Patricia T. McAllister, 93, peacefully passed away in her home on Nov. 8, 2017, surrounded by family. Pat, as everyone called her, was born at home on June 6, 1924, to George and Margaret Thatcher, in Edwardsville, Illinois. She grew up in Illinois, but spent summers at the family cottage on Lake Michigan. A place that remained dear to her throughout her life.
Pat attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. She met her future husband of 71 years, William C. McAllister, at a military mixer in 1943. They were married in San Diego on Aug. 24, 1946. Upon Bill’s completion of college at San Diego State, they returned to Bill’s hometown of Billings, where they built their own home and raised a family. Bill and Pat spent two years in New York, one year in Texas and three years in Missoula throughout Bill’s work career. They always returned to Billings, which was their true home.
Besides working a few years for RSVP, Pat was a homemaker for most of her life. During Pat’s years in Billings, she was extensively involved in community service organizations. These included volunteer work at the Billings Clinic, Women’s League of Voters, Area II Council on Aging, RSVP, Adult Resource Alliance, Billings Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Center, Billings Symphony Society, Relay for Life, and Radio Reading for the Blind. Pat was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award for her many hours of service.
There were many things Pat’s children loved about her, but her love of reading and writing poetry and parodies were some of the most treasured. She spent hours reading to her children when they were young. They spent evening time listening to her read classics, like The Jungle Book, Mary Poppins, Charlotte’s Web and The Little Princess. Pat’s children and grandchildren are voracious readers, and love poetry and singing because of her. She wrote poems and parodies for countless occasions. It got to the point that people “expected” Pat to write something for every event.
Bill and Pat enjoyed traveling, and family vacations included many trips to California, Michigan and trips around Montana, singing songs and playing the alphabet game along the way. Later in life, they traveled to every state in the United States; New Zealand; Cook Islands; Europe — including Scandinavia, the British Isles, France and Germany; Canada and Costa Rica. Their trips often included family and friends.
Pat had many friends in many circles. She was dear to all who met her because of her quirky sense of humor, dry wit and willingness to share a poem or song to anyone who would listen. She cherished her friendships in Dinner and Bridge Clubs, traveling groups, Jazzercise classes, the coffee group, fellow volunteers and members of St. Stephen’s congregation.
She treasured her neighbors, the Sieversons (Sig), Huckes (Dorothy), Morrisons (Jean), and Vollers. She felt so blessed to have such wonderful friends in the neighborhood.
Pat was active her whole life: bicycling/hiking, golfing, camping, time at the family cabin, skiing, (until she broke her leg), and her favorite activity, jazzercise, in which she participated into her 90s.
Pat is survived by husband Bill; three children, Lee, Amy and Jane (Dudley); five grandchildren, Anna and Clayton Improta, Kelsey and Sam Angel, Giovanna McAllister; great-grandson Kayden McAllister; sister Jane Heitzman; and many extended family members throughout the country.
Finally, the family wants to thank the people who cared for Pat during her end of life. Thanks to the caring members of Compassus (Hospice) for their kindness and grace with Mom. Thanks to caregiver Lisa Warner, who was a blessing to our family at the perfect time. And thank you to friends and family who have sent their thoughts and prayers.
A celebration of Pat’s life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 25 at St. Stephens Episcopal Church. Gathering and refreshments following.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Adult Resource Alliance or the charity of your choice.
We asked Dad what he wants people to remember about Mom. He told us:
She always supported whatever I did. She first agreed to come to Montana, but was reluctant to move here. She became a devoted “Montanan.” She came with me to Connecticut, Texas and Missoula for my career and law school, always happy to come back to Billings. She didn’t like discord and was always the peacemaker. She was faithful and rarely said something negative. Most of all, she was my best friend, as well as my wife.