Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service

Patricia Whitford

January 22, 1947 ~ August 28, 2017

The sweet soul of Pat Whitford passed from this world to the next on August 28, 2017. It marked the end of a year-long battle with Glioblastoma, a powerful brain cancer that Pat fought with bravery and dignity, never letting it rob her of her humor, unfailing courtesy, strong spirit or love of family.

Patricia Edith Thomas Whitford was born on January 22, 1947 in Middletown, New York to Patricia and Mac Thomas.  Ten years later she became the big sister to twin brothers, Mark and Peter.  When she was 18 the family moved to California, where she learned to alpine ski and enrolled at Sierra College.  She met Bill (Fred) Whitford at a New Year’s Eve party her freshman year, and knew right away that he was “the one.”  They were married on 9-6-69 and moved to San Francisco so Bill could attend San Francisco State. Three years later they moved to Victoria B.C. to attend the University of Victoria, where Bill attended graduate school and they attained landed immigrant status in Canada.

Looking to fill a gap in the academic calendar, Pat and Bill traveled to Crested Butte, CO to join their friend Larry Wilson.  This move set the stage for Pat and Bill being ski bums at heart for the rest of their lives, despite their professional accomplishments.  They returned to Canada to finish Bill’s graduate work, but skiing remained in their hearts, and so when Larry called from Bozeman, MT to tell them it was a great place to ski and live, they loaded up and moved in their VW bus.  In those deep powder years at Bridger Bowl they made life-long friends.

Pat and Bill purchased land at the top of Moffit Gulch and were their own general contractors in building a beautiful log home.  Pat was always proud of being an equal partner in building, and she took leadership in supervising the “dirtbags”: carpenters, electricians and plumbers who came to assist.  The home showcases Pat’s classic sense of proportion and style.  It was the setting for yearly Canadian Thanksgiving celebrations.  While building the house, Pat partnered with Dennis Rowe in founding Rose Painting Company, while Bill secured a teaching job in the Psychology Department at Montana State University.  They used a wood cook stove for many years, and became expert winter drivers on the narrow Moffit Gulch road.

Pat recently noted they didn’t design the house for when they grew old.  Neither did they design it for a baby!  But in 1984 they were gifted with a baby girl, Jessica, who Pat always said was the blessing of her life.  They finished the basement and raised Jessica to love the mountains, to be fearless of bears, and to face the world with the same courage and humor they demonstrated.

When Pat was in her forties she went back to college at MSU and attained her interior design degree from the Architecture Department.  She then went to work for Carole Sisson, running the office and designing interiors that featured wonderful renderings of her projects. Pat was very capable and honest as the day is long.  She loved design work.  Prior to retirement Pat was doing design work for her own clients for several years.  Pat was noted for her high-end designs at the end of her career. 

When Jessica married and had two boys (Alex and Nick), Pat took on the job of being their “Granny-Nanny” on a daily basis.  Her days revolved around Jessica’s schedule and teaching her grandsons everything she could. 

Pat loved her home and worked hard to plant flowers wherever she could.  It was a struggle to keep the critters from eating the plants but she persisted.  Her friends kept flowers by her side throughout her illness.  Bill worked hard cooking and giving his time to Pat for the last fifteen months.  Jessica was a devoted daughter, doing everything possible for her Mom.  If we all treated people with the kindness and courtesy that Pat Whitford did, the world would be a better place.  Everyone that knew Pat is mourning her loss.  Whenever Pat entered a room everyone in the room was happy to see her.

Pat leaves behind her husband of 48 years, Bill Whitford, their daughter Jessica and her husband Matt Langley, and her beloved grandsons, Alex and Nick.  She is also survived by brothers Mark Thomas and Peter Thomas of Santa Rosa, California.

A celebration of her remarkable life will be held on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at 3:30 PM at the Lindley Pavilion.  Please bring a potluck dish.