September 2, 1936 - May 3, 2022
Patricia Ann (Martin) Whiteford, a caring and beautiful mother, grandmother and woman, was welcomed into Heaven on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. She was born on September 2nd, 1936, in Oakland County, MI to Eugenia LaPlante Martin and Thomas McCarthy. Patricia was a life-long member of Traverse City St. Francis Church, where she had been an Eucharistic Minister and served on the funeral luncheon committee for many years. She was a devoted Catholic and her faith was unwavering. One of the highlights of her life was a visit to New York City with her daughter, Angel, to see Pope Benedict give mass to thousands of fellow Catholic worshipers. Patricia also felt blessed to have made a pilgrimage to Israel and to have walked in Jesus’s own foot steps there. Patricia, along with her brother, Jack Martin, was raised for the most part in the Lake Ann area by their mother and step-father, Bill Martin. She was very proud of her Ojibwe (Chippewa), French Canadian and Irish heritage. Patrica was a graduate of Traverse City Central High School. As a teenager and young adult, she loved to dance and roller skate. During those years, she worked at Morgan Farm’s picking cherries, was a cashier at the Tra-Bay Theatre on E. Front Street and waitressed at Schuler’s Restaurant. In addition to her older brother Jack, in the fall of 2017 and thanks to AncestryDNA, Patricia was elated to discover that she also had five younger brothers, Tom, Frank, Dan, Mike and John, by her biological father. She felt blessed to have met her brother Dan McCarthy, and his wife Terri, in Palm Springs on Valentine’s Day, 2018. It was a joyous day for them both and Dan shared that Patricia looked very much like their dad and also had many of his mannerisms. In 1959, Patricia married Donald Whiteford and settled down with their family of 5, which included three young daughters, Christine, Mary Jo and Pamela, between the two of them. They added four more daughters, Penny, Jeanie, Angel and Shelly, to their “tribe” over the next 6 years. Patricia was happy being a stay-at-home wife and mother to her large family, out on “the farm”. She was an excellent cook and also loved to can fruit and vegetables picked straight from their large garden and the Whiteford and Reay cousin’s cherry farms. She made the most delicious escalloped potatoes and fruit cobblers, as well as many other yummy dishes for her family and guests alike. People often said to her that they sure hoped she had a dishwasher at home, to which she would reply with a smile, “As a matter of fact, I have seven of them!” Patricia had a very good sense of humor all the way up to the very end of her life. After 10 years, Patricia made the very difficult decision to end her marriage. Living in small town Traverse City, members of the St. Francis Catholic Church, and with five of their daughters attending the Catholic school, that choice was scary, controversial and isolating for her. In reflecting back on the years immediately following their parent’s divorce, Don and Patricia’s daughters are awed by the strength their mother showed during that sad and difficult time. They are thankful that their parents forged a cohesive and loving partnership to co-parent them. Patricia’s daughters know that her courage and resilience not just then, but throughout her entire life, helped each of them become stronger and more independent women. At just 32 years old, Patricia was a single mother who had not worked outside her home in more than 10 years. She quickly found jobs that worked around her daughter’s busy schedules. She left afternoons free to take her girls to Bryant Park to swim, play and soak up the sun, as often as possible. She was a sun goddess, in love with the beach and the joy it brought her children. In those early years, Patricia often worked two part-time jobs including in the kitchens at East Bay School and West Jr. High, King’s Burger, Chef Pierre and then full time at Essex, from which she would retire. Just like she did when she was married to Don, and on a very tight budget, Patricia made every Holiday special for her daughters, especially Christmas, Easter and birthdays. Dozens of gifts were stuffed under and around the Christmas tree with Santa’s unwrapped gifts prominently sitting in front, each tagged with her daughter’s names and signed “Love, Santa”. Patricia spent a lot of time with her girls, insisting on dinners together as often as possible. She made weekend dinners fun for them with Friday night’s generally being fish sticks and French fries. Saturdays were often family movie night and the only time dinner was allowed to be eaten in the living room. Her daughters usually requested bologna and cheese sandwiches, potato chips and Country Fresh French Onion dip from Oleson’s Food Market or Tom’s, which they ate whilst watching a “Creature Feature” film together. Often joining them for Saturday night dinners was Tootie, the little blonde-haired neighborhood girl, whom Patricia loved and treated as another daughter her entire life. “There is plenty of love to go around”, was one of the mottos she lived by. Patricia made new friends when she went back to work as a young, single mother. She and her friends did many exciting and fun things together when she had the time. They bowled in a ladies league at Timber Lanes, and went dancing at the Holiday Inn or the Rathskeller, which she so enjoyed. She also played a mean game of Euchre. Patricia really loved to fish! She was great friends for many years with Tiny Ray, his wife, Rosemary and their mutual friend, Tony. The four of them regularly fished for salmon and lake trout on East Bay, or would go out early in the morning smelt dipping. Needless-to-say, her daughters enjoyed many dinners eating the delicious smelt she had caught and then deep fried. After her daughters were raised and she retired, Patricia traveled to many places around the United States. In addition to Israel and New York City, she regularly travelled to Northern California to visit her three daughters and granddaughter, who lived there. She loved San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Palm Springs and Yosemite. She also visited Niagara Falls, Amish Country, the Tulip Festival in Holland, as well as many other cities and states. For her 70th birthday, her daughters surprised her with a Pacific Ocean cruise with a stop in a Mexican City she found fascinating. She was treated to a vacation to her daughter’s second home in Maui, HI for her 80th birthday. She was truly loved, cherished and admired by her daughters. Her happiness was of the utmost importance to them, as their beloved mom had done her absolute best to make their childhoods special, happy and memorable. As if all of the years raising and caring for a brood of daughters wasn’t enough, Patricia began volunteering her time caring for many senior citizens. She drove many folks to their doctor’s appointments, the pharmacy or the grocery store. Patricia also took them on rides in the country or small towns not too far away, for a late breakfast or lunch. Helen and Ernest, Katarina and a few other fortunate folks, were very appreciative of the kindness she showed them. Patricia also volunteered with the Father Fred Foundation. Her daughters were in awe of their mother and the love she had for others and not just them. Patricia was also loved and admired by many friends and family and will be missed deeply in the years to come. Patricia is survived by her devoted daughter’s Pamela Koselak of Los Gatos, CA, Penny Whiteford of Elk Grove, CA, Jeanie (Dave) Chavalia of Kingsley, Angela (Wyman) Friske of Traverse City and Jan/Tootie (Brian) Coates of Buckley; step-daughter, Mary (Joe) Pickard of Green Valley, AZ; sons-in-law Bernd Seeger of Santa Cruz, CA and Bob Swaney of Traverse City; sisters-in-law, Marcy Sleight of Traverse City, and Bonnie Bailey of Galveston, TX; her loving grandchildren, Joseph Reid, Rebecca Reid, Jake (Alicia) Pickard, Melanie (Alan) Pedde, Andrew (Aya) Pickard, Jasmine Swaney (Ben) Lamb, Cara Swaney and her youngest grandchild, Isabella Koselak; her adoring great-grandchildren, Destyne, Dylan, Rob, Shaylin, Katherine, Kylie, Mikhaela, Erin, Kadence, Taylor, Aubrey, Ryleigh, Toya and Soma and, her adored great-great grandson, Mason. She is also survived by many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. Patricia was preceded in death by her parents, her youngest daughter, Shelly (Whiteford) Seeger, step-daughter, Christine (Whiteford) Swaney, her grandson, Benjamin Donald Reid, her brother and sister-in law, Jack and Jesse Martin and sons-in-law, Joseph Reid and Bruce Pass. Patricia’s family would like to thank her care givers at Northern Star Assisted Living, Countryside AFC, Medilodge Traverse City, her hospice nurse, Kitty. They are also are thankful for good friends and retired nurses, Mary Lynn Kuhn and Marcia Weber, who lovingly visited her whenever her daughters were unable to do so. Visitation will be held at Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home on Monday, May 9th @ 5:00pm, followed by a Rosary at 6:00pm A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Francis Catholic Church on Tuesday, May 10th @ 11:00am, with a luncheon immediately following in the church cafeteria. Patricia’s family appreciates tributes to the Father Fred Foundation or the St. Francis Building Fund.
Patricia Ann (Martin) Whiteford, a caring and beautiful mother, grandmother and woman, was welcomed into Heaven on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. She was born on September 2nd, 1936, in Oakland County, MI to Eugenia LaPlante Martin and Thomas McCarthy.... View Obituary & Service Information
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