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BATTLE GROUND, Washington — On March 2, 2019, Kathleen passed peacefully at 2 p.m. in the arms of her soul mate, husband Scott Orlich. Kathleen and Scott packed a lifetime’s worth of memories into 26 short years together.

Kathleen was born in Billings on April 24, 1964. Kathleen was the youngest child and was preceded in death by parents T. Patrick Cox and Nanette Cox (Nafziger), brother Thomas Cox, Lefty and Thelma Orlich and sister-in-law Louise. Kathleen is survived by much-loved sister, Kelli Eddy (Paul); Michael Cox (Donna Caneen), Joseph Cox (Valerie Preston), Don Orlich, and Jim Orlich (Leanne).

Both Kathleen and Scott were raised in Montana and they met each other in Wenatchee, Washington, at John Krstulich’s wedding. After their Montana wedding in 1996, they resided in Battle Ground, Washington, where she became a respected and valued surgical assistant in a large ophthalmology clinic despite her tendency to faint at the sight of blood. 

Devoted to her family, Kathleen organized her mother’s care in retirement, visiting her daily for more than eight years. She always sent the perfect birthday and Christmas presents to her far-flung nieces and nephews, attended every Orlich, Nafziger, and Cox family gathering, even organizing a Nafziger reunion, and was in touch with her sister almost every day. When Kathleen and Scott planned their wedding, she chose Butte, so all of their family could celebrate with them. Kathleen was equally loyal to friends and colleagues. She went out of her way to help them often with the same fierce determination that had helped her survive aggressive cancer.

A proponent of fun, Kathleen was mischievous, delighting in practical jokes, Halloween surprises, and prank calls to her nearest and most beloved family members; hot tub celebrations, especially for her mother and aunts; and glasses of good wine. She loved to travel, learning to navigate Portland Airport, frequently en route to Hawaii, Arizona, California, Mexico and Ireland where she and Scott perfected relaxing by the pool or toes in the sand. As a passionate Seattle Seahawks fan, Kathleen reveled in getting a “classy” face sticker and rocking team gear despite being the best-dressed member of the family. Perfectly groomed at all times, Kathleen saw no reason to be separated from her blow-dryer, even at concerts in the Gorge. With a painter’s eye and equivalent knowledge of color, she created beautiful and welcoming homes wherever she lived.

Kathleen was happiest at home, planning the next potential home improvement, entertaining friends and family, searching out the next great recipe, heading to the next concert or watching sports with Scott while he cooked a gourmet meal. Small but mighty, Kathleen will be greatly missed by all who knew her, especially her husband, Scott, her sister and brothers; Kelli, Michael, and Joseph, and her nieces and nephews; Rachael and Jack Eddy, Simon and Elizabeth Cox, Erin Caneen-Cox, Ethan and Jenny Supler, Sarah Weldon (Ted), Adriane Hodder (Kevin) and her cousins, “Amigos” Carla, Paula, and Donna Desrosiers, in addition to their far reaching network of friends including those from the Moriarty Irish Open and her workmates from PCLI.

A celebration of Kathleen’s life for family and friends will be held mid-June in Missoula. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to your local Senior Centers or Meals on Wheels.

We will always carry your spirit, will and determination in our hearts and minds.

the life of: Kathleen Orlich
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