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FMI Mourns Passing of VP Cathy Polley

Funeral services for Cathy Polley, Food Marketing Institute's (FMI) VP health and wellness and executive director for the FMI Foundation will be held on Monday, Nov. 9 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church in Fairfax, Va.

Polley, 56, who died earlier this week after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010, was nationally known as a passionate leader and advocate of health and wellness. More importantly, Polley was a courageous and loving wife, mother, sister, and friend to those whose lives she touched on a daily basis.

Born on Aug. 22, 1959, in Wyandotte, Mich., Polley had ambitious dreams from a young age to make a difference. After graduating from the University of Michigan, she married her spouse of 30 years, William (Bill) Polley, in 1982, and raised two children, Kara and Owen.

With an abiding appreciation of family traditions and a tenacious eye for detail to make holidays, birthdays, vacations, and family events special, Polley enjoyed cooking and brought a huge touch of elegance and creativity to family gatherings. Polley and her family were also fervent Michigan sports fans and often drove long distances to see their favorite teams compete.

Professionally, Polley is known for her many initiatives on improving health and wellness. She was appointed by former Michigan Gov. John Engler to serve on the Michigan Board of Pharmacy, and held many key positions in the field of health and wellness, including director of pharmacy for K‐Mart Corp., VP of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), and chief policy officer and SVP for the American Pharmacists Association.

In her most recent role as FMI's VP of health and wellness and executive director of the FMI Foundation, Polley was also tapped to serve on First Lady Michelle Obama’s "Let’s Move" initiative.

Throughout her career, she was a strong advocate for improving the quality of food in supermarkets and schools, and the availability of health care in America. She received many industry awards and was renowned for being a champion of turning challenges into opportunities. In particular, Polley focused extensive attention on helping others battling ovarian cancer after her diagnosis in 2010, including in her role as a board member for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. Additionally, she had been heavily involved in spreading awareness and accelerating fundraising to improve research and treatment for ovarian cancer patients.

An active member of St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church in Fairfax, Va., Polley is survived by her husband, William; children, Kara and Owen; and sister, Janet (Lloyd) Hansen. She was preceded in her death by her parents, Casimir and Mary Jelinski.

Prior to the funeral services, there will be a visitation with the family from 9:30‐10:45 a.m. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to

Condolence notes may be sent to Bill Polley and Family in care of FMI, 2345 Crystal Dr., Suite 800, Arlington, VA 22202.


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