Patricia Ann (O’Donnell) Verbeck, 90
Patricia Ann (O’Donnell) Verbeck passed away on Oct. 5, 2017 in her apartment in El Cerrito, Calif. She slipped away peacefully surrounded by members of her family in the late afternoon.
Patricia was born March 2, 1927, in the family home in Rathdrum, Idaho. She attended school in Rathdrum and in the seventh grade she met her future husband and best friend, Wayne Verbeck. They both graduated from Rathdrum High School in 1945, with Wayne enlisting in the Merchant Marines while Patricia began working at the Rathdrum State Bank.
Patricia and Wayne married on June 12, 1948, and moved into an apartment above the bank where Patricia worked. As their family grew with the birth of their son, Gregory and then daughter Christine, it was time to relocate to a bigger place, and the family moved to Spokane, Wash.
Patricia was a self-taught accountant and ultimately worked up to the position of office manager. Her places of employment included the Rockwood Clinic, Phillips 66 Petroleum Company, California Water Company, Glass Containers Corporation and J.L. Denio. An outstanding employee, it often took two or three people to replace her, a fact that delighted her.
From Spokane, Patricia and her family moved to Bountiful, Utah, when her husband, Wayne, was transferred. It was there that Patricia and Wayne had a home custom built for them, a home Patricia loved dearly with magnificent views west across the Great Salt Lake. But, as happened in Spokane, Wayne was again transferred and it was off to Los Angeles. Patricia put to use her philosophy of “bloom where you are planted” and made a home in the land of sunshine and palm trees, settling first in Whittier and then Yorba Linda.
Although Patricia took great pride in her professional career, her priority was always her family. She loved taking care of her home and filling that home with great food and lots of love. Cooking was one of her delights, with the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread a constant in her lovely homes. Patricia never tired of reading recipes and loved to host family gatherings. She was cooking complete Thanksgiving dinners right up until the last year of her life. She particularly enjoyed cooking outdoors while camping. No family ever ate more delicious meals around a campground picnic table than Patricia’s.
Gardening was another of her skills, with the backyard full of gorgeous flowers throughout almost every season. Patricia could grow almost any type of flower, but the Bakersfield climate put her green thumb to the test. However, even in that hot, dry climate she managed to have a backyard full of plants that brought color and happiness to her. In addition, her orchard of trees created a magical secret garden that provided hours of fun for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Patricia was active in the Catholic Church, beginning in Rathdrum at St. Stanislaus Church, where she was baptized. For many years she sang at the weddings and funerals held there. It was also where she and Wayne were married. Over the years the parishes changed as the family was transferred, but Patricia’s commitment to the parishes never changed and her lovely voice was always a part of the choir.
Patricia and her husband enjoyed travel throughout the United States and abroad. In their early married years, travel consisted of two weeks’ vacation spent camping through the Pacific Northwest and Canada with their children. Eventually they were able to travel on their own and their excursions took them to France, Ireland, England, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and Italy. They traveled extensively throughout the United States, putting lots of miles on their well-equipped van as they drove from coast to coast. But apparently they missed the fun of having children vacationing with them, because upon their retirement they spent every summer for 15 years taking up to five granddaughters with them throughout the West and Southwest. They wore out their “brown van” and then the “blue van.” The children were shown the wonders of Yellowstone, the mysteries of the Ancient Puebloan ruins, and the thrills of dude ranches. Patricia could always make the hours spent in travel fun and interesting, providing amazing stories, hilarious songs, tasty snacks, minor emergency care, and endless patience. Those summers of travel, filled with love and joy, created a legacy that continues to this day, with the grandchildren carrying on the tradition of travel and adventure with their loved ones.
Patricia touched so many lives with her love and warmth, her joy and optimism, and her unending belief in the goodness of people. Supposedly there is a “happy gene.” Well, Patricia Verbeck definitely had the happy gene. She often started her mornings with a song, not just in her heart, but literally, singing a song. Patricia greeted each day with a smile, and if you were there, she often greeted you with fresh-baked scones in addition to the smile and melody. Her home was open to all, and her love knew no bounds. Patricia made everyone feel special, but of course, she was truly the special one.
Patricia is survived by son Gregory (Phyllis Ishisaka); daughter Christine (Dennis) Bolt; grandchildren Jennifer Verbeck, Melissa (Richard) Bogle, Emily (James Keenley) Bolt, Shannon Bolt; great-grandchildren Haley, Hannah, Lillian, and Charlotte Bogle, and Lila Mae, Raleigh and Meadow Keenley. She is also survived by her brother, Stuart O’Donnell, and his family. Patricia was predeceased by her parents, Samuel and Esther; her husband, Wayne; her sisters, Norma, Ellen and Gladys (Hess); her brothers, Val and Sam and granddaughter Sandy Verbeck. She will be dearly missed by her family members, a wide circle of friends, and her devoted cat, Casper.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held for Patricia at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18 at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, 812 McCartney St., Rathdrum, Idaho. and inurnment services immediately after the Mass will be held at the Pinegrove Cemetery, 6693 ID-53, Rathdrum. At 1 p.m. a reception celebrating Patricia’s life will take place in the Treinen Hall at St. Stanislaus Church.