Librarian, editor, lifelong learner. Born Oct. 20, 1930, in Brighton, England, died Feb. 13, 2012, in Halifax after a fall, aged 81.
Pat’s life mirrored that of many New Canadians: In Canada, she found opportunities for personal development and service to others that she could never have dreamed of while growing up in working-class Britain.
As a child, she survived the Luftwaffe’s Baedeker Raid on Bath in April, 1942, when the family flat was burned out and she lost her teddy bear. Ten years later, after a stint as an au pair in Carcassonne, France, she came to Canada in 1952 as an indentured servant.
She put herself through Sir George Williams University in Montreal, winning the Governor-General’s Medal in English, then took a library degree at McGill University.
Marrying in 1959, Pat moved in and out of regular employment, working as a freelancer, and living with her husband Jim and two daughters, Annette and Fiona, in Ottawa, Vancouver, the Yukon, Italy, Scotland and rural Nova Scotia. She took a degree in Celtic studies at St. Francis Xavier University.
In 1973, the family moved to Halifax. Pat became supervisor of inquiry officers at Information Canada until it was closed in 1976. Moving to the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, she worked there until 1979, when she was declared “surplus.”
Pat then joined Atlantic Insight as a copy editor and, later, associate editor. In 1984, along with other senior staff, she resigned from the magazine, concerned that new owners were treating ads as editorial material.
A profoundly spiritual person, Pat enrolled in the Master of Theological Studies program at the Atlantic School of Theology. She graduated in 1995: Her thesis, New Patterns for Christian Life, dealt with Christian communities and other innovations.
In 1979, the family moved into Thorndean, a house built in 1835 whose first owner, James Forman, cashier of the Bank of Nova Scotia, was accused in 1870 of embezzling $315,000. Pat’s book on Mr. Forman and his circle, Banker, Builder, Blockade Runner, was published by Gaspereau Press in 2002. She also edited Affairs with Old Houses, stories of people who had renovated heritage buildings.
In August, 2007, tests showed Pat had cognitive impairment, but our life together remained rich in love and laughter. By November, 2009, Pat had developed Alzheimer’s. Slowly but surely she drifted into a world where no one could reach her. She laid out strips of toilet paper on the dining-room table as if making the beautiful quilts she once sewed, and marked up magazines and newspapers as if she were still an editor.
With the help of caregivers, Pat stayed in our home until the last day of her life. She took the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, job losses, health problems, failing memory with courage and grace, never losing her sense of humour and being kind to every living thing.
Jim Lotz is Pat’s husband.