- 84 years old
- Date of birth: Dec 18, 1929
- Place of birth:
South Bend, Indiana, United States
- Date of passing: Feb 17, 2014
- Place of passing:
Seattle, Washington, United States
|She loved her little cabin in the woods of Long Island.|
February 17, 2016
It is hard to believe that two years have gone by since mom passed away. I still think of her every day. Usually something reminds me of a conversation that we had or I think to myself – I should give her a call and then I remember. I know this is a common experience for people who have had a loved one pass.
This past year has been tough. My mother’s brother, Richard Orlikoff passed away in December. He was 92! Richard was my mom’s only sibling so that generation of Orlikoffs is gone. My dad, John Gagnon, also passed away this month (February 11) so it is the end of an era.
We had a Bat Mitzvah for Charlotte (now going by "Char") in October and I think mom would have been so impressed with her grand daughter. My mom always loved Char’s voice and Char did a beautiful job of chanting Torah during the service. Mom wasn’t religious, but as an adult she identified herself as Jewish. Although the Orlikoffs were Jewish, mom’s mother, Blanche, described herself as Catholic when my mom was growing up. My mom didn’t realize she was Jewish until someone referred to her using an ethnic slur when she was about nine years old. She went home and asked her mother what that word meant and found out she was Jewish. On the topic of being Jewish, I have a great story about the Orlikoffs coming to Michigan, that I got from Richard Orlikoff. We included it in Char’s Bat Mitzvah program and I have included it in the stories section.
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to mom's memorial site over the past two years. Please continue to contribute, or just come by and visit. Tonight when we have dinner we will raise our wine glasses and remember mom.
Andree and Chris
February 17, 2015
Hello everyone. Today is the first anniversary of mom’s passing. I know many of you have experienced this already in your own lives. The first year feels very big. It is a year of firsts. For the first time you have gone through all of the birthdays and holidays without your mom. (More often than not, I still get the nagging feeling that I need to call her.) At each of these events, we tell “mom” stories. As you all know, Mom lived her life her way. She was funny -- remember that dry sense of humor -- and of course was willing to say almost anything to make her point. It’s funny how I cherish telling the stories even when the actual moment was fraught with all of that family stuff. There was only one Pat Gagnon.
I am spending the week in Palm Springs. Mom visited only once. It was our last Christmas together and about seven weeks before she passed. She loved it. It was one of the happiest trips we all took together. The picture of her walking outside with her walker with her hat and sun glasses was taken near our place in Palm Springs. She had both of her children with her and their families. And she took a walk with us every day. It was a lovely time and I am so grateful we had that.
Thanks again for all of your kind words and thoughts throughout this first big year. Please keep in touch.
Andree and Chris
Mom passed away peacefully on February 17, 2014 at about 10:45pm with her children Andree (me) and Christopher at her side. Just a couple of hours earlier her grandchildren and Nun and Paul, our spouses, had said their goodbyes for the evening. In retrospect it seems odd but we all were surprised by her passing so quickly. Just a couple of weeks earlier we had learned that she had stage four lung cancer and while we knew there was nothing we could do about it, we had expected more time. Her passing was peaceful and comfortable, for which we are both grateful, but we felt she left us too soon.
Just seven months earlier. Mom had finally agreed to leave her home on Long Island and make the move to Seattle to be with her family. In those seven months she joined the Elderwise program, which is a senior program that provides an opportunity for older adults to interact with others and engage in creative activities. It was developed and run by social workers, and mom with her own roots in social work responded well to the Elderwise program. In a short time she grew to love that community and even started painting. We all have regrets when our loved ones die, but one of my regrets is that she didn’t have more time to participate in this community. In my experience it is rare for people to expand their horizons in their later years but mom had that opportunity, even if it was for a short time.
Mom was a fiercely independent person. She graduated in 1952 with a BS in Social Administration from Ohio State University and received her Masters of Social Work in 1972 from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She loved her career as a social worker and a psychotherapist and was in private practice for 30 years in Port Jefferson, NY. She also provided mental health services through Suffolk County. She was dedicated to helping people and over the years I have met many people who have expressed their gratitude for mom’s support. It wasn’t uncommon for people to tell me she had changed their lives.
In her last months mom didn’t want to talk much on the phone but she spoke frequently of her friends over the years. We would love to hear your stories about mom. Mom didn’t talk a lot about her history or tell many family stories. I did learn that when she was a teenager her father took her with him when he went to play cards. It involved crossing state lines and going to a little gin joint. I am not sure if she was brought along as a driver, or as a cover story, but it would be great to hear stories about her days long ago and not so long ago. We invite you to add your memories by clicking on the “Stories” tab. You can also add photos and videos by clicking on the “Gallery” tab. If you would like to register on this site you will receive updates when others add new elements to her memorial.
"Happy Birthday Mom. I have been thinking about you a lot lately. You would have been saddened by the latest election and the rampant racism and sexism that is espoused by the President-elect and many of his followers. You were always a strong defender of civil rights and committed to helping others – this is a dark time for those who believe in these ideals. I also realize how much (for better and worse:)) you were the driving force for bringing the family together for the holidays. Since you passed away, the holidays just seem to come and go, so I am looking forward to spending Christmas in Palm Springs. You were so happy there during your last Christmas with us and it brings back sweet memories.
Love you Mom!"
"Hi Mom, it's you birthday! Happy Birthday!
I felt you with me so deeply this morning! I remember all those years that you would call me out of the blue and say, are you ok? and assuredly I would tell you that something happened, I got hurt emotionally or physically, still so amazing to me, and I am so glad those feelings are still so strong. Missing you forever!!
Nun, Alicia and I will light a birthday candle for you tonight and enjoy something sweet! And mom remember Alicia loved your 60% dark chocolate, well she still does, and even more now! Every time she enjoys a piece I think of you!
The sandman is coming!
Love to you from all of us!"
"Dear chris and Andree. How nice it is that you have this special web site. Yes I often think of your mom we were good friends and had a lot of good times playing tennis lunch at the club her visit to us in Montana but I miss her phone calls and seeing her especially around Christmas just brings backs more memories.she was a very special person who loved her family so much and here friends also we miss and love you Pat I am so glad you were in my life and so happy your kids have this web site"
"I love and miss you so much!
I think about you almost everyday, and Alicia and I always talk about Grandma, she has some very nice memories, and we have fun with the Grandma stories! We love you Grandma and will never forget you!"
"Happy Birthday Mom! As you got older you acted like you didn't want to celebrate your birthday but I know you loved it when Chris and I called you on your birthday. We got to celebrate many of Mom's birthdays together because it is a week before Christmas, and we were often together for the holidays. When I think of Mom's birthday, I think of chocolate cake. Mom loved chocolate cake. So there were many fabulous chocolate cakes over the years. I love you mom."
"Hello everyone -
My name is Robert (Bobby as you'd probably remember) Owens. I was raised in Stony Brook, NY... and was a childhood friend of Chris. My sister, Sandra was Andree's friend. I knew Patricia Gagnon as well as any child could... she was always warm, loving and open. I remember her, and cherish the memories I had with the Gagnon family. I lost my own mom (Carolyn) in 2012. May all of your memories of Patricia Gagnon remain forever warm in your hearts... as she is, in mine."
"II I am glad that I was able to spend time with Pat...a most interesting lady!
l .have many fond memories of our time together."
"I think of Pat often and I miss my sister. We talked on the 'phone often and I enjoyed her visits with me. I wish I could have made her life happier, but we lived too far apart. I loved her dearly. Still do."
"Happy Birthday, Mom. We miss you. Love, Andree and Chris"
"Happy 85th birthday to you Ms. Gagnon! I sincerely miss you!"
"Pat and my mom (Marillyn) were roommates in Illinois. Pat helped my parents adopt my sister. Pat would come out to California to visit my family often. She will always be Aunt PittyPat to my sister and me."
"I didn't get to know Pat well, but on the few occasions when we were together, I realized what a warm and friendly person she was. It was easy to see why her friends and her clients found her someone who understood without judging, at the same time encouraging them to accomplish more than they thought they could. A life well lived, indeed."
"I miss my dear friend."
"in memory of a very SPECIAL FRIEND. approx. 30 years of memories, suppers at Tuthill and county club, tennis games, swimming at the "Y" parties at your house your trip to visit us in Montana plus many others. So glad you were in my life. You will be missed very much.marian"
"Sending blessings and love during this time of both loss and celebration of a life well lived.
What a lovely way to collectively remember the lives Patricia touched! We regret never meeting her but through her amazing daughter, Andree - our dear friend, we are able to catch a glimpse of her tremendous impact."
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