Mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, card shark, gambler, golfer, real estate extraordinaire, and lover of fun, Patricia Marie Findlater, died Monday, February 10th, 2020, at the age of 91, peacefully, at home surrounded by her beloved family.
“She was one hell of a woman,” – Jackie DesMarais Savage, friend
The specifics of Pat’s birth and death - days, times, locations - matter much less than her inspiration and influence on people in-between. Such an exceptional person deserves better than a typical obituary. Pat’s spirit and storm-of-personality cannot be measured in dates and timelines. This, however, is all about “The Dash,“ as they call it, that little mark between those years where the good parts live, the parts that made Pat, Pat.
“I would genuinely tell her I aspire to be her,” – Lutricia Carlson, friend
If you ever had the pleasure of sharing a round of golf with Pat, chances are good it cost you a great deal of cash. Chances are equally good you found yourself happily buying her drinks at the end of the day, in spite of your loss. Same is true for cards. She’d take you to school at the card table and you’d walk away thanking her for the privilege of losing your shirt. If you bought or sold a house in Genesee County between 1968 and 2016, she always made sure her client got the best deal, the reason she was so highly respected and successful.
“We hit the mom lotto,” – Cathy North, daughter
In seeming opposition to her knife-sharp instincts, keeping her family and friends close, well-fed and watered was always Pat’s number one priority. Pat’s approach to mothering didn’t involve coddling or “letting” anyone win undeservedly – though she was always warm, affectionate and adoring of her kids. More significantly, her approach involved teaching, by example, winning and losing with grace, humor, kindness, or diplomacy – and recognizing which one is called for. Pat’s approach involved an honesty of unapologetic proportions, yet always levied with genuine warmth and humor. She taught through quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) resolve; when to speak and to be silent; what’s worth complaining about and what’s not; when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em; and, of course, when to stay and when to go. Each one of her children was made to feel special and that she was their best friend. She was wildly proud of her tribe.
“We should all be so lucky to be surrounded by such unconditional love during our own passings. RIP, Nan.” – Garrett Findlater, grandson
Famously opinionated and universally loved, Patricia Marie Findlater, will be forever missed by her children: Cathy Ann North; Mary Sue (Scott) Ward; William (Bernadette) Findlater, Joseph Findlater; eight grandchildren, Scott (Andrea) Ward, Jon Ward, Timothy North, Alex, Max, Garrett, Andrew Findlater and Sara Swoyer (Alex); four great grandchildren, Sophia and Charlie Ward and Lucy and Logan Swoyer; dozens of loyal and adoring friends including Dawn Parr; Maxine Hildreth, Marcy Weston and Vivian Stoll.
Pat was predeceased by her parents, Jean and Joe O’Keefe; husband William Findlater; long-time partner Rex Parsell; sister, Catherine (O’Keefe) Kostka; brothers Don and William O’Keefe; brother-in-law, Jack Kostka; and great granddaughter, and sparkle in her eye, Bella Ward.
Her legacy, her “dash,” is our lesson: be authentic, don’t complain, keep in touch, say please and thank you and I’m sorry, and strive for a life well lived. In lieu of a memorial, it’s Pat’s wish that everyone spend time with the ones you love.
Tributes may be shared at www.sharpfuneralhomes.com.