Patricia Petherick obituary: Her three great loves were family, faith and friends

Life’s lost to Covid-19: Patricia was always going somewhere

Patricia Petherick  was mother to three children but the family also fostered  a boy  from the Goldenbridge Orphanage.

Patricia Petherick was mother to three children but the family also fostered a boy from the Goldenbridge Orphanage.

 

This article is one of a series about people who have died with coronavirus in Ireland and among the diaspora. Read more at irishtimes.com/covid-19-lives-lost. If you would like a friend or family member included in the series, please email: liveslost@irishtimes.com.

Patricia Petherick
1930-2020

Patricia Petherick’s daughter Ruth had been sorting through thousands of family photographs in the attic in the run-up to her mother’s 90th birthday.

“It was great in the sense that I learned stuff about her that I didn’t know. It started out as one of these jigsaw puzzles where nothing fits and then gradually a picture started to emerge,” she says.

Patricia was born in Dublin in 1930, one of six children to Richard McEvoy and Brigid Kelly. As a child she loved school, so much so she made the uncommon progression to second level and later became a dress maker.

She met her husband, Thomas, in the early 1960s. Ruth still has the early letters capturing the birth of a lifelong relationship.

“They just connected. My dad actually said to my mam, if we are ever not with other people would you go dancing with me? And she said yes.”

When that situation presented itself some time later, letters that would take days to reach each other set out arrangements to meet at Clery’s on Dublin’s O’Connell Street.

They married in 1963 and eventually moved into the Tenters area of the Liberties.

Patricia was mother to three children – Maurice, Ruth and Louise – but the family also spent years fostering a boy called Gerard from the Goldenbridge Orphanage.

Thomas worked as a dental technician and, says Ruth, “Between them I think they put teeth and clothes on most of the kids in the neighbourhood. I don’t know that she ever charged a penny.”

She was heavily involved in the community, with a ladies’ club, doing charity work, the residents’ association and even helping to found a senior citizens’ club for which she could reliably be seen baking every Wednesday. “She was always going somewhere,” says Ruth.

“In order of importance for her, it was family, faith, friends and community. They were her three great loves and she devoted her life to them.”

In later life, Patricia and Thomas (who died in 2016) travelled around Europe and in the 2000s they visited Australia to visit her brother Richard whom she hadn’t seen in more than 40 years.

“They weren’t back that long when he died,” says Ruth. “I think around about then we started to notice things about Mam being a little bit amiss: being very preoccupied with her childhood, telling the same stories over and over again. I would have been very close to Mam and I just felt that something wasn’t right.”

Shortly afterwards she was diagnosed with mixed dementia and eventually went to live in a nursing home. Staff at the Little Sisters of the Poor in Sybil Hill allowed her family, kitted out in personal protective equipment, to see her for four days and nights before she died.

“A lot of families didn’t have that,” says Ruth.

Covid-19: Lives Lost

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