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In Tribute: Pat Thomson

October 2, 2016

Former Southwood Park vice president and long-time volunteer Pat Thomson passed away suddenly last week.


I met Pat, appropriately, through a proposed pocket garden plan for the Sunset and Crestwood triangle.  It was easy to see that Pat was full of ideas and energy and I asked her to run for a spot on our board.  The decade she worked for the good of the neighborhood was transformative.

Pat began with the first pocket garden near her home and soon there were twelve.  Eager to share her love of gardening, she offered classes as a master gardener to the neighborhood. She especially loved it when she could share how to plant a bulb or trim a plant with a young person.  She tirelessly carried petitions so that Tacoma Avenue could be rebuilt with sidewalks and curbs that were safe.  She spearheaded the neighborhood’s efforts to fight the Emerald Ash Borer, both by working with the city arborist and by taking a hands-on approach to treating every ash street tree in the neighborhood, hauling ten gallons of water and treatment at a time.

Pat built connections.  Connections with city officials to get things done and connections between neighbors.  She planted many seeds of friendship in our neighborhood and we are luckier for it.

Pat was a very giving person.  She donated to worthy causes and she gave her time and energy freely.  Pat volunteered for the Waynedale Branch Library, and was responsible for repairing thousands of CDs, DVDs, and games for all the branches so that library users could enjoy those materials.  She regularly volunteered to help the Positive Resource Center Dinner Dance.  She volunteered with ARCH, tending the Rankin House garden with period-correct plants, and served as a key volunteer in several Home and Garden tours, including two in Southwood Park.  Believing in the environment, she lived by example, often riding her bike in the neighborhood and outfitting her home with solar panels that produce more electricity than the house uses.

Pat believed in a building a better future.  I suppose gardeners must have an innate belief that tomorrow will be better.  Judging by her efforts, we know that to be true.

I know I’ll miss the chats and the occasional cups of coffee.  Thank you, Pat!

–Steve McCord

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Eric Fisher permalink
    October 4, 2016 10:20 am

    My family and I no longer live in Southwood Park, but Pat was a very big part of our life there when we did. We lived on Crestwood where Sunset Ts into it…across the triangle from her house and Hirschy’s. I remember weathering her ire about my youngish bush pruning technique (chain saw). I learned a fair amount of gardening from her, but the way we experienced Pat the most was as “Miss Pat” …a bit of a grandmother figure for our son Jack. Jack followed her around relentlessly for several years before we moved…always doing a gardening project. The two of them continued their relationship through the years, though Jack is now 15 years old….in fact they had an appointment to see a movie that she will have to miss! A no-nonsense, hardworking gal that made Southwood Park a better place, no doubt. Rest in Peace, Pat!

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