Kathleen was born in Mason City, Iowa, the only child of Pearl and Francis McDonald. She graduated from St. Catherine University in 1945 and married Frank Jewell. In 1960 the family moved to San Diego. The couple had seven children and Frank preceded her in death in 1972.
Kathleen worked as a preschool teacher at Sullivan Preschool and San Carlos Methodist Preschool and was Co-Director of the Play Center at UCSD Medical Center from which she retired in 1985 and married Frank Purcell. He preceded her in death in 1997.
Her son, John Jewell preceded her in death in 2009. She is survived by three sons, David, Patrick and Timothy Jewell; three daughters, Judith Dunham, Kathleen Lazernik, Elizabeth Penland; two son-in-laws, Randy Dunham and Judd Penland; two daughter-in-laws, Jutta Jewell and Carol Jewell; eleven grandchildren, eight great grandchildren and three great, great grandchildren.