Ecclesiastes tells us, “For every time there is a season.” Perhaps it is fitting then, that as this long hard winter of 2017 turns to the season of spring, our lives have changed forever.
Pam was born Sept. 16, 1954, in Chicago, to George and Jane Wilson. The youngest of four children, she joined older twin brothers Jay and Jerry and sister Whitney. She grew up in a beautiful neighborhood on Woodland Lane in Northfield, Ill. She attended Sunset Ridge Elementary School and graduated from New Trier West High School in 1972.
Her childhood was filled with routine activities and attending many Shrine events with her parents. Her love of animals probably started on her annual visits to her grandparents’ farm in Colorado. Dogs and cats soon evolved into horses. From a pony named Ned to showing AQHA horses April and Tuffy, she won youth all-arounds all over the mid-west. She represented the “Land of Lincoln” on their youth team and also as their queen at the Quarter Horse Congress.
Following in her brother Jay’s footsteps, she entered MSU in Bozeman, Mont., in the fall of 1972. Majoring in Animal Science, she was a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority. Her 42- year adventure with a kid from the hills of Montana began behind a cow in artificial insemination class in 1974. Pam and John Patterson were married Nov. 9 of that year and returned to his family’s ranch on Shane Ridge south of Columbus.
She enrolled in Billings Vo-tech after several years and became a Licensed Practical Nurse. Using her degree she worked at a nursing home in Red Lodge until her sons Tom and Mark were born in 1980 and 1983 respectively.
Simultaneously using their “AI” skills that brought them together, she and John began building a small purebred Angus herd; 3210 Angus. As the boys grew and entered school in Columbus she returned to medicine, this time as a dental assistant — first for Dr. Schlehuber and more recently for Dr. Vesbach.
The next 30 years she spent with kids, cattle and cavities until her failing health forced her to retire in June of 2016. She served as vice president and president of the Montana Angus Auxiliary and for years chaired their ways and means program. For many years she and John served as advisors of the Montana Jr. Angus Association and were honored to be selected as National Advisors of the Year in 2005.
Her passion for photography transitioned into digital scrapbooking as she documented her many travels, literally round the world, with her sister Whitney. The quality of the scrapbooks she created and her eye for design did not go unnoticed and she was named to the creative team at Designer Digitals. There she shared ideas, photos and design lay-outs daily with friends and colleagues around the world. She loved it!
Of all her activities, skills and accomplishments, there was nothing in her life that she took more pride in than her family. She would do anything for Tom and Mark and reveled in their own successes, careers and families. Her daughters-in-law, Corinne and Julie, were truly her daughters. Pam’s biggest regret her last few months was that “GiGi,” as her grandchildren Clara Jane and James Henry called her, would never know the immeasurable love she had for them.
She was pre-deceased by her parents, grandparents, in-laws, niece Cindy and nephew Chad. Pam passed away on Thursday March 23, 2017, in John’s arms on the family ranch. Sons Tom and Mark, their wives and children also survive her. Additional survivors include her brothers and sister and their extended families.
Pam will return one last time to the church she loved, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, in Columbus. Vigil is scheduled for Friday evening, March 31, at 6:30 p.m. with her funeral the next day Saturday April 1 at 10 a.m. What an honor it will be to have her dear friend Father Greg Staudinger officiating.
For those unable to attend Pam’s services, they will be live streamed at www.mystmary.com. Following committal at the cemetery, lunch will be served at the Columbus Fire Station.
Thanks to Pam’s medical team: Dr. Dave Kane, Dr. Rick Klee, Dr. Erin Stevens and Dr. Dan Sheibley, as well as an incredible staff of nurses on the Infusion floor of the Billings Clinic. There is a special place in our hearts for Nurse Sunshine Hochhalter, Chaplin Ramona Bruckner and John Dahl of Dahl Funeral Chapel.
Suggested Memorials: Billings Clinic Foundation / Cancer Center at PO Box 31031, Billings, Montana 59107 or the charity of your choice.