In Memory of Patricia Boyle
Patricia Lou Boyle, 84, of Hayward passed away Saturday, February 13, 2021, at the Aspen Acres Assisted Living facility in Hayward, surrounded by the loving embrace of her daughter Brenda, son Lance, and son-in-law John.
Patricia was born August 31, 1936, the fifth of eight children born to Ernest Luther Downey and Beatrice Susanna Rose Nix in Chicago, first residing in a 4-flat apartment on 9524 S Avenue N. on the southeast side of Chicago. Patricia and her family lived in a variety of different apartments within that neighborhood. Bordered to the west and north by the Calumet River, to the east by the shores of Lake Michigan, and to the south by the big viaduct where the industrial railroad line thundered overhead, this was to be Patricia’s world until she was 15.
These were harsh times for the Downey family with the Depression dragging on, work sporadic for Ernest, who was machinist & welder at the nearby Steel Mills, and Beatrice working long hours at local restaurants and playing piano to help make ends meet. When she was young, Patricia would sometimes be encouraged by her father to come with him into the local saloons and beg for money which she hated to do. Who could refuse giving such an adorable little girl a bit of pocket change? Her Dad would want to use the money to buy a drink… but not before some of it snuck its way into Patricia’s sock to be given to her mother.
Patricia’s mother often took more than one job at a time, having no choice but to work late. Quite often Beatrice would take Patricia to the restaurant to work with her and there she would draw pinup girl pictures to sell to patrons to help support the family. This was a more creative way of spending her time and Patricia developed into quite the artist. Patricia attended the Taylor Elementary School, located about a two or three block walk from home… that is, depending on where they were living at the time.
There were dark times when Patricia’s – often absentee - father would show up drunk and be abusive to the family but, thankfully, that finally ended when her parents divorced around 1941. Beatrice, always the loving mother found solace by dedicating herself to taking care of the children and playing the piano, to which she was quite gifted herself. Perhaps it was while she was playing piano to earn some extra money in a neighborhood tavern when she met the man that would truly love her, Oliver Thibedeau, a hard-working pipe fitter who was born in Shell Lake, Wisconsin. The two were dating by 1943 and married on June 26, 1944.
The new “Thibedeau” family remained living in their Calumet Park area neighborhood until the Spring of 1951, when they moved to get away from the pollution for the health of young Beatrice and moved north to Stone Lake, Wisconsin to live near his family. Patricia remained in the city a bit longer – staying with her older brother Ernest Jr.– until she graduated the 8th grade. Patricia was offered an art scholarship to the Chicago Art Institute for a summer program for gifted youths, but she chose to rejoin her family in Stone Lake once school was out.
Patricia attended Spooner High School and there Patti – as she was known to her fellow classmates - became very active on the student council, assisting with the school newspaper “High Times”, loaning her beautiful singing voice to the school chorus, joining the science club, becoming a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, and also being involved with prom. After graduating in 1955, Patricia worked as a secretary for Jim Weigand’s office supply store in Stone Lake, waitressed at Shep’s Restaurant on Sand Lake and Pine Ridge Resort on Big Sissabagama, and did housekeeping and waitressed for the “elite” Wismo Fishing Club on Lac Courte Oreilles…. where she wasn’t afraid to put a “rich kid” in his place if he was caught talking out of turn.
While roller skating at the Community Hall in Stone Lake Patricia met and fell in love with local Hayward boy, Patrick Boyle. They were married on November 22, 1958, at the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Stone Lake. At first, the new couple got an apartment in Hayward and then in Stone Lake, until they found a nice little house to rent on Stone Lake’s Main Street. It wasn’t long before they were blessed with two children, Lance in 1959 and Brenda in 1962.
Patricia’s husband Pat was a journeyman bricklayer & master stone mason, often traveling long distances to his various jobs. Being Irish, Pat came from generations of masons and was highly sought after for his fine work, most notably fireplaces. He worked hard at his craft until the weather turned uncooperative and then he successfully supplemented their income by selling the furs from animals he trapped. Patricia ran a tight ship at home, frugally managing the finances all while preparing homemade meals which most often included wild game and fish as a staple along with her garden vegetables and wild berries.
Around 1968, Pat had a strong feeling there would be an upcoming job boom in Alaska, so he sold everything, bought a new truck & camper and moved the family to Alaska for the summer… in hopes of finding work in the “new” frontier. It was an idea before its time, however, so before the bitter winter came the family journeyed back to Hayward and moved into the original Boyle family homestead on Ranger Station Road, spending many years paying off the back taxes on the property. Around 1978, Pat & Patricia built a new home on a piece of their land, lived there for a year or so, and then sold it. During that time frame, Patricia was hired as a secretary for Charter Communications in Hayward.
They again moved back into the old family farmhouse, but in the fall of 1979 after tragedy struck two of the family’s closest friends, Pat Boyle decided they should go West. The four drove in two pickup trucks for 11 days and while in Carson City, Nevada at Brenda’s request they stayed so she could complete her senior year in high school. There, Brenda transferred to Washoe High School and had to take classes to satisfy the class requirements for both Hayward and Washoe school districts in order to graduate with her Hayward classmates in May of 1980.
Upon returning to Hayward and getting settled, Patricia landed a job working in the cafeteria at Mt. Telemark’s newly constructed Colosseum building during the winter of 81-82. By that time, Patricia’s husband had built a new house on another lot near their old farmhouse and the couple lived there until October of 1987.
In 1982, Patricia got the job that she has been best known for… working as a waitress at the Northland Lakes Coop Restaurant. There, Patricia was in her element and took great care of an army of loyal customers for nearly 30 years. Patricia was not merely a waitress there at the Coop. She was the unofficial maître d’ to the patrons and a den mother & friend to her fellow waitresses. Her customers loved her, and she loved them. It was a sad day for the Coop when she retired around 2011.
On December 7th1987, life would change drastically for Patricia when she lost her husband and soulmate when he passed away suddenly. It was a very hard loss for Patricia as well as her two adult children as Lance was a mason and worked daily by his Dad’s side and Brenda was commuting daily to UMD in Duluth, Minnesota, working towards earning her degree in dental hygiene. Once Brenda began working as a dental hygienist, a proud Patricia not only volunteered to serve as Brenda’s patient for her National boards in 1989 but again 18 years later when Brenda retired from dental hygiene in December of 2007… Patricia was there by her daughter’s side (literally) to act as her final patient.
In 2006, with the help of her kids, Patricia built a new home on the Boyle homestead property in Hayward and that is where she lived until this past November when it was discovered she had a terminal brain tumor. Although she was 84 years young, it still came as a shock to have such a tough, strong willed, independent woman – who was hardly ever sick a day in her life – to have such a hard blow dealt to the family. Brenda and John brought her home from St. Mary’s Essentia Health Neurological care in Duluth. Brenda took care of her mother 24/7 for most of the month of November, along with the help of her brother Lance and close family. But due to many family health emergencies they couldn’t continue.
Once a spot opened at Aspen Acres Assisted Living, Patricia secured a room and was cared for by the most angelic group of caregiving CNA’s we could have ever prayed for. They and the hospice nurses were with Patricia every step of the way allowing Patricia the most dignified, loving, and caring transition to a better world than we could have ever hoped for.
Patricia enjoyed driving to town to visit with friends, her home, being outside, her new garage, her crossword puzzles, word search, gardening, her flowers, feeding the birds but most of all, traveling with Brenda’s family; most notably her favorite trip was going back to her ancestral roots of Ireland and Scotland… but her family brought her the most joy. She made the very difficult decision to choose quality of life over quantity when she made the decision to not go through surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. When making this very difficult decision the doctor asked her what the most important thing to her… she said “family”.
Patricia will be dearly missed by many and she truly appreciated the calls, cards, flowers, and love each of you extended. Our family would like to extend special thanks to Joanne Moncel, Patricia’s hospice nurse, for her tireless guidance and all the phone calls to Brenda; her doctor Dr. Rachel Chambers for her excellent care; Kim Keller for her help while she was home; Mike Riehm for the lifetime of love and for building her garage; the staff at Aspen Acres for their gold standard team approach to care: the love they gave her daily, the delicious meals, and to the maintenance & cleaning staff for their hard work. But most of all, realizing the important role that family has in caring for their loved one in person; taking the extra time to test us for Covid-19 along with our temperatures; for helping family with window visits during Covid lock downs to talk over the phone; or to video chat at any time.
As her daughter, I was able to come inside daily for the last six weeks to spend time helping to ease my Mom’s discomfort with the daily massages while my husband John held her hand and we talked. These special memories we will always carry with us forever. A huge thank you to my husband, John for all the years of love and respect you’ve shown my Mom and helping with everything from this obituary to home maintenance for Mom…you truly are a God send to me and our family. A loving “Thank you” to my sister-in-law, Denise, for all the years of love you have given Mom; you were truly like a second daughter to her. My brother Lance along with myself & John were able to be by her side to give loving support while her soul moved onto God’s embrace and to be with the loved ones that have already passed on.
Patricia is survived by one son, Lance (Denise) Boyle of Hayward; one daughter, Brenda (John) Dettloff of Hayward; one sister Sharon Sheffield of Bruce; four granddaughters, Natalie Jackson, Brittany Kilps, Ashley (Vince) Martinson, Alyssa (Zachary) Breyen; three great grandchildren, Rylie Keller, Rhett Jackson, and Sawyer Kilps; and many nieces & nephews. Patricia was preceded in death by her parents, Ernest and Beatrice Downey, her beloved stepfather Oliver Thibadeau, her siblings Ruth Moen, Jack Downey, Rev. Ernest (Sheik) Downey Jr., William Downey, Earl Downey, Beatrice Downey, and her husband, Patrick Boyle.
A visitation and prayer service will be held at the Bratley-Nelson Funeral Home in Hayward, on Saturday February 20th, from 11:00 am until 1:00 pm with an internment immediately following in the Greenwood Cemetery in Hayward. Pastor Gary Hilgendorf will be officiating. Pall bearers will be Lance Boyle, John Dettloff, Russ Forrester, Mark Boyle, Mike Riehm, and Rob Sparhawk.
The family is asking that any monetary donations be directed to Hospice in Hayward in honor of Patricia.