Patricia Lee (Wood) Gerhardt, 83 years old, passed away peacefully at home with her children by her side in the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 29th from Pancreatic cancer.
Pat was born on March 30, 1936 to Cecil D. and Jean (Miley) Wood and was the oldest of four children. Pat loved telling us how she considered herself the protector of her younger brothers, however, more times than she could recall, they actually had to come to her rescue.
Pat read every book in her high school library and graduated at the top of her class in 1953 from Kokomo High School. After graduation, Pat enrolled at Purdue University to study mathematics and soon began working at Delco Electronics in Kokomo. While working at Delco, Pat worked in the lab on a project that earned a Patent. This would also be the place where she met her future husband, Burton J. Gerhardt. Burt and Pat married and had two children, Anne Elizabeth and Kendall Burton Gerhardt. After staying home to raise her children, Pat decided to go back to school and she completed her college degree at IU Kokomo with a degree in Education and then earned an MBA at Ball State University with highest distinction. Pat began working as a bank manager and one of her favorite stories was a time when her bank was being robbed. As the story goes, Pat was trying to calm her employees and had no idea that she had locked the actual robber in with them and was also, unknowingly, calming him down as well.
Pat finally landed her dream job as she was selected to be in an elite management training program for the United States Post Office. Pat traveled all over the United States for this job and had quite a collection of speeding tickets to prove it. One of her greatest honors was when she appeared before Congress to present the budget for a system that would automate the Postal process. After several years of traveling and coming home for the weekends, Pat decided she would accept a position as a Financial Analyst in the budget department for the Regional Post Office Headquarters in Indianapolis and retired in 2010.
Another little known fact was that Pat loved being involved with a local racing team. Ok, she was the mom of the driver, but she kept that race car spotless and her competitive and protective spirit came out quite a bit. At first, Pat worried her son would get hurt, but adapted quickly and went from "be careful" to "go faster." Legend has it that she may have scolded other drivers at times and we would cringe, but she was usually correct.
Pat was also known as "Aunt Patty" not only to her nieces and nephews but to her children's friends as well. All of our friends new her warm and outgoing nature and loved her stories that were bigger than life and considered her a friend as well.
One of her true passions was reading and was an avid reader until the end. Pat was still going to the library every day and was on a first name basis with all of the library employees. She always had a book with her whether it was a stack of books beside her bed, a few in her car, or in her purse, she loved a good mystery.
One thing we know for sure is that the greatest joy and passion Pat's life were her children and grandchildren. She loved them all dearly and dedicated most of her life to cheering them on in all of their activities. Pat never missed an opportunity to tell her friends about how very proud she was of their accomplishments.
We will miss her love, spirit and stories but know she is in a better place. She leaves behind a legacy of family traditions, memories to cherish for a lifetime, and love that stretched to the moon and back.
Just as their house always made room for celebrations, weekly family gatherings, and grandchildren running about, her family is comforted knowing that the Lord has prepared a room for her in Heaven. She is survived by daughter Anne (Dave) Lybrook, and a son Ken (Julie) Gerhardt; granddaughters Jenna Gerhardt, Carly Lybrook, and Evie Lybrook; grandsons Spencer Lybrook and Jake Gerhardt; sisters-in-law Nancy Wood, Denise Wood, and Barbara (Larry) Miller, along with several beloved nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her husband Burt Gerhardt; parents Cecil D. and Jean Wood; brothers Daniel E. Wood, Richard Wood, and Terry Wood; sister-in-law Carolyn Wood; nieces Kimberly Wood and Jane Shuck.
Visitation will be held at Hartley Funeral Home in Cicero on Tuesday, Jun 4th from 4:00 to 7:00 pm.