PATRICIA JOAN ALEXANDER (Quinn)
March 21, 1934 – April 3,2021
Pat lived a vibrant, full and engaged life right up until her unexpected and sudden passing.
She was born in Prince George BC to Jack and Joan Quinn. Her family moved to Rossland BC when Pat was 3 years old and it remained the family home for over forty years. Her younger sister Caroline, was born when Pat was 4 1/2.
The family lived through the second world war with their Dad overseas for 5 years. Pat was 6 when he left and 11 when he returned. Their mother was an adept and capable woman who did a remarkable job of filling both parental roles to provide for her daughters. At nine years old, Pat was struck with rheumatic fever and confined to bed for almost a full year. She was not allowed to put her feet to the floor, had to be carried to the bathroom, did all of her schooling and had all of her meals in her bed.
Her family, like many others of the time, did not own a car.They walked or rode their bikes to get where they wanted to be. There is a great picture of Pat and three of her friends as teenagers riding their bikes to Northport USA. Pat and her Dad were enthusiastic berry pickers and covered much territory in their quest. She told us that her Mom and Caroline did more eating than picking. As a young adult, a day on the slopes at Red Mountain started by walking to the hill carrying your skis.
After high school graduation, Pat left Rossland for the big city of Vancouver. She attended business college, made friends as she always did and spent time with some of her favourite aunts and uncles.
After college she worked in the office for Pacific Western Airlines at their river base and bought herself a car – a two tone 1951 Ford Hardtop Convertible ! With her hair dyed red, her tall, curvaceous stature and her hot car, she was quite the catch!
She had transferred with the airline from Vancouver to Kamloops and it was there that she met a tall handsome pilot who became her husband of 64 years, David Alexander. They had known each other for 6 weeks when Dave said he was going to Mexico for the winter and would she like to come? Pat answered that indeed she would like to go, but they would have to be married first. Word got out at work and four friends from the base arrived at the court house, two of them in overalls. They got the giggles, they got married and they had one picture taken in the parking lot as husband and wife with their beautiful car in the background. Those in attendance wagered that the marriage would last one year, tops. The happy couple then drove to Mexico, stopping enroute in Rossland and Vancouver to introduce their new spouse to their respective families.
And then the real adventure began!
Their first child Kevin, was born the next year in Stewart BC. Rex followed 18 months later in Vancouver, then Lisa and David both born in Castlegar. Four kids in 5 1/2 years was not that unusual in the 1960’s and our Mom still grew a garden, preserved everything, baked bread and mended socks. Pat and Dave moved 25 times during their marriage and our Mom kept in touch with people from everywhere they had lived. She had friends of all age groups and from all walks of life. She always made people feel that there was nothing else she would rather do, than to visit with them. Anyone was welcome and at anytime.
Our Mom always loved skiing and was happy to take us out of school for a trip to the hill or if school was closed due to cold temperatures – off to the hill we would go! She loved her birds; her pet canaries and her wild birds. She always had feeders up and her bird book handy. Usually it’s the kids that bring home pets, but our Mom also brought home dogs and cats. Our family was never without a dog and when we had a particularly strong willed one, off he went to dog obedience with Mom committed to their learning. She was a great knitter, as her mother had also been, and produced wonderful things for her kids and grandkids. She was still knitting dishcloths for the family. She was a huge Canucks fan and she could talk hockey with the best of them. She had her Canucks flags for the car, towels for the house and her jersey for watching the games in. She had pre and post game telephone calls with her sons and her sister.
Pat had beaten cancer twice and she was so grateful for the care she received, that in 2009 she started recycling greeting cards and donating the proceeds to the Nelson chemo lab. Her friend of 80 years Eleanor, came alongside her and together they raised over $12,500 by selling cards for $1 each. Our Mom’s first priority as Christmas approached, was to get her cards out in the mail. This past year she sent out 100 cards! That is no small feat and it shows what a life she was living, that she had 100 people to keep in touch with.
You can honour our Mom by thinking of her when you see the first spring flowers bloom and see your first robin of the year. She was always happy to see the swallows return and to feed the hummingbirds. The family will have a small service on the farm once Covid allows us to gather her kids, grandkids and great grandkids together. Thank you for loving her as much as we all did.
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