Patricia Ann Welsh was born on November 1, 1936, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Edward and Nan Maguire. She fondly remembered playing in her Germantown neighborhood streets and parks, walking to school, and spending summer holidays enjoying the family beach house in Cape Cod, N.J.
At 13, she met Jimmy Welsh. The two fell in love and dreamed of making a life on their own in the west, far from the city where they were raised. They had a fairytale wedding the year Patricia turned 19. They drove away from their wedding reception in a truck and trailer as they headed off to begin their new life in California. Their song, ‘Let the Rest of the World go By’, includes the lyrics: We’ll build a little nest, somewhere out in the west, and let the rest of the world go by. That is exactly what they did. On June 30, 2021, they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Our family grew up on their stories of adventures and mishaps and learned the value of undying love and loyalty from their example.
Jim and Pat have four children, thirteen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Pat’s legacy lives on in the thinking, practices and hobbies of them all: baking, gardening, games, knitting, crafting, quilting, creating and traveling. She was a first class baker who provided treats with no limits and spoiled her family with homemade bread for decades. A dedicated knitter, crocheter and quilter, Mom gifted us many handmade works of art and heart. From afghans, purses, treasure bags, and quilts, to crocheted holiday ornaments, snowmen, and Christmas trees, her legacy will live on each time we wrap up in or decorate with her beautiful handicrafts.
Pat never left any doubt that her highest priority and greatest joy came from her family and the homes she and Jim created as they raised their four children in a manner so divergent from the city childhood they had both experienced. They raised their children with the natural world at their doorstep. They raised kids who knew how to hunt, chop wood, build fires, feed baby cows and goats, collect eggs, hike mountains, and appreciate the gifts of a life being raised by a mother who always loved deeply and unconditionally. These priorities have become our basic family values and are shared across the generations.
Many of our most treasured family traditions are centered around Mom. Every summer we looked forward to berry picking and enjoying her fresh blackberry pies. In fall our family and friends gathered to pick apples and press gallons of cider. Mom loved keeping a careful tally of the day’s work. Apples that fell off the trees prior to pressing day were lovingly prepared by Mom into applesauce, apple butter or one of Mom’s delicious pies. Every Christmas Eve, Mom played the piano while family and friends gathered to sing carols. She practiced for weeks, doubted her skill, and sometimes had to start again, but that event will live on in our memories as one of the most beloved days of the year.
Early in their marriage, Pat worked as a secretary. She was a speed typist and excelled at shorthand, frustrating her children by writing Christmas lists they could not read. She returned to secretarial work at the HSU Nursing department and Humboldt Home Health once her children were raised. She was a philanthropist and a volunteer, serving as a leader for her local PTA, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts, supporting her children’s sports teams, and serving as a Braille transcriber for many years, going on to become president of the local Braille association. She loved challenges and stayed on top of advances in tech, making a seamless transition from using manual Braille typewriters to a completely computerized system. Her greatest joy was brailling books for children.
Pat suffered a massive heart attack in 2016 that left her winded when doing large tasks, but did not slow down her knitting projects or Sudoku challenges. The downtime allowed her to master her iphone and opened new lines of communication with her far-flung grandchildren. Every text from ‘Mamu’ ended with several emojis… always including a heart, a musical note and often an ‘LOL’.
Last summer saw a return of Mom’s heart issues. In late November, she experienced two additional major heart attacks and had to be resuscitated both times. We thought, and the medical professionals believed, that our time together had come to an end. Miraculously, she recovered and returned home to enjoy six weeks of feeling better than she had in years. During this time she created one last bright pink afghan to welcome her newest great grandchild and practiced daily for the annual Christmas Eve caroling piano accompaniment. Most of our large and widespread family was able to visit with her during this period and lots of laughs and tears were shared as we knew we were living and loving on borrowed time.
On February 28th, Mom’s heart gave out. A hundred years would not have been enough, but we know her body was tired and she was ready to say goodbye. Nothing truly lessens the pain of losing her. We are forever grateful and in awe of our dad who, through sheer force of will and a lifetime of love, put everything else on hold to lovingly care for her at home. Throughout her life home has always been where she preferred to be and it is fitting and comforting that she was able to spend her last days in the place she loved best.
Pat is survived by the love of her life: her loving husband of 65 years, James Welsh. She leaves behind her four children and their spouses who Pat loved as if they were her own: Rosemarie and John Gloor (McKinleyville), Daniel and Amy Welsh (Citrus Heights), Chris and Deb Welsh (Knoxville, TN), and Phyllis and Tom Nolan (McKinleyville); her beloved grandchildren: Logan Gloor, Kelsey Iberti, Liza Welsh, Cathy Albert, Taylor LeBlanc, Rachel Voorhees, Jenny Welsh, Thomas Nolan, Emily Welsh, Corina Montgomery, Marisa Gloor, Ben Welsh, and Austin Nolan and her five great-grandchildren: Nick Cavallero, Wyatt Albert, Luca Iberti, Owen LeBlanc, and Jolene Albert. She is survived by her sister, JoAnn Reckner (Wisconsin), brother, John Maguire (Pennsylvania), and her sisters-in-law: Genevieve Bottoroff (Florida) and Margie Stiehl (New Jersey).
Our family would like to thank those who provided support for Mom and our family: Paulette Crowell, Denise Witte, Mad River Ambulance, Humboldt Hospice, St. Joseph’s Family Practice, Dr. Tin Botzler and the Providence Medical Group Cardiology team, and the incredible nursing staffs of Mad River and St. Joseph’s hospitals.
At her request, there will be no funeral services. A celebration of her life will be held this summer.