Federation President 1994-1996
“She was caring, and the most loyal friend one could have.” “She was a wonderful friend and mentor.” So said two past Soroptimist International Presidents. What wonderful tributes!
A West Australian, Pat was educated in Geraldton and New Norcia. She became a secretary, a profession she followed even in Europe where she worked in Brussels for the European Union. Her final position was as personal secretary to Sir Francis Burt, Chief Justice of WA, a job she thoroughly enjoyed.
No wonder then that soon after joining SI Perth in the early 1980s, she became Club Secretary. Then in 1984 she was appointed Secretary of the Federation of the South West Pacific and went to her first Federation Conference in Melbourne where she was to become Secretary to Delores Caboche. The Secretary she took over from asked Pat how long she had been a member and when Pat told her, this experienced lady was shocked and said, "but you have no experience!" In her inimitable way, Pat smiled sweetly and said, “I'll learn”! According to President Delores, Pat turned out to be an excellent Secretary, her loyalty and support was outstanding, and her attention to detail admirable.
Pat became Federation President in her own right in 1994, succeeding Janice Macdonald. She led SISWP’s board delegation to the International Convention in San Francisco in 1995, submitting our Federation’s first request to change our name, a motion that was unfortunately lost.
When her successor, Jane Zimmerman, was chosen as International President Elect, Pat stepped in, to do another term as Immediate Past President, thereby making it 4 years in that position. During this time Pat was part of a small planning group, known as the “Towards 20-20” committee, that changed the Federation structure as the South West Pacific Federation expanded and became too large and expensive to carry on with the original Federation Council governing body.
Pat was then appointed as the Convenor of the International Convention that was held in Sydney in 2003. This entailed many flights across the country to meet with her local Sydney committee. Together they ensured this was a Convention all who attended enjoyed and remembered.
She attended as many Soroptimists events as she could and always offered to drive others to the events. She was a great supporter and always ready to give a helping hand to older people. She supported the Soroptimist projects and in particular the ones that helped women from disadvantaged nations to be educated and become independent. Travelling widely going to the Pacific Islands to support the women there, she enjoyed her time with the people in the small countries, making them feel wanted and loved.
Margaret Lobo recalls that Pat insisted on taking her to the airport for every trip she made as Federation & International President, was always there to meet her and then would have a cup of coffee at home while Margaret told her all that happened. Jane Zimmerman told me that she and Pat shared many happy moments working and travelling together. I personally was very appreciative of Pat’s support when I was her Federation Secretary and my mother was terminally ill; we used to meet regularly in the hospital coffee shop to discuss Federation business.
Pat's Soroptimist friends remember her as a quiet, kind and caring person, dedicated to Soroptimist International vision and values. She was a wonderful friend and mentor to many and will be sorely missed. Pat passed away quite suddenly on the night of Monday 17th February. A private funeral will be held on Tuesday 3rd March, just 2 days after what would have been her 83rd birthday.
With assistance from Margaret Lobo & Jane Zimmerman