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Patricia 'Patsy' Mae Pace (Dickerson)


Patricia 'Patsy' Mae Pace (Dickerson), 79, softly departed on Monday, April 17, 2017, at her Helena, Montana home in the comfort of her son Gregory. Caring for her the weeks up to her passing was her daughter-in-law, Kathleen, and granddaughters: Miranda and Rachel.  When Miranda was little she started calling her grandmother Mocha.  We have no idea where the nickname came from, but she was always Mocha to her Montana family.   

 Patsy was born July 15, 1937, in Polson, Montana, to Dorothy and Frank Wilkinson, who divorced when she was very young.  She lived with her grandmother, Mary Johnson, until her mother married William Arthur 'Si' Dickerson and they made their home in Seattle, Washington.

 The Dickerson family soon relocated to Coulee Dam, Washington, when Si took a job with the Bureau of Reclamation to help build Grand Coulee Dam.  Patsy attended junior high and high school in Coulee Dam and graduated in 1955. Her father, Si, was Mayor of Coulee Dam for 10 years. After attending college in Missoula, Montana, Patsy then made her way back to Seattle and attended dental hygienist school. 

 In 1961, Patsy had car troubles one evening and met a local mechanic at the nearby Phillips 66 by the name of Leonard A. Pace.  Patsy and Leonard were married later that year on December 25.  They soon became parents to their only child, Greg, in October of 1962.  They were married until Leonard's death in 1990.  Although they did not have any other children of their own, they opened their home to other family members. 

 For 23 years Patsy worked at Children's Orthopedic in Seattle as an aide. While working full time, she went back to school and became a Registered Nurse in 1979.  She was proud of working the dreaded night shift until she retired in 2002 at the age of 65.  Patsy then took care of her mom, Dorothy. After her mom passed away, she went back to work part-time for a nursing agency until December 2012.

 In July 2013, Patsy moved to Helena, to be close to her son.  She lived at East Park Villas on Broadway until her death. Patsy made friends with many of her neighbors and enjoyed pinochle night on Fridays, Saturday coffee time and hosted Sunday movies in the common room with help from her youngest granddaughter, Rachel. She also became an active member of the Montana Association for the Blind.

 Patsy became ill in 2016 and began kidney dialysis.  She struggled with the treatment and, by the end of February, she decided to discontinue dialysis.  In late March she began hospice care but was able to remain in her home thanks to hospice and her family.  Her granddaughters, Miranda and Rachel, were there to help every day. They loved their Mocha!

 In addition to her son and his family, Patsy is survived by many family members that loved her deeply, including her cousin/sister/best friend, Kay Chavez of Marysville, Washington. Other close family members include: Mike Smith, Mark and Debbie Smith, Kim Smith, Tony Bunyan, and Shauna Bunyan, along with their children that came from Washington state to visit the last few weeks of her life. She is also survived by her cousins: Leroy and Charlotte Lau, of Lakeside, Montana, and from Yakima, Washington, Russell Gardipe, and Kathy Bertrum. 

The family wishes to send special thanks to Dr. LaClair and his staff, the dialysis unit at St. Pete's, Hospice of St. Pete's, as well as Karen and Jon of East Park Villas for taking such great care of Patsy. We are especially grateful to Greg's employer, The Montana Radio Company.  Greg's radio family made sure he was able to spend all the time he needed with his mom and we cannot thank them enough. 

 There is no formal service at this time. Patsy's last wish was to be buried in Coulee Dam with her husband's ashes and next to her parents, Dorothy and Si.  The family will meet in Coulee Dam the weekend of July 15, which was to be her 80th birthday, to say their final goodbye. Patsy's family hosted a social gathering and coffee at East Park Villas, where she lived in Helena, to say thanks to her friends and neighbors.  

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