July 11, 1940 - March 27, 2021
Patricia A. “Patti” Wright, age 80, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Saturday, March 27th at home in Bellingham. She was born July 11, 1940 in Fredonia, Kansas to Roy and Frances (Fitzmorris) Counterman. Patti was known as “Sr. Ann Patrice” as a Sister of St. Joseph in Wichita, Kansas for over 30 years. She later married Jim Wright and joined Jim’s family of five wonderful adult children and their families. Patti has sung in a choir ever since elementary school. She absolutely loved singing and cherished the close relationships she had with so many current and former members of the Assumption Choir. She was also a member of the Just Faith ministry and served as a eucharistic minister at the hospital. Patti was known by her friends as a 30+ year Starbucks latte enthusiast. She will be remembered for her warm spirit, her beautiful soul, her kindness, her love of animals (especially cats), and her singing voice. She was preceded in death by her parents. Patti is survived by her loving husband Jim Wright, Jim’s five children John (Lori), Karen, Kevin, Michelle (Mikki), and Ken (Amelia), 11 grandchildren, sister Betty (Will) Drobnick, 4 truly special nieces, and many loving relatives and friends. A Vigil Prayer Service will be held at Westford Funeral Home on Monday, April 5th at 6 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Church of the Assumption on Tuesday, April 6th at 10:30 AM and will also be livestreamed at the same location as all of the Assumption Masses at https://www.facebook.com/catholicjeffreyhmoore/. You may share memories in the online guestbook at www.westfordfuneralhome.com. From Patti's Sister Betty Counterman Drobnick (read at the Mass held for Patti at Church of the Assumption on April 6, 2021): Thank you to each of you for coming to honor Patti’s life. As we praise God for her and with her, we each have our own special memories of Patti. I would like to share with you the Patti I knew. My name is Betty Counterman Drobnick and I have been blessed all my life to know Patti as my big sister, and, as we have grown old-er (what we liked to call growing in wisdom and grace) we have been each other’s confidant and best friend—truly one of God’s greatest gifts in our lives. Our family of 4 was a close one and Patti was always the big sister I looked up to, strong, athletic, and gentle, especially with our cats! As small children we shared a bed, playing dolls on the front porch, and making mud pies to “bake” in the sun on the back sidewalk. As we grew older we would skate down the hills of our SE Kansas town-- hoping we had screwed the skates on tight enough! So many shared memories…playing hide and go seek in the dark, playing and picnicking at the Riverside Park, Sunday drives after Mass (our family tradition) , and summer vacations in the West. On our trip to Yellowstone, my dad was trying to get a close up picture of a grizzly and asked Mom to roll down her window. When the bear leaned into the car and hit the camera with his paw, quick thinking Patti started hitting his paws with her doll pillow…while I hid behind the hanging clothes and screamed! She was not only stronger, but braver! Patti and I were fortunate to be taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph in our school for grades 1-8. So many seeds were planted deep within and found fertile ground in the fervent, reverent soul of Patti. When we moved to Colorado Patti, who now wanted to be called Pat, enjoyed the exciting experiences of dating, proms and sock hops that were part of high school. And then it was time for Pat to go off to the Benedictine college in Atchison, Kansas. After two years, she discerned her call to live the vocation of a religious sister with the Sisters of St Joseph. At that time the culture of the Religious Communities emphasized the separateness of their religious communities from any worldly things and had very strict limitations about the sisters going home. When Pat shared her decision with our dad, who was non-Catholic, he struggled to be supportive, knowing her life would be so separated from that of the family. When he did give that support during her Easter vacation at home, none of us had any idea that he would die of a sudden heart attack before her return home for summer vacation. Saying good bye was difficult for each of us, Pat, Mom, and me when Pat continued with her plans to join the Sisters that fall. Patti lived her 30 year vocation as a Sister of St Joseph, forming life- long cherished friendships as she served in many capacities by learning, teaching in parish schools and working in the formation program for associates and future sisters. She matured and deepened spiritually and shared these gifts in her gentle way. It was on one of her assignments that she first fell in love with the Pacific Ocean in Oregon. During these years she was also able to keep in touch with relatives who lived in Kansas and she continued to keep those ties strong throughout the rest of her life. Over the years after the Vatican Council in the 60’s the Congregations of Women Religious loosened many of their restrictions, allowing first a modified religious dress and then contemporary apparel. The change that was most significant for us was that Pat, now called Sister Ann Patrice could come home more often and without a chaperone! During the early years of her sisterhood, and my years of college, getting married, and starting a family it seemed that our connection had gotten weaker as we went our separate ways, rarely seeing each other. Now we could join as she visited Mom every summer and she could join Mom with our growing family for Christmas holidays, celebrations of the Sacraments, graduations, and weddings. We were again feeling like a connected, close family. Our 4 girls’ memories of special celebrations and our family pictures always include their Aunt Pat. Her thoughtfulness and kindness, so much an integral part of her, have been repeatedly given to each of us, particularly in difficult times. After 30 years as Sister Ann Patrice, she surprised us with the result of another prayerful discernment. She would leave this vocation as a religious sister. And she would enter another vocation of love—she would marry Jim Wright, our cousin who had been her good friend since childhood. And she would again be called Patti. And so began another 30 years of loving, reaching out, finding new ways to bless others with her warm and gentle spirit by loving Jim and his children and then grandchildren. My family was doubly blessed by Jim joining Patti for our family weddings and helping in times of crisis, even having Christmas dinner in the hospital with daughter Sarah was confined with pre eclampsia at 24 weeks in her pregnancy. Another time they both went to be with granddaughter Jessen as she suffered radiation treatments for brain surgery. And daughter Nathania will always hold dear her Aunt Pat’s extending her time in HI to befriend and comfort her as she mourned the loss of her son Tyler. In addition to ministering to family, Patti and Jim also served the parish community here in many ways, including Engaged Church and Just Faith. And of course she continued her lifelong passion for singing in the parish choir. How she enjoyed the singing and also the gatherings to celebrate life and friendships! One of our great pursuits and gifts of these past years has been spending more time together…in each other’s homes, on trips to explore New Mexico, Mexico, Oregon (our Oregon 101 tour, as Jim called it), and of course her beloved Washington. From our first visit here (when it rained all day for our 10 days!), I fell in love with this state as she had…the ocean, the mountains, the forests and rain forests, and the ferries! (a first for me). Patti and Jim were excellent hosts and tour guides because they love this area so much and are eager to share it with others. And what wonderful times the 4 of us have had together. And, for Patti and me, perhaps even more precious have been the times the 2 of us just sat and shared…no matter where we were, or whether in person or in our weekly 1 ½ hour phone calls. (Thank goodness we don’t have to pay for long distance like in the past!) It was through these regular sharings that we found deeper closeness and intimacy than ever before and came to cherish our spiritual companionship as one of God’s greatest gifts to each of us. I will miss your presence in this life so much, my sister. AND I rejoice that you are with Mom and Daddy in the arms of God’s love. I have repeatedly expressed to Jim that his tender love of my sister was a blessing and gift of God for Patti, and in turn, for me to see her so well loved. Thank you, Jim. And John and Lori, Kevin, Michelle and your beautiful family, how she loved you and enjoyed the time she shared with you. Thank you for welcoming her into your family and becoming her family. I also want those of you who have known her these last 10 or so years here in Bellingham to know how she treasured your friendships, the connections, the breakfasts, all the coffees!, the celebrations, all the meals together, the shared service. You became her community. I know we will all grieve for Patti and miss her in our own way. Let’s also let our hearts and eyes be lifted to see her singing with the choirs of angels, surrounded by the incomprehensible love and joy of her God.
Patricia A. “Patti” Wright, age 80, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Saturday, March 27th at home in Bellingham. She was born July 11, 1940 in Fredonia, Kansas to Roy and Frances (Fitzmorris) Counterman. Patti was known as... View Obituary & Service Information
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