Sally Ann Covert

January 30, 1933July 5, 2018
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Sally Ann (Miller) Covert passed away after a long illness on Thursday, July 5, in Portland, Ore., at the age of 85. She was surrounded by loved ones and died peacefully, with characteristic courage and grace, and not one minute before she was ready. Sally was born on January 30, 1933, in Portland, Ore., to Harry and Irene Miller. Her childhood was spent in Portland as well as the countryside, where she could indulge her lifelong love of animals such as chickens, goats, and a long succession of cats and dogs. She and her older brother Ron shared a special bond and were particularly close to their mother, known to all as "Mimi." It was while attending Lincoln High School that she caught the eye of her classmate and future husband, James T. Covert, though they never spoke until after graduation in 1951. After meeting at a party in Lake Oswego, Jim was determined to get to know Sally Miller, even dialing every "Miller" in the phone book at 2 a.m. to try to reach her. It worked, she agreed to a date, and Jim and Sally began what would be 60 plus years of devotion, love, and best friendship. Both were devout Catholics, and their shared faith would see them through all of life's trails. They were married on August 16, 1952, at Portland's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Jim and Sally moved to Spokane, Wash., where Jim worked in a drug store supply warehouse upon his discharge from the Air Force. They moved back to Portland in 1955 when Jim decided to enroll in college and become a history professor; Sally took a job at CIT Commercial Loan and Investment Co., as a secretary. The University of Portland awarded Sally a PHT degree---"Put Hubby Through"---upon his graduation in 1959. They moved to Eugene for Jim's graduate school studies in summer 1959, where Sally worked as a secretary for the League of Oregon Cities. One of her duties was to help in planning and preparing remarks for Senator John F. Kennedy when he visited Portland for a speech that year. She was thrilled to be able to meet the future president and shake his hand. Sally quit her job upon the arrival of their first child, Marc, in 1960. The new parents moved to Portland in summer of 1961 when Jim was hired as an instructor by the University of Portland, and purchased the house at 6626 N. Curtis Ave. that became the Covert family home for the next 28 years. Their family grew steadily, with Marc, Michael, Jenni, Juliann, Elizabeth, and Christine becoming the focus of Jim and Sally's lives. Sally ran her household with resolve and incredible efficiency--she never wasted a thing, budgeted fiercely, and was ahead of her time when it came to home canning, recycling, growing her own produce, composting, picking local fruits and berries, sewing and quilting, and even making her own soap. All six Covert kids went to Catholic grade schools and high schools, and the family attended church at Queen of Peace Parish in North Portland. When Christine started grade school, Sally enrolled at UP as an education major. She graduated along with her son Michael in 1986 and went on to a rewarding career as a librarian/computer teacher at Holy Cross grade school. She retired to take care of Jim when he fell ill with Guillaim-Barre syndrome near the end of his career, and upon Jim's retirement, they spent many happy years together at their home in Claremont in Northwest Portland. Sally Covert was a wonderful mother and grandmother, and above all a devoted, loving partner to Jim, who never took her for granted or stopped marveling at the fact that she married him and provided the foundation for all that he held dear. Sally's final years were a great challenge to her, and her sons and daughters considered it a privilege to finally be allowed to care for her as she unfailingly cared for them, as both children and adults. We are heartbroken at her loss but overjoyed that she is now with Dad and Juliann and Danny and all her departed loved ones. Survived include sons Marc (Julia) and Michael (Kristin); daughters Jenni Keagbine (Gerry), Elizabeth Tobey (John), and Christine Naylor (John); grandchildren Jeffrey, Emily, Eric, Kelsey, Trevor, and Megan Keagbine; Thayne, Oliver, and Sally Covert; Arden and Corin Tobey; and Sam Naylor; beloved caregiver Stephanie Dillon; cousin, Sr. Joanne Miller; nieces, Pamela, Madeline, and Laura; and countless friends and admirers who experienced Sally's love and graciousness over the years. Her beloved Jim passed away in 2016; her daughter Juliann, grandson Danny Keagbine, and brother Ronald and sister-in-law Shirley Miller predeceased her. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the University of Portland Covert Family Scholarship Fund or Team Sally Covert with the Walk to End Alzheimer's (


  • Marc Covert
  • Michael Covert
  • Gerry Keagbine
  • John Tobey
  • John Naylor
  • Jeff Keagbine
  • Eric Keagbine
  • Trevor Keagbine
  • Sam Naylor
  • Corin Tobey


  • Rosary Service Monday, July 16, 2018
  • Funeral Mass Tuesday, July 17, 2018
  • Reception Tuesday, July 17, 2018
  • Graveside Service Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Sally Ann Covert

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Nancy Jordan

July 12, 2018

I had the privilege to work with Sally at Holy Cross. She was a true professional who shared a great no nonsense approach with her students and coworkers. I had the great opportunity to spend my last 9 years as teacher librarian at Holy Cross (my first 17 years at Holy Cross I was 5th grade teacher). I thought of her often in my time spent in the Holy Cross library/classroom. Thanks for the beautiful tribute to a very special lady/teacher. God bless her and her family 🙏