  patient care, but in a new way. At age 54 she returned to OHSU as a student and, over  the course of 3 years, earned her second Masters Degree (MSN-PMHNP) while also  working full time (on the night shift!) as a registered nurse at the Poison Center. After  graduating, she quickly started a successful private psychiatric practice, where, until  shortly before her death, she specialized in treating patients with anxiety disorders. It  was through this final career pathway that Kathleen and Becky met and fell in love after  being introduced through mutual friends.


Kathleen faced many obstacles in her life, but she also found great love, joy, adventure,  and authenticity. Her belief was that life is supposed to be fun, and she lived by that  credo until the very end. Kathleen loved all things water, a passion borne of her  cherished summers spent at her family’s lake house back east. In 2013 she fulfilled a  lifelong dream of living on the water, when she purchased a floating home on the  Multnomah Channel. She and Becky found immeasurable peace there, spending  weekends year round watching the beauty of the changing seasons. Kathleen also  loved boats of all kinds, and, after beating cancer back the first time, became captain  of the red, shiny, powerful, motor boat of her dreams, which she enjoyed, with Becky  as her First Mate, for several seasons on the Willamette and Columbia rivers. While  staring out over the water from the deck of the river house or at the helm of that boat  with Becky at her side, Kathleen would often say out loud, “How lucky am I? I mean,  who gets this??”


Kathleen loved the entirety of a life made rich by experiences, adventures, and the love  of family and friends. She will be deeply missed, but also remembered and celebrated  by those who loved her for, (as she and Becky said in their marriage vows), “all  enduring time.”


If you would like to make a donation in Kathleen’s memory a meaningful choice would  be:
End of Life Choices Oregon www.eolcoregon.org.

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