Millinocket – Patricia E. “Pat” Wilson, 88, passed away peacefully Saturday, December 22, 2018 at Katahdin Health Care in Millinocket with family by her side. She was born January 28, 1930 in Exeter, Maine, the daughter of Richard and Joyce (Nason) Eaton.
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A dairy farmer’s daughter through and through and the youngest of seven, Mum grew up strong and independent with a deep desire to better herself and see what more was out there. Recognizing her high school education was not challenging her enough she moved away from the family farm and in with her sister Gwen Elliott’s family on their farm in East Corinth in order to attend Corinth Academy. After graduation, and fully against the orders of her father who believed girls don’t go to college, she attended Farmington Normal School eventually receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1952 (her father was by then the proudest in the room). Still looking for something more, she accepted a position as a 4th grade teacher in Millinocket where she shared her first apartment with one of her oldest and dearest friends, Carol Mower. In 1957 after a few years of teaching in Millinocket, she was introduced by a mutual friend of theirs to Dick Wilson, a local paper mill worker at Great Northern Paper Co. Assuming this “older” 34-year-old World War II veteran must be married at his age, she at first wanted nothing to do with him. With the insistence by that mutual friend she finally accepted the truth that he had in fact never been married and admitted to herself that he was pretty darn handsome after all. Mum and Dad had a short six-month courtship and were married in November 1957. After having three children and traveling as much as possible, sadly, Dick passed in January 1979 when Pat was only 48. Her strength, independence, tremendous ability to laugh and make others laugh allowed her to carry on raising her three boys ranging in age from 11 to 18. A teacher her whole life, this didn’t stop when she went home. She taught her three boys the meaning of honesty and hard work. She taught them to cook, clean, drive (followed by a brandy & soda I’m sure) and to be independent themselves, while ensuring they never lacked for anything. With a thriftiness developed from being raised on a dairy farm in the 1930s and 1940s, she saved enough money to cover the majority of the costs of attendance at two out-of-state private universities for the two youngest. It wasn’t until years later that this son of hers realized and finally understood the sacrifices she made to make that possible.
Many of Pat’s students will remember her for several things, including her “ugly pills” that she kept on her desk the first couple weeks of each new school year. She told each class she took one ugly pill every day to make sure she was mean. It quickly became obvious that while stern, she was certainly not mean. Her crazy silly antics in the classroom as an 8th grade American History teacher would probably get her fired in today’s society, but they’re what made her one of the most beloved teachers in the Millinocket school system.
A lover of games including spades, cribbage, Scrabble, dominos, and an avid bridge player, she spent many wonderful afternoons and evenings with her dearest friends (and sometimes bitterest bridge rivals) playing cards long into the night with a steady supply of coffee at hand. A lover of learning Pat spent numerous hours in the Millinocket Memorial Library picking out new books to read. For several years after retiring from teaching she was a member of the board at the library helping to shape the future of the library. A lover of entertaining Pat was always quick to throw a party including the infamous night the teachers “killed” the Junior High as Millinocket moved to a Middle School system. Not one to grow moss, she traveled extensively in her retirement visiting Europe, Australia, Canada, and traveling throughout the country United States. Many times she would call a friend in the morning and off they’d go to “who knows where, as long as we get lost along the way and have a good lunch”. Those trips in which she got “lost” were some of her favorites. Mum was fortunate to have countless friendships over her lifetime with whom she enjoyed these adventures.
A lover of animals, her family and friends will never forget her dogs over the years Trink, Sam and her beloved Jack as well as her cats Friskie (a.k.a. devil spawn), Kitty and Oscar. They were part of the family and a huge part of her life, especially in retirement.
Pat is survived by three sons and their wives, Richard “Cal” Wilson, II and Deeann of Millinocket, Mark E. Wilson and Wendee of Rochester, New York, and Colonel (ret) David N. Wilson and Karla of Tampa, Florida; seven grandchildren, Celina Moore, Geoffrey Wilson, Alex Wilson, Nathan Hoffman, Michael Hoffman, and Kyle Wilson; three great grandchildren, Jordan, Natalia, and Lucas; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her husband, Richard “Dick” Wilson, her siblings, Barbara Colbath, Linwood, Gwendolyn Elliott, Virginia Winkler, Philip, and Priscilla Eaton, special in laws, Don Elliott and Dr. Bill and Frederica Daniels, and her granddaughter, Edie Rose Wilson.
The family would like to especially thank Dr. Ed Dunstan, Katahdin Health Care, “our private pay girls”, Sweet Seniors, In Home Care and Rideout’s Market. The Katahdin Area is so lucky to have KHC and their staff as they provide excellent and compassionate care to each and every resident.
Friends are invited to visit with the family on Saturday, January 5, 2019 from 11:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. followed directly by the service at 1:00 at the First Congregational Church of Millinocket, 274 Katahdin Avenue, Millinocket with the Rev. Terry Given, pastor, officiating. There will be a time for fellowship and a light lunch in the church basement after the service. Spring interment will be at the Millinocket Cemetery. Gifts in memory of Pat may be sent to the Friends of the Millinocket Memorial Library, 5 Maine Avenue, Millinocket, ME 04462.