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PATRICIA STANGER (published on June 03, 2010)

PATRICIA STANGER On Saturday, May 29, 2010, Patricia Stanger died as she lived, that is, as the humble yet compelling centre of a crowd of family and friends who loved her. Having lost her beloved husband on April 2, Pat simply accepted her cancer diagnosis and was determined to say her goodbyes and then reunite with Norm (preferably in a heaven that resembled either Africa or Hawaii). Pat was born on December 31, 1930 to Lily Dora Scorah and Frank Scorah. She grew up in St. Vital and attended Norberry School and Glenlawn Collegiate. An excursion to Grand Beach in 1949 led to Pat's meeting and falling in love with Norm Stanger, who remained her darling and cherished husband through 60 years of marriage. Pat is survived by her brother-in-law Gordon and sister-in-law Eileen, sister-in-law Audrey, her nieces and nephews Michael, Colleen, Barb, Andrew, Norman, Laureen, Leslie, Pat, Maureen, Theresa, Bev and Ted and their families. Pat was lovingly attentive to family, staying connected even when it was a challenge to do so, and was definitely a favourite aunty and cousin. Pat had extended family in both Canada and England who will miss her visits, newsy letters and phone calls. Mother Stanger or Me Maleroto, is also mourned deeply by her African family in Lesotho whom she loved and supported for over 35 years. And of course, Pat had friends across Canada and around the world who will be finding themselves saying, I must tell Pat about -- and then feeling a terrible loss. Pat attended Normal School and began her distinguished teaching career at age 17 at Norberry School. She took several years off to be with Norm while he attended Veterinary College in Guelph, because despite their financial straits, it was just too difficult to be separated. Upon returning to Winnipeg, Pat began her long service to the St. Vital School Division. Lucky were the hundreds of children in Norberry, Hastings and Minnetonka Schools who had Mrs. Stanger as their teacher. Many of them kept in touch over the years, and plenty of them aspired to be teachers, a tribute to her impact on their lives. Lucky, too, were the colleagues who worked with and were inspired by Pat Stanger. They will miss her, as she remained a valued mentor, as well as the unofficial clearing house of all news, scandals and family developments, even after she retired. In 1992, Pat was recognized with the prestigious Dr. D. W. Penner Award for teaching excellence, as well she ought, having instinctively developed a philosophy and style that is now synonymous with the term master teacher . The nominators wrote of Pat: The Stanger hallmark is challenging content and high standards coupled with a sensitive, loving demeanor... When you have the knack of bringing out the best in each and every student in your class, as Pat has, you develop youngsters who view themselves as valuable and productive... Without prying, Pat is involved in her students' lives... Pat's professionalism in sharing her ideas, encouraging those who try things', propping up peers experiencing stress, and always pitching in fosters the same collegial behaviour in others. Pat was a good person, a complex person, a well-rounded person. She was clever but not university educated, well-read although not averse to the odd trashy novel, she was a career woman but utterly devoted to her husband, she had no biological children but was mother to multitudes, she was frank but never cruel, a deadly accurate judge of character yet accepting of everyone, a culture maven who attended MTC, RWB and Manitoba Opera but who preferred dining at early arborite restaurants, a dignified and sweet woman who yet delighted in pranks and stings, and who relished a swig of wine (or two). Pat belonged to The #@$% Book Club and served as official scribe, recording the brilliant insights and the lewd comments for posterity while maintaining her own quiet dignity. Pat was genuinely interested in other people, and beyond her obvious charisma, she was a friend of depth, substance and loyalty. She had a unique way of dispensing advice; that is, she would ask probing questions until your own answers had talked you into her way of thinking (which was invariably correct!). Pat was a philanthropist, but refused to speak of, or accept praise for doing what she knew was right, sending money to the families she adopted in Lesotho, supporting a foster child, or donating to multiple charities. It is fitting to note Pat's special love and fierce loyalty to her Norm. In the last year, Norm's Parkinson's was so debilitating that he required 24 hour care. That Pat gave, even at the expense of her own health. When he eventually had to be hospitalized, she sat with him and comforted him and whispered sweet nothings in his ear to the very end. It was only after his death that she tended to her own ill health. Her characteristic grace and gratitude to others was evident in Pat's final days as she used heartfelt words, and when those failed her, glances and hand squeezes to thank those who called, visited and cared for her. Pat would certainly want to publicly thank her chosen daughter, Wendy Ralley, and Wendy's husband Dennis Brown, who opened their home to Pat and to her considerable entourage. Because of their generous open door policy, Wendy and Dennis' home became a warm place where Pat's people , many of whom had not met before, bonded with each other as they visited and reminisced. Pat was so happy to have her chosen daughter, Theresa Oswald, at her side helping her with everything from the mundane (lovely manicures) to the momentous (collaborating with Wendy to keep Pat's emotional security, home, finances and health care in order), and offering her constant and unconditional affection, just as Pat had always done for her. Chosen daughter Arpena Babaian, with whom Pat shared a deep trust and similar mindset, worked with her to solve thorny world issues, fulfilled Pat's need for school gossip, brought treats, and provided designer apparel in which Pat could greet visitors in style. The Stanger family offer the three daughters their thanks for the care and love shown to Pat in her living and in her dying. (continued next column ...)

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