Patricia Lee FitzGerald McWilliams, a longtime resident of Sparrowbush, NY, died Wednesday, October 4, 2017, at Bon Secours Community Hospital, Port Jervis. She was 92.
She was born March 28, 1925, in New York, NY, the daughter of the late John F. FitzGerald and the late Edith Persen FitzGerald, and grew up in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Pat went to elementary school at P.S. 9 in Brooklyn and graduated as the Salutatorian from Bay Side High. Pat also graduated as Salutatorian from Barnard College with a BA in Chemistry. She went on to graduate school at Yale Medical School, where she worked on her PhD. While in college she participated in research for the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Columbia Medical Center. Pat then worked for three years as a Research Assistant for Columbia Medical Research Center and for two years at Cold Spring Harbor. She taught at Hunter College in New York, at the Bronx Campus, and also at Orange County Community College in the Nursing Program for Chemistry and Math.
Later, Pat worked at a laboratory in Otisville, NY, and was also in charge of the Federal Census and School District Census in her area. She worked for the Port Jervis School District as a substitute teacher and as a tutor, helping many students throughout the region on both sides of the Delaware River.
She also served as a Girl Scout Troop Leader for many years in Sparrowbush. Her troop was known as the “Campingest” troop in the area. Pat enjoyed white-water canoeing and kayaking. She inspired her nieces and nephew at a young age with outdoor adventures they will never forget. Pat also enjoyed fencing, tennis and cycling and even rode her bicycle to the Gaspé Peninsula (in Quebec) from Cape Cod. In her later years, she loved to watch baseball on TV (the Mets).
As anyone who knew her could tell you, Pat was an animal lover. Over the years, she had eight Labs, six English Cockers, a mutt named McGinty McGillicuddy McWilliams and countless cats.
Pat was well known by generations of young students throughout the tri-state area whom she tutored in a wide range of academic subjects to help them get through high school and in many cases on to college. She also helped to prepare students for the SATs and Regents Exams. She was generous to everyone she knew. She introduced many of her students and friends to the ballet and the opera, taking them to the NYC Ballet, American Ballet Theater, NYC Opera, The Metropolitan Opera and Tanglewood, in Lenox, Massachusetts.
In the mid-1980s Pat spent part of the summer traveling in Europe and attended operas and ballets in Paris and London.
She is survived by various family members and friends.
Nephew: John Foy, his wife Majô and their children Chris and Catherine of Manhattan, NY.
Niece: Penelope Sciortino, her husband Angelo and their children Sarah and Stephanie of West Islip, NY.
Niece: Jennifer Schalhoub and her husband Paul of Little Ferry, NJ.
Good friend and caregiver Dawn Hovencamp of Forestburgh, NY, to whom the family is grateful.
Pat was predeceased by her former husband and good friend John McWilliams, whom she met at the Otisville lab on July 3, 1965. They were together for many years until his death on September 4, 2016.
She was also predeceased by her sister, Geraldine Ann Foy, and her brother-in-law, John Charles Walter Foy.
At Pat’s request, funeral services will be private.
Memorial contributions may be made to help animals that Pat was so passionate about: Waiting In Hope, 361 Finchville Turnpike, Otisville, NY 10963
Funeral arrangements are by the GRAY-PARKER FUNERAL HOME, 100 E. Main St., Port Jervis, NY 12771 845.856.5191 www.grayparkerfuneralhome.com