Patricia O’Brien (nee Quitman), age 86, of Whitefish, Montana, passed away on Sunday morning, May 6, 2018 at Kalispell Regional Medical Center in Kalispell, Montana from complications due to Alzheimer’s Disease.
Loving daughter to Louis and Hazel Quitman, she grew up in Chicago and went to college at St. Xavier University where she earned a teaching degree.
In 1953, she married Jim O’Brien, in Chicago. Initially they lived in the south Chicago suburb of Beverly before moving to Elmhurst, where they raised their two children Patrick and Annie.
Pat was a vibrant woman with many passions. Her family was center to her life, but she thrived from sharing experiences with people. Her love languages were gift giving and affection. It brought her joy to give little gifts that she so thoughtfully picked out. Pat was an avid reader and loved autobiographies, in particular. Needlepoint was a favorite past time along with doing jigsaw puzzles with the family. But what really got her going was a good game of Bridge, Bingo, or Poker. She was always willing to take your money, if you were willing to play, even if it was just a quarter. Pat also adored the ocean and spent many summers sitting on the beach with her lifelong friend, Ginnie Footman, who she knew since they were both four years old.
Friends and family describe Pat as strong, classy, full of laughter, funny, dramatic, warm, and beautiful, with an exclamation point on dramatic. Many said that she could have been in theatre, just like her mother Hazel, who had her own Vaudeville troup.
During her lifetime, she wore many career hats….Real estate, which was her favorite, retail (family hardware store in Colorado, administration work at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, and then as a familiar face in Kalispell at Loretta’s.
Her life journey took her from Chicago, to the suburb of Elmhurst as the kids grew up, to Vail for 10 years to run a family hardware store, back to Chicago area, and lastly to Montana with her husband Jim, to live next to their daughter, Annie, and son-in-law, Tom Britz, where they enjoyed their remaining years in the quiet and peace on the small ranch, surrounded by horses, pets and wild creatures of all kinds.
A devout Catholic, she was a regular at St. Charles Catholic Church in Whitefish, until poor health prevented her from attending. She loved teaching Sunday School to the children and felt honored and humbled to bring communion to the home bound.
Pat had also experienced many sorrows with one of the greatest of losing her son Patrick at the age of 46. Through much adversity, she carried on with strength and faith.
Pat was preceded in death by her husband Jim in 2009, and her son Patrick in 2004.
She is survived by her daughter Annie Britz and son-in-law Tom, of Whitefish, grandchildren Amanda Britz Nielsen of Carbondale, CO, Olivia Britz Wheat of Portland, OR, Cooper and Keaton O’Brien of Chicago IL, Ashley Roux of Dixon, IL, Ben Walker of Chicago, IL, and numerous great-grandchildren.
A Catholic funeral mass will be held Saturday, May 12 At 10 am at St. Richard’s Catholic Church in Columbia Falls, Montana with Fr. Sean Raftis, officiating. Interment will follow immediately at the St. Richard’s Cemetary.