In Memory of
Kathleen Greaney Bebe
January 14, 1943–July 15, 2020
Kathleen Greaney Bebe, known as Kathy, passed peacefully in her home on July 15th with her two sons by her side. She was a remarkable woman who led a dynamic life, and finally succumbed to cancer after a three-year-long battle. Born January 14, 1943 in Buffalo, NY her parents, Bill and Vera, had their hands full working to channel her incredible energy and enthusiasm. Kathy, as a youngster, was silly and quite the prankster with her sister Carol; they once coated rocks in chocolate and gave them to unsuspecting neighbors as a tasty homemade treat! After moving to California, Kathy’s passion for giving back and helping others took shape in a dedication to religious life at 17. Her devotion to The Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary order led her to serve as an educator. In 1971 she made the decision to leave the order and married Joseph Bebe in San Francisco where they had two sons, Jonathan and David.
The family moved to Salem, OR in 1979 where Kathy furthered her passion as an educator in the Salem-Keizer community. She quickly became a leader in the school system cultivating and developing innovative programs with a focus on equality and children first and that forward-thinking garnered great respect from her staff, students and their families. The district benefited from her role in programs which include the Hands are not for Hurting and Dental Health Solutions for Children non-profits.
Kathy was highly respected and loved as a principal at Englewood and Richmond Elementary. Where she initiated many successful programs and practices that to this day continue to support healthy school cultures. As a district administrator, Kathy mentored principals and staff, with a focus on empowering students to succeed and thrive.
Kathy was very proud of her Irish roots and this culminated in an adventure with her sons to the green Isle for her 70th. Kathy appreciated and financially supported the opera, classical music, literature and painting. Gardening was a true calling to Kathy and she took pride in her beautiful serene gardens and they brought her joy on a daily basis.
Kathy never stopped laughing, loving and extending generosity to everyone and anyone that would cross her path. Whether she knew it or not, she created a multi-generational, ongoing, living network of care, love and joy on a daily basis.
Although she lost her parents and sister, Carol Mutz, there are many storytellers left to pass on her beautiful legacy. These include her sister, Letty Stopper, her sons Jonathan (Mandy) and David (Jamecyn), three grandsons (Augie, Quinn and Declan) and family, Joe and Joyce Bebe all of whom could tell stories about Kathy Bebe for days on end. Her beloved goldendoodle, Riley, may not be able to tell you a story, but he will surely wag his tail and smile at the mention of Kathy’s name.
In this time of pandemic, Kathy’s request is that small groups gather as they feel comfortable to enjoy each other’s company and share memories of her life. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Kathy’s name to Stand for Children, Sisters of Charity, OSPIRG, Human Rights Campaign, or Oregon Public Broadcasting.