Pat came to Fort Myers August of 1979 and made an immediate impact on our community. The Burdines Department Store had appointed her not only the youngest, but also the first female store manager. She was tasked with getting the store up and running by early September.
For the store opening, she was “requested” to make it a big bang event. She and the event coordinator from the store made the mistake of running into Barbara Mann. There was no stopping the three of them. The opening was a great success.
From that introduction to Barbara, Pat became involved with the Lee County Alliance of the Arts and served two terms as its president. Later, she expanded her interests and with three other ladies started the Lee County Women’s Forum and the Fort Myers Women’s Network. As a member of the Fort Myers Pilot Club, she has served as a board member and president—twice. She has been president of the Town and Gown Organization, served on the board of Impact Early Childhood Development, Inc., and, since that wasn’t enough, she was a member of the United Way board for several years.
Meanwhile, back at the store, she was a member of the management board; named vice president (one of three store managers in the corporation). After a fifteen-year career at Burdines, she was ready for something different. That almost resulted in a move to Chicago. With the Chamber of Commerce propaganda package in hand, we found a fatal mistake—they included a chart listing the average temperature per month. Pat said she could only go outside three months a year! The store was Saks 5thAvenue on Michigan Avenue, the largest branch store outside of New York.
Pat’s father, a State Farm agent for decades, as it turns out, had planted a seed that took a while to germinate. She became an agent who had a twenty-four-year lifespan with many awards and wonderful trips.
Pat is fully retired (Halleluiah) and is now serving as a trustee of the Peach River Presbyterian Church of Fort Myers.
Somehow, she found the time to allow me to chase her until she caught me. Then she had the nerve to make me wait for three days for the “yes” answer, thirty-one years ago.
Pat is a blessing to me, and I am proud to honor her as WLF Angel.