Sheila Kennedy White Abish

January 25, 1933March 22, 2018

Sheila White Abish

Sheila Kennedy White Abish, elegant hostess, avid follower of current events and outgoing friend to many, died peacefully in her sleep March 22. A native Portlander, she was 85 and had lived in New York City for 50 years.

Sheila Kennedy White was born in 1933 to Percy White and Agnes Kennedy White. She attended Kennedy School, named for her maternal grandfather, and graduated from Holy Child Academy. She worked as a flight attendant, specializing in transatlantic travel, and spoke French fluently to the end of her life.

In 1974, she married the love of her life, Sheldon Abish. They lived in Manhattan, where Sheila was an expert seamstress, gourmet cook and early volunteer in assisting people with AIDS. Sheila and Shelly returned to Portland many times, including in 1998 to celebrate the grand reopening of Kennedy School as a bed and breakfast and neighborhood gathering place. Shelly died in 2002.

Sheila moved back to Portland the next year, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. She enjoyed films, art exhibits, lectures, book readings, news broadcasts and documentaries. She was a member of The Madeleine, one of many Catholic parishes where she worshipped faithfully during her life.

Sheila moved to Mary’s Woods in Lake Oswego in 2016 and lived independently there to her last day. She is survived by her brothers, John White of Milwaukie and Bernie (Linda) White of Ames, Iowa; niece Betsy White Hammond of Portland; nephews Greg (Kerry) of Boulder, Colorado, and Brian of Roland, Iowa; and grand-nephews Joseph Hammond, William Hammond and Jackson White.

A funeral mass to celebrate Sheila’s life will take place at Mary’s Woods Chapel at 11 a.m. April 5. Burial will be in Mount Calvary Cemetery in Portland.


  • Funeral Service Thursday, April 5, 2018
  • Committal Service Friday, April 6, 2018

Sheila Kennedy White Abish

have a memory or condolence to add?