Obituaries » Mona Kathleen McPhee

Mona Kathleen McPhee

April 3, 1975 - May 4, 2020

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Mona was born in Olympia on April 3, 1975 to Thomas and Margaret McPhee. She attended Lincoln Elementary K-3, Annie Wright School 4-8, then Olympia High School where she was an honor student, varsity swimmer and made life-long friends. While at OHS, she and her family hosted exchange students, Pascaline Headrich from Paris and Simone Trottmann from Zurich. Mona was able to spend time in both cities (developing a beautiful Parisian accent) as well as being a Rotary Exchange student in the North of France.

Mona attended Bryn Mawr College outside Philadelphia. As part of her studies, she attended the Institute d’etudes d’Avignon one summer and University of Edinburgh for a semester. She was a French and Political Science major and taught French at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges her senior year. She was also co-captain of the Bryn Mawr swim team. She graduated in 1997.

Returning to the Pacific Northwest, Mona graduated from the University of Oregon Law School. While there, she was chair of the Moot Court Board and president of the International Law Students Association. Mona worked for Senator Patty Murray in the summer before her last year of law school. There she met Attorney General Christine Gregoire who recruited her to work at the AG’s office after law school graduation. She then became a Senior Clerk for Chief Justice Gerry Alexander at the Supreme Court.

Next, Mona went to Riddell Williams in Seattle. Her love of travel and fluency in French, as well as the ability to get along in Italian and Spanish, led her in the direction of national and international corporate and business law, as well as adventure travel. She was a senior partner at the Desh Law Group before being recruited to Miller Nash Graham & Dunn. In 2018-2019, Mona earned the designation of Super Lawyer, given to top rated practicing attorneys after extensive evaluation.

Mona was a board member at New Beginnings, Seattle’s center for abused and battered women. She did pro bono research work for Landesa and was active in Bellevue Rotary. She was a member of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, where she lectured on legal issues related to adventure travel. Her travel with ATTA took her to adventurous venues such as the Namibian desert,  Swiss Alps, Canadian Rockies, and Alaska for annual meetings. Mona started to ski at five, switched to snowboarding in high school, and later back to skiing. She started to swim competitively at six. She, her husband, and son skied, biked and golfed together. Mona planned every step of her life…where she would go to school, what she would study, where she would work and go for holidays. She and her husband, Ty Brender, were married at Napili Kai on Maui in 2005. They returned several times to celebrate anniversaries. Mona was an avid reader and always had a stack of books nearby.

Cancer was never part of Mona’s plans, and she tried to fight it with as little disruption as possible. In the end, cancer had a different plan. Mona died on May 4th, 2020. She leaves behind many family and friends who grieve for her, particularly her husband, Ty Brender, their son, Sean, her brother, Kevin (Angela) McPhee of Roslyn, and her parents, Judge Thomas McPhee and Margaret, Olympia, as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins.

A memorial service is planned for a later date. Remembrances may be made in her behalf to New Beginnings ( or Bellevue Rotary (, two organizations that helped fulfill her concern for human rights.