Louise McKinney: soul and conscience of Seattle
They go in threes, says the old adage about death. Counting the deaths of legendary editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen Gurley Brown, KOMO TV anchor Kathi Goertzen, I was waiting with quiet dread for the final name to be called. It came last evening when word came that Louise McKinney, doyenne of Seattle, had died at age 82.
A Seattle Times obituary described McKinney as a philanthropist, patron of the arts and longtime Seattle Public Schools educator who believed that all children were capable of learning, regardless of their ethnicity or family income. That last one really underscores McKinney's lasting contributions to this city and its schools. She was relentless when it came to advocating for kids of color and helping them succeed in school, including supporting the former African American Academy. She also led the charge on the importance of standard English
McKinney was that rare individual who moved in so many circles and impacted people deeply in all of them. My surprise at her death is partly because it seemed only months ago that we chatted together in a corner during a Fifth Avenue Theatre gala. She read the paper every day and chatted with me about stories told and those yet to be told.
She was raising money for various nonprofits and corraling communities around great ideas until the end. They go in threes but each time it is too soon. Seattle will miss McKinney's enthusiasm and willingness to step up and lead the way.
Did you know Louise McKinney? What memories will you carry from her life?
(Photo provided by the McKinney family)
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
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