Katie Rani Nolan was someone who approached life with gusto, friends said at a memorial service in Lower Southampton on Wednesday night for the missing Oregon woman presumed dead on 11,200-foot-high Mount Hood in Oregon.
Although the 29-year-old adventurer and traveler was born in the Northwest and lived in Oregon before going missing earlier this month, friends gathered at The Well Church for an East Coast memorial service. This is where Nolan, who worked for Catholic Charities in Portland, Ore., worshiped when she attended Philadelphia Biblical University in Langhorne Manor years prior.
Hundreds had gathered for a service in Portland on Dec. 22.
Nolan is presumed dead after she and two other climbers were reported missing Dec. 11 and search-and-rescue operations were suspended five days later. The body of one of the climbers was found Dec. 12, including some of his equipment and a camera, but Nolan and fellow climber Anthony Vietta are still missing.
On tables and on a projector screen inside the dimly lit church Wednesday night were countless photographs of Nolan’s life and world travels. She was dressed in everything from formal dresses to ski gear. She stood on palm tree-lined roads and posed at the foot of the Great Sphinx of Giza. She smiled in photos as a young girl in front of her house and as a 29-year-old woman on Mount Hood in a photo dated Dec. 11, the same day she went missing.
“Everything about her was big and beautiful and epic,” Amy Baker, Nolan’s roommate in college, said. “She took life on.”
Nolan met many of those in attendance during a one-year program at PBU’s Wisconsin Wilderness Campus. Nolan then decided to move to Bucks County to attend the university, family members said. Following graduation from PBU in 2002, she taught single moms at an alternative school in Philadelphia, Baker said. In 2003, she went on a mission to Nepal and moved from Philadelphia to Portland the next year.
In Portland, she worked for Catholic Charities, helping more than 60 homeless women find homes, and volunteered with Transitions Global to fight sex trafficking.
“She experienced the height and depth of life like no one else,” Kate Livingstone, a Bensalem resident who met Nolan in college, said.
Nolan was lauded as passionate and adventurous, a great letter writer and a champion of the marginalized.
Danny Adler can be reached at 215-949-4205 or dadler@phillyBurbs.com.
December 31, 2009 02:23 AM