Dunk, Helen Patricia McLean (Nee Thompson)
With sadness, we said goodbye to the matriarch of our family, on April 7, 2023.
Predeceased by her husband Alfred Stanley “Joe,” her two brothers, Fraser and Donny, her beloved daughter Jessica, her granddaughter Marina, and her great granddaughter Tessa.
Pat was dearly loved by her family. She will be missed by her son Randy (Gail) and daughter Patricia (Roger). She was affectionately known as “Gumma” to her nine grandchildren: Sarah, Ben (Charlene), Nick (Kim) Alix, Abi (Bjorn), Caitlin (Julian), Jonathan, Emily (Matthieu), and Susannah (Aaron). She also welcomed 14 great grandchildren: Nevin, Noah, Ben, Sam, Chloe, Hendrix, Henry, Abigail, Winnie, Sebastian, Sarah, Marin, Béatrice, and Owen.
Pat kept to her motto “To Thine Own Self Be True,” living a full and industrious life by her own rules.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, while on route to Canada from Scotland, she arrived in St. Catharines as an infant. She later attended Victoria Public School and the St. Catharines Collegiate. While a teenager, she worked alongside her parents, Robert, and Jesse at Pat’s Tearoom, affectionately named for her. There, she would find both love of work and love of Joe, a handsome hockey player from Thunder Bay who would become her husband of 67 years.
Love and work continued to define her long and eventful life. Pat and Joe married at St. Paul Street United Church in 1942, in the midst of the Second World War. From there, the newlyweds made their way to Victoria, British Columbia where Joe was stationed in the Navy.
After the war, they traveled to Los Angeles where they found inspiration for the iconic circular ballroom at the now bustling Henley Hotel back in St. Catharines. Pat focused her entrepreneurial nature into expanding the hotel into a popular local attraction. Pat and Joe spent many evenings scouting for talent that drew large crowds each weekend.
Pat was passionate about the theatre and the silver screen. In her characteristically independent way, she enrolled in the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts.
While family responsibilities enticed her to leave New York, the stage never left her. She became involved in the Welland Little Theatre, her children fondly remembering prompting her as she memorized her lines for her numerous plays.
Most memorably, Pat starred in every single one of her many family gatherings.
Pat and Joe retired after selling the Henley to spend every winter in their Florida home in Port Charlotte. When Joe was golfing, Pat would enjoy her books, crosswords, word jumbles and treasure hunting. While there with visiting family and friends, a glass of wine and laughter were often part of the equation.
Joe’s love of golf insured they attended many golf tournaments including the Masters in Augusta Georgia.
Pat and Joe were also avid race track fans and together they would spend many sunny days at the Fort Erie Race Track and (when driving home from Florida) the Kentucky Derby.
In her almost 99 years, Pat’s greatest joy was to welcome her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
She treasured hosting and attending our many family celebrations. Although Pat would admit she was not fond of cooking, her family will always remember her roast beef dinners and her iconic crab casserole which she served every Christmas Eve.
In keeping with her wishes, cremation has taken place. Arrangements have been entrusted to Passfield Mortuary Services Inc. (905) 682 0474. A celebration of life will be held at the St. Catharine’s Golf Club 2-4 pm on Wednesday May 24, 2023.
In lieu of flowers, and as a lifelong lover of cats, please consider a donation in her name to the Lincoln County Humane Society. Online condolences may be shared at www.passfieldmortuary.ca
Cheers to you Pat for a life well lived!