Kay Lorraine Porter, of Bellingham, passed away on January 10th, 2024, after a short illness. Born on December 3rd, 1941, in Seattle, Washington, Kay will be remembered as a remarkable woman who dedicated her life to making the world a better place.
She was the Queen; she had strong opinions and voiced them without hesitation. Kay was a feminist before it was cool, advocating for equality with quiet strength. Her support for social justice causes never wavered, and she championed recycling before green was the new black. She knit the fabric of her community together, one prayer shawl at a time, and her garden was a testament to her belief in nurturing growth in all its forms. Kay had a zest for life and a warm and welcoming nature. She loved to introduce herself as "I'm Kay, that's Yak spelled backwards." She loved pie more than cake and even bid $150 for a Coconut Cream pie at the annual church youth group auction. Kay enjoyed reading, water skiing at Lake Roesiger, and snow skiing at Stevens Pass. She had a love of the beach, collecting rocks and shells as mementos.
Kay was a passionate advocate for equality, safety, and justice. She actively participated in numerous social justice activities and groups at First Congregational Church Bellingham. Kay's commitment to women's issues and justice was evident through her involvement with organizations such as Womencare Shelter and Reach for Recovery Breast Cancer. She was also a supporter of Planned Parenthood and Northwest Youth Services, where she offered her unwavering support to the LGBTQ+ community youth and in the 1980’s dedicated her time and resources to support a Cambodian refugee family.
Family was of utmost importance to Kay. She provided primary support for her mother during her struggle with dementia for over seven years. She was passionate about family genealogy and spent countless hours researching and connecting with living relatives. Kay organized Weatherston and Covington family picnics. Kay took trips with her loved ones to Scotland, Germany, and various locations in the United States, combining her love for travel with meeting newly discovered relatives. She also enjoyed studying life from ancient times and visiting museums and historical sites both in Europe and the U.S.
Kay had a strong connection to her community and formed lifelong friendships through various groups and organizations. She remained close with the couples from her time at Woodland Park Methodist and the Koininia Group at St. James Presbyterian Church. She cherished the friendships she made in TOPS support group and an early morning walking group. Kay's nurturing nature extended to her involvement in the Pilgrim circle, knitting group, and Sunday Night group at First Congregational Church (FCCB).
Kay had a vibrant personality and a passion for music. During high school, she played the cello at Cornish School and was a member of the Seattle Youth Symphony. Kay also played the piano and her sister loved to hear her play Moonlight Sonata. She pursued her love for music by taking music classes at WWU with the aspiration of becoming a music educator. Her love for music extended to singing, she was a member of Sweet Adelines, she sang in the choir at each of the congregations she belonged to, and participated in Christmas programs and European trips with the Whatcom Chorale.
In addition to her musical talents, Kay had a strong emphasis on good food and enjoyed various culinary activities. She was known for her skills in home canning, freezing, baking bread, and making homemade granola. Kay was an active member of a Gourmet Food Group and organized group cooking for the Girl Scouts. She provided food supplies for Youth Mission Trips at St. James and served on the Hospitality Committee at FCCB.
Kay had a green thumb and found solace in gardening. She was one of the first Master Gardeners in Whatcom County and enjoyed sharing her love for plants and flowers with others. Kay's gardens were admired by many, and she took pleasure in giving away plants and flowers. She chaired the Landscape Committee for the Church expansion and also created stunning dahlia arrangements for shows, friends and community.
Kay's career spanned various roles, including operating a check-processing machine at the Federal Reserve Bank, where she met her husband. She also worked as a registration clerk at WWU and held bookkeeping positions at various medical offices, commercial businesses, and the Womencare domestic violence shelter.
Kay is survived by her loving husband, Dick Porter, her daughters Lori Ramsey and Beverly Porter (Leland Anderson), and her grandchildren Katie (Nate Baker), Katrina, and Moss. She is also survived by her sister, Barbara Wallace. Kay was preceded in death by her mother, Lorraine, and her father, Bill. Kay's legacy will live on through her dedication to social justice, her love for music and gardening, and her unwavering support for her community. She will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her.
A celebration of Kay's life will be held at 1:00 PM on February 10th, 2024, at First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Avenue, Bellingham. Sig's Funeral and Cremation Services in Bellingham, WA, is assisting the family with the arrangements.
Zoom will be available for those unable to attend in person. Contact FCCB or family member for link.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations to be made to First Congregational Church of Bellingham or other organizations Kay supported, including DVSAS Bellingham, Northwest Youth Services, and Planned Parenthood.