- February 28, 1921 - December 15, 2012
- Portland, Oregon
of Marie's Passing
- In lieu of flowers, the famill suggests memorial contributions may be made to:
Kings Daughters Day School
502 West Front Stret
Plainfield, NJ 07060
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR 97205
Share This Obituary
Message from the Family
Thank you for your love and support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Marie by taking a moment to add a comment or memory.
Arrangements made by
Finley-Sunset Hills Mortuary and Sunset Hills Memorial Park
6801 Southwest Sunset Highway
Portland, OR 97225
Profile of Finley-Sunset Hills Mortuary and Sunset Hills Memorial Park
View Phone Number
View Fax Number
Receive Obituary Notifications by Email
Memories & CandlesPrevious
“For several years I worked in the building on Park Ave, where Marie lived, and I was frequently invited into her home for a glass of wine. Marie was...Read More »
1 of 5 | Posted by: Sierra - Portland, OR
“I have many fond memories of Thanksgivings spent at Marie and Jim's house in NJ when I was a child. The beautiful furniture, the yummy food, and...Read More »
2 of 5 | Posted by: Emma Angevine Narvaez - Whittier, CA
“I will miss Marie's warm friendship, enthusiasm for Asian art, and lively spirit. She taught me that you can make new friends at any age, keep...Read More »
3 of 5 | Posted by: Edie Millar - Shanghai, China, OR
“I'm so sorry to hear about your Mom. I was the secretary at Holy Cross in North Plainfield for many years and I enjoyed spending time with her. I...Read More »
4 of 5 | Posted by: Dori N. Ellis - North Plainfield, NJ
“Your mother was a real special lady. We enjoyed many good times together - playing bridge, Holy Cross activities, concerts, etc. I am going to miss...Read More »
5 of 5 | Posted by: Jane Ross - Martinsville, NJ
Marie Antoinette Michael Kirkpatrick, 91, of Portland, Oregon passed away peacefully Saturday, December 15, 2012. A lively, creative, dynamic, and independent spirit, she was living in her own apartment on Park Avenue in downtown Portland until last May. Marie was the wife of the late James Kirkpatrick of North Plainfield, New Jersey for 45 treasured years. She leaves two loving daughters Kathleen and Megan, son-in-law Stephen Thompson (Megan's husband) and two cherished grandchildren, Kathleen's son, Matthew (Swain), and Megan and Steve's daughter, Alexandra.
Marie was born in Easton, Pennsylvania on February 28, 1921. She was the only child of Catherine and Francis Michael. Her mother died suddenly when she was only 11, an experience that had a profound impact on the rest of her life. Because her father traveled for business, Marie boarded with several families during her early teenage years and remained in touch with members of those lively families the rest of her life. At about 16, she started attending Lankenau School for Girls, a boarding school in Philadelphia and always had interesting stories to tell about the strict Lutheran nuns who ran it.
After graduating from Lankenau, she moved to New York City and lived at Millbank House, a residence for young women started by the Ladies Christian Temperance Union located in a beautiful brownstone on 10th Street in Greenwich Village. Her first job was hosting an exhibition at the 1939 New York World's Fair. The rest of her time in New York she worked as a model for several Seventh Avenue clothing houses and posed for Vogue illustrator Rene Bouche' and portrait artist William Steene.
One very fortuitous day she met Jim through mutual friends at Peter's Backyard, a pub in the village. She and Jim were married at the Church of the Ascension on 5th Avenue October 9, 1944. Around 1949, Jim accepted a job as President of Central Federal Savings and Loan in Plainfield, New Jersey and they moved from Greenwich Village to the suburbs. In 1950, they bought their lovely home on Maple Terrace in North Plainfield where Marie lived until she moved to Portland in 1997. Although she spent most of her time as a homemaker and mother while Kathleen and Megan were growing up, she continued to keep her hand in the fashion world by coordinating and commentating numerous fashion shows for Tepper's and Goerke's department stores in Plainfield and for other organizations. Later she worked part-time in clothing stores and was always proud that she earned money on her own, something very unusual for the time.
Marie always had a generous spirit and was an active volunteer in many charities. She and JIm were both active members of the Church of the Holy Cross in North Plainfield and together coordinated the annual Holy Cross Antique Show for several years. Marie served on the Board of the King's Daughters Day School in Plainfield, a pre-school for low income children that was very dear to her heart. She was also an active supporter of the Plainfield Symphony. One evening while watching Charlie Rose interview United States Poet Laureate Rita Dove she conceived the idea of having Plainfield Symphony Conductor Sabin Pautza compose an orchestral piece set to Ms. Dove's poems and having Ms. Dove recite them when the piece was premiered in concert. After garnering Sabin's enthusiastic support, she contacted Rita Dove to propose the plan and the project was set in motion. Maestro Pautza's composition, "The Rita Dove Triptych" was premiered by the Plainfield Symphony in November 1994 with Ms. Dove in attendance reciting her poetry just as Marie had conceived. Marie also coordinated publicity for the symphony for several years and handled publicity and marketing for Questover, a beautiful Victorian in the historic section of Plainfield that was transformed into a decorator showcase house to raise funds for the symphony. During that project she developed a close friendship with the two men who owned Questover and they generously allowed her to host Megan's wedding reception there in 1989..
Marie's talents were also recognized when the family vacationed at Shawnee-on-the-Delaware in Pennsylvania. For years they were members of Shawnee Inn and Country Club owned by former big-band leader, Fred Waring,(and the company that made the original Waring Blender). Shawnee was a unique place that was frequented by musicians, artists and celebrities including Jackie Gleason, Hoagie Carmichael and Arnold Palmer. Marie and the girls usually spent the summer at Shawnee and Jim, an avid golfer, joined them on weekends and during his August vacation. The annual week-long Fred Waring Fourball Golf Tournament was a highlight of the summer with people coming from all over to participate. When Fred got to know Marie and learned about her background, he asked her to lend her decorating talents to many of the themed cocktail and dinner parties that were held in conjunction with the tournament. He always told her not to worry about the cost so she could let her creative ideas fly.
In 1997, eight years after Jim's passing, Marie sold her cherished home of 45 years on Maple Terrace and moved west to Portland to be closer to Megan and Kathleen. She rented a great apartment on Park Avenue four blocks from the Portland Art Museum and was frequently kidded by the family about finally making it to Park Avenue! Although she often commented how hard it was to start over in a new city at her age (she was 75 at the time) she quickly started making connections. Before long she was a dedicated volunteer at the museum and began to make new friends. She also joined the Asian Art Society and Oregon Symphony Auxiliary. Once again she originated an unusual fundraising project - this time for the Symphony Auxillary. She contacted Marta Sgubin author of "Cooking for Madam" and asked her to come to Portland to talk about her experiences living with Jacqueline Kennedy and her children. Originally hired by Mrs. Kennedy to be John and Caroline's nanny when she was married to Aristotlecontinued...