Katherine Elizabeth Magraw, a kind and loving soul and lifelong advocate for nuclear disarmament, international peace and solidarity, and women's rights, died on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Katherine passed away at her home outside of Charlottesville following a long battle with cancer. She was 60. A native of Newton, Mass., Katherine was the fourth child of Dolores Hoffman Magraw and Dr. Charles Magraw of Minnesota. Katherine attended the local public schools in Newton and pursued competitive gymnastics. From 1976 to 1980, she attended Yale University, majoring in history. Katherine began her career in arms control and international security in Washington, D.C. in 1980 at the Council for a Livable World, a citizens' organization seeking to foster Congressional support for nuclear arms control agreements. There she co-founded and directed PeacePAC, a political action committee for progressive candidates to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1984, she became Assistant National Director of "Freeze Voter '84," the electoral arm of the Nuclear Weapons Freeze movement demanding a halt to the nuclear arms race with the USSR. A year later, she began graduate work in defense policy studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving her M.Sc in 1987 and her PhD in Political Science in 1991. In May 1988, she married Christopher Paine, a former journalist and nuclear arms control analyst then on the staff of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Following her PhD, Katherine worked on the staff of Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota through a congressional fellowship, and additionally as an adjunct professor at American University's School for International Studies. Katherine gave birth to her first child, Emma Dolores Magraw Paine, on November 2, 1992. From 1994 to 1998, Katherine worked as a Foreign Policy Specialist in the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), where she helped develop and advocate for U.S. government positions supporting a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Katherine was promoted to Special Assistant to the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, and received ACDA's Superior Honor Award for effective leadership and her contributions to U.S. arms control policy. On July 29, 1995, she gave birth to her second child, Grace Eliot Magraw Paine. In 1999, Katherine and the family moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, where she worked for the W. Alton Jones Foundation as a Senior Program Officer, administering a large grant program to promote international security. After the Foundation dissolved, she served for a year as Co-Director of the Iraq Policy Information Project, and then as an independent consultant to foundations, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations, as well as serving on the Board of Planned Parenthood of the Blue Ridge. In 2006, she became Executive Director of the Peace and Security Funders Group, a network of foundations and funders seeking to advance international peace. She held the position until Spring 2013. During her six-year battle with metastatic colon cancer, Katherine remained an active and passionate participant in local and national progressive causes. Katherine served as a member of the Board of Directors for both the Center for International Policy and the Council for a Livable World in Washington, D.C., as well as a board member and dedicated volunteer for the Blue Ridge Abortion Fund in Charlottesville, on which she continued to serve until her death. Katherine was loved and admired for her integrity, brilliance, generosity, humor, honesty, and huge capacity for love and joy. She was majestic in her spirit, and kindly and persistently urged those around her to care for one another and to welcome the world. Her love remains in all the places and people she honored with her thoughtful delight and determination. Katherine lit up every room she entered. She especially enjoyed a good dog walk by the river and long conversations with her family and vibrant circle of friends. Katherine is survived by her husband, Christopher Eliot Paine; her daughters, Emma and Grace; and her four siblings, Chuck Magraw of Helena, Mont., Sukie Magraw of Oakland, Calif., Margie Magraw, of Newton, Mass., and Millie Magraw, of Larchmont, N.Y. A memorial gathering for Katherine will take place Saturday, June 1, 2019, 2 p.m. in Charlottesville at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, 717 Rugby Road. A memorial fellowship honoring Katherine's lifetime of service to the cause of peace is being established in Washington, D.C. Information on contributing to the "Katherine Magraw Peace and Demilitarization Fellowship" will be available at the service.
Obituary Search Tips
Enter a full name, a last name (confirm the spelling) and/or keywords in the search box.
If your search is unsuccessful, try removing the first name. The person's known name may not be the name on record.
Try adding quotation marks to a keyword phrase for an exact match, or simply search by date or date-range for broader results.
Buy Local is a directory of businesses in our area who are offering gift cards for sale. If you do not currently have a gift card program, but would like to offer one right now or on an on-goi…
Sign A Guestbook
Offer a personal message of sympathy...
You'll find individual Guest Books on the page with each obituary notice. By sharing a fond memory or writing a kind tribute, you will be providing a comforting keepsake to those in mourning. . From a Guest Book, you may log in with your Google, Facebook, Yahoo or AOL account to leave a message. If you have an existing account with this site, you may log in with that. Otherwise, it's simple to create a new one by clicking on the Create "Sign up" button and following the simple steps on the Sign Up page.