On Tuesday November 14th, 2023, Patricia Meekhof passed away peacefully with her children by her side after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease and dementia. She was 73 years old.
Born July 1950 in Grand Rapids Michigan, Pat was the second child of Calvin and Bernice Meekhof. She spent her childhood reading Nancy Drew, creating art and exploring. Pat was destined to live many lives on her own terms. She worked and saved babysitting money to backpack Europe at 17, missing her high school graduation and orientation for her freshman year at Western Michigan University. She would spend the next several years studying art, education, psychology and anything else interesting. She was a professional student, earning five degrees from Western Michigan University. She would travel to India, China and many more places in the 1970’s and 1980’s. She worked for the National Park Service giving tours of the White House in German, creating countless works of art, breaking her leg in a skiing accident, getting married and divorced. She taught high school art at White Pigeon and learned her enduring love of Bridge and Euchre from the older teachers in the lounge.
Pat continued to earn her degree in psychology at WMU and led the Substance Use Rehabilitation at the Battle Creek Adventist Hospital. She made lifelong friends that became like family. She started a private practice with a colleague and continued providing therapy services for most of the 1980’s and 90’s. Pat was known by her fellows as a prankster and a deeply caring boss.
When Pat decided she wanted a family, nothing would stop her. She has two children – Mackenzie and Lilian. Pat was a completely devoted single mother, determined to raise children with a love of family, respect for hard work and deep desire for exploration. Her children traveled many places with Pat, toured museums, explored state and National Parks, and always came back to camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes. One of Pat’s favorite sounds was the rain on top of the motorhome or cabin while reading a good psychological thriller. Many summers were spent counting down the days until we could be floating down the Platte River and eating ice cream at Riverside.
Pat spent 20+ years working as a counselor, third grade teacher and middle school art teacher at Gull Lake Public Schools. She was beloved by many of her students and had a soft spot for the difficult and outcast students. Pat developed a deep appreciation for the chaos, crass humor and creativity of her middle schoolers. She was a believer in the good of teachers unions, the possibilities of the public school system and the value and impact of teachers. For her it was a calling that wouldn’t be ignored.
Those who knew and loved Pat will miss her spirited debate, political discourse, Scrabble prowess and her card counting skill. For many, she was a confidant and a sounding board. She never kept her opinion to herself. She loved to joke, banter, flirt and get to the deeper meaning. Pat spent her life learning every type of art process that she could – fiber arts, ceramics, watercolors, oil painting, sculpting, fine jewelry, quilting, scrapbooking, furniture design, photography, fused glass and always wanted to learn to blow glass.
Pat is preceded in death by her mother Bea, and father Calvin. She is survived by her daughters, Mackenzie (Kevin) and Lilian (Matt) and beloved granddaughters and grandson. She is also survived by sister Dyanna, brother and sister-in-law Calvin “Butch” and Ruth, nieces and nephew. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
Visitation and Memorial will be held at Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Richland Chapel on Thursday November 16th, 2023 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Personal messages for the family may be placed at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.