Our family treasure – Patricia Mae (Rathburn) Locke – beloved mother, grandma, great- and great-great grandma, took her final journey to the next realm on September 4, 2019. At 87 years young, she was originally from Flint, MI and most recently a resident of Ada, MI for over fifty years. She is survived by her children Richard (Ruth), Hollis II, Kevin, Lillian (Karen), Pat, and Bobbie Locke; Naohiro Hagiwara and Juan José Dapueto; 13 grandchildren, 22 great- and great-great grandchildren, plus many cherished nieces and nephews.Pat loved lifeyet in her advancing years, looked forward to embracing again the souls of her family previously passed: parents Merle and Queena Rathburn; siblings Mildred, Barbara, Lillian and Robert; husband Hollis; and beloved grandsons Joshua and Eiji. Pat was an incredible miracle of resilience, living with and conquering Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma like a Rockstar from her initial diagnosis in 2002 until her passing. She had been in remission three times, amazing both doctors and loved ones with her faith and fortitude as she underwent treatment and claimed victory time and time again. She often stated that getting cancer gave her an ever-deepening awareness of love poured in from family, friends and even her medical teams. How like her, to turn a horrible burden into a perceived blessing. In her last months, Pat was blessed to have so many recent visits, calls and letters from family and friends. This allowed her to do what she loved most: share memories and photos, read her poems, deliver her wonderful hugs, sing with her kids, and tell the beloved stories of our family history. Next to her unshakable faith in God, Pat’s passion was her family. She created a happy, affectionate home where all were welcome. She loved raising her children and jumped for joy every time grandchildren (and more recently great-grandchildren) were born into her magical, loving world. Even the neighborhood teens would hang out with the family, or just sit and chat with mom if she was the only one home. She offered warm smiles, unforgettable hugs, tasty meals, a listening ear and wise advice whenever needed. Her motto was, “If it comes to the door, hug it, kiss it and feed it – man or beast!”
She enjoyed a 17-year career with various companies as an executive secretary and stenographer, including working at Amway in the late 1960’s-early 1970’s in its first growth phases. Much later and still up for adventure, her last position from age 70-75 was church administrator for Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church, formerly in Cascade, MI. Somehow woven into a career and raising a large family, she achieved her dream of going to college and earned an Associate of Science and an Associate of Applied Science from Grand Rapids Junior College in 1986 and 1987, both with Honors. A true renaissance woman, within this lover of math and science beat the romantic heart of a poet. Starting at the age of 12 and all the way up to a week before her passing, she wrote over 150 poems, some of which were published. Pat took pride in earning her entry level Amateur Radio license in the 1960’s, eventually progressing to the highest-level license, the Amateur Extra Class (which, in addition to a complex written exam, also required a 20 words-per-minute Morse Code test!). She was very active as a Volunteer Examiner, proctoring test sessions for new and upgrading “Hams”. Working with a local radio club, she participated in over 100 exam sessions. Pat fascinated all of us with her advanced intellect, open mind and eclectic interests. She taught us that we were on the Earth to learn – from books, from diverse experiences, and from people. She was a lifelong learner and voracious reader with over 4,000 books in her home at one time. She had a rare ability to focus and could read up to ten books at a time, keeping all the information straight. Her interests were countless – learning, thinking, reading, inventing, algebra, physics, teaching, the study of outer space, miracles, astronomy, Amateur “Ham” Radio, handwriting analysis, genealogy, electronics, antiques and armchair quarterbacking politics. And then there was her fun, enthusiastic “joie de vivre” with her love of chocolate, dancing, smoked oysters, cats, woodland critters, laughter, sleeping in, COFFEE, doing the back float in pools, jacuzzi tubs and oceans, singing, wading in creeks, building electronic devices, music from every era, and a perfectly grilled steak (rare, please), kitchen table conversations, and joyfully watching the generations of her beautifully diverse family roll on, embracing each of us and encouraging us to take our own path to success. Oh, what a life! Funeral Service: Friday, September 13, visitation at 11:00 AM and service at 12:00 Noon, Gerst Funeral Chapel, 3980 Cascade RD SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Holy Cross Episcopal Church, address below. A luncheon gathering will follow in the community room at Holy Cross Episcopal Church, 4252 Breton RD SE, Kentwood MI 49512 (just north of 44th ST SE) Burial: On Saturday, September 14 at 12:00 Noon, Pat will be laid to rest near her family in Flint, MI at Sunset Hills Cemetery, G-4413 Flushing RD, Flint, MI 49504.