Patricia 'Pat' Stephens

Posted: Friday, April 10, 2009

Longtime Juneau resident Patricia "Pat" Stephens died March 29, 2009, in her home. She was 80.

She was born March 17, 1929, in Reed City, Mich., to Clarence and Lottie (Merlock) Loree. She graduated high school in Hart, Mich., and continued her education, earning her Illinois Registered Nurse certificate in June 1951. This was her profession until she retired, after which she did some part-time work, as this was what she loved to do.

In 1954, she married John P. O'Rourke, and while living in Illinois, they had two daughters, Kathleen and Karen. After John's passing in 1966, Pat moved to Texas with her daughters.

She met Dr. John C. Stephens in Texas and married him there in 1968. In November 1969, the whole family packed up, drove to Seattle and boarded a ferry to Juneau, as the couple had jobs waiting for them at St. Ann's Hospital. When the newly constructed Bartlett Memorial Hospital opened, they worked there, and she became the operating room nurse supervisor. Dr. Stephens died in 1973, and she never married again. They had no children together.

She loved animals, especially her German shepherds, which she showed in various competitions in Juneau, Fairbanks, Whitehorse and Michigan. She loved traveling and her visits included England, Russia, Bermuda and New Zealand. She also hiked in the Grand Canyon, skied in Vermont, and twice sailed as an Elderhostel crew member around the Pacific Northwest San Juan Islands on a 127-foot schooner.

She loved to quilt, garden and read. She took pleasure in boating, fishing and crabbing, as well as berry picking and making jelly. Affectionately called "Grammy" or "Gramz" by family and friends, she was famous for her homemade birthday cakes, potato salad, English Toffee and pecan pies, her family said. She treasured the time she spent at her cabin in Tenakee Springs, where she enjoyed the serenity of her surroundings.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Clarence and Lottie Loree; brother, Hugh Loree; first husband, John O'Rourke; second husband, Dr. John Stephens; former sister-in-law, Rita Loree; and grandson, Jeffrey Morgan.

She is survived by her step-mother, Edna Loree, of Pentwater, Mich; daughter, Kathy (O'Rourke) Messing and husband, Steve; granddaughters, Stephenie (Messing) Harris and husband, Kyle, and Erin Messing; daughter, Karen (O'Rourke) Morgan and partner, John Curtner; granddaughters, Amy and Kelly Morgan; grandson, Nicolas Morgan, all from Juneau; and nephew, Andy Loree, his wife, Cathy, and their daughter, Meghan, of Spring Lake, Mich.

A celebration of life officiated by the Rev. Douglas Dye will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 25, at the log cabin at Chapel by the Lake in Juneau. A potluck will follow in the chapel's Smith Hall.

Her cremated remains will be scattered in the waters of Tenakee Inlet. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to the Gastineau Humane Society (789-0260) in Juneau or to the American Diabetes Association.

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